Tag Archives: marriage

A feminist response to the not-married blame game

My roommate forwarded this Huff Post article to me recently and there is really nothing more to say other than “right on sister.”


“I know it’s my fault I’m not married. I know that in the future, if I don’t get married, it will be my fault as well. And thanks to the advancements made by the women in the generation above me, it’s my decision to make. Because staying in a bad relationship just because it is heading towards marriage is like putting a plastic bag over your head, and just letting in enough air that you can stay alive….

“But I grew up in a generation of women that literally never stopped hearing that marriage isn’t a fairy tale. We were fed statistics about divorce in the same way that the Baby Boomer generation was bombarded with ICBM figures. Daily, we were told that men were not Prince Charming, that they would not vanquish a dragon to save us, rescue us from a tower or even just fight their way through a double transfer on the subway to come kiss us goodnight. And so we learned how to expect literally nothing from a man. And do you know what happened because of that? We learned to let men treat us like crap. We came to believe that men were doing us a favor by settling down — because otherwise they would be out spraying the world of willing women with their abundant seed. We were taught to be grateful if a man showed interest in us, and we became fearful at all times that he would leave us once he did. Women of my generation are still the second-class citizens of fairy tales: only now, we don’t even have the chivalry or the ever-blooming roses to comfort us in our eternal boredom…

“All of the qualities we cultivate in ourselves from our first overachieving moments in elementary school to our graduation from the best universities in the nation — confidence in our physical appearance, the ability to support ourselves, our cultured and well-read minds, the sterling pedigree of our schooling, our taste for healthy debate with our peers (both men and women) — actually won’t help us to find an equal partner. What it will do is make an “equal” man feel insecure, and what he will do with that insecurity is label us as “crazy.” And crazy people aren’t to be taken seriously — they’re to be medicated, dosed, tamed like “Kate,” the eponymous shrew — and made into the perfect wife. In essence, in order to participate in the ritual custom of marriage, we have to become shadows of our best selves. So when you say to me, Tracy McMillan, that I have to work around a “man’s fear and insecurity in order to get married,” I say to you, why aren’t you telling me that I should be going out to look for the men who wants a woman like me? (They do exist; some of them are my friends.) Instead of being told I need to medicate my “craziness” to pander to a man’s itty-bitty oh-so-witty ego, I want a man who is every bit my match, and is not scared off by that. I want a man who appreciates that I enjoy sex. I want a man who loves that I can fire back a sassy comment like Katharine Hepburn on one of her lazy days…

“All that I’m trying to say, ladies, is stop trying to frighten me; make me feel empowered. Speak to me like I can make my own decisions, and don’t demean the difficulties I may be having finding a guy who I think is worth my time and energy. Marriage is a rapidly-changing institution. Let’s discuss how it can be molded to fit our rising status, rather than trying to jam ourselves into some outdated ideal.

Read the full article here


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Filed under Feminist Rant, Femtastic Women, Low Brow, Magazine

Why Feminism is good for marriage

Before her death, Betty Friedan openly called herself a “bad-tempered bitch.” She was known for being abrasive, pig-headed and, well, acting “like a man.” In her generation and occasionally in the nostalgic discourse of American traditionalists, she is also known as the bitch who ruined marriage through her all-telling book “The Feminine Mystique.”

After the release of “The Feminine Mystique” revealed the unhappy condition of the majority of middle to upper class educated house wives, the world began to change. Women began to voice their discontent in the home, in the bedroom and in their lack-luster singular role as mothers.  The second wave began and women began to demand equality in marriage; they often lost this fight, and divorce became the surrender cry around America.


But Betty never thought of herself as anti-marriage. In fact she once said, her tombstone should read: “She helped make women feel better about being women and therefore better able to freely and fully love men”

Hallelujah sister.

Almost four decades after the release of her wave-creating book, America is still grappling with the role of marriage and divorce and often still looking for a ghost of a scapegoat.  But a new book by Stephanie Coontz, re-examines the role of “The Feminine Mystique” and Betty Friedan in the changing role of marriage in American society and looks to some other factors to the failure of marriage.

According to Coontz, marriage does not fail because women demanded to be equal and men disagreed; instead marriage often fails because both men and women want equal marriages but society denies them equality. In a society where two breadwinners are the norm, the nuclear family is often left to debate who will be the nurturer as well. When concessions from society aren’t made (think flexible work hours, day cares in workplaces, maternity leave for fathers), the family often breaks from the inflexibility.

Betty was right; happier women make happier marriages. But without some changes in our current social roles and norms, men aren’t the happiest they can be. Today’s crisis isn’t about bored housewives; it is about the pigeon-holed role of the man in society. What marriages needs in a third-wave of feminism or the first wave of meninism. It is time for men to take off the suit, tie and 60-hour work week and be allowed to be the fathers, husbands and friends they deserve to be.

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Filed under Feminist Rant, Femtastic Women, Low Brow, Magazine