I wish someone would have told me that, just because I’m a girl, I don’t have to get married. ~Marlo Thomas, feminist and founder of Free to Be You and Me
Feminists speak against marriage as an out-dated, patriarchal, oppressive institution. They have been doing this for about forty years or so now. Several months ago, feminist Kate Harding wrote:
Heterosexual marriage is a tremendously antifeminist institution. It’s all tangled up with times when women were considered their husband’s property, with religions in which they still are, with the exclusion and marginalization of queer people, with the expectation of childbearing, etc., etc.
Yet many feminist leaders end up married (or occassionally in quasi-marriage partnerships). Here is Ms. Harding engaging in that “tremendously antifeminist institution” herself, with a man no less:
And she isn’t the only one. Nearly all feminist leaders are married or partnered. Feminist activist and author Jessica Valenti writes, in her article My big feminist wedding:
As I grew up and began identifying myself as a feminist, there were plenty of issues that continued to make me question marriage: the father “giving” the bride away, women taking their husband’s last name, the white dress, the vows promising to “obey” the groom. And that only covers the wedding. Once you get married, women are still implicitly expected to do the majority of the housework and take care of any future children. I remember reading one study that said that even couples who had been living together for years in equitable bliss ended up with a more “traditional” division of household labour if they got married – as though signing that piece of paper somehow skewed their sense of fair play.
Physical attractiveness and a pleasant attitude are not necessary for a feminist to snag a man, as Lindy West proves:
Amanda Marcotte is partnered with DJ Marc Faletti:
Tracy Clark-Flory from Salon yammers on about how she opposed marriage and all the wedding trappings…that is until it was her turn:
One of the first things I told my fiancé after we got engaged was, “I am not wearing a fucking white dress.”
Fast-forward to now, mere days before the wedding, and I am wearing a fucking white dress. That isn’t all. I spent hundreds of dollars on makeup and makeovers. I purchased multiple pairs of sparkly high-heeled shoes that left me limping after trying them on. I crash-dieted. I bought a pair of Spanx, a modern girdle (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one). One evening I earnestly told my fiancé, “Maybe I should wear fake eyelashes for the wedding.” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Baby … remember feminism?”
I barely could.
Heck, even the grandmother of sex-positive feminism herself, Gloria Steinem, who infamously quipped A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!, was eventually able to reel in a husband, though he died within several years of their marriage:
Oh, and Marlo Thomas, who wishes someone had told her she never had to get married? Yep, she’s married, too, to Phil Donahue.
Isn’t that nice? Do as I say, girls, not as I do.
Why is this? It is because the leaders of feminism are often well-educated, higher IQ and white:
Feminists’ anti-marriage rhetoric and pro-slut cheerleading filter down to the less-educated, lower IQ, and non-white women who would most benefit from marriage. Marriage confers upon women real economic benefit. It isn’t oppressive at all; rather, marriage frees women from instability and poverty.
But who cares what is good for women? Well, their children do:
Behold what feminism hath wrought for the other half of the bell curve who have been liberated from the shackles of marriage. We can find them on Cafe Mom on the Single Moms threads. In their own words:
on Jun. 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM
where can I go to get financial help with my bills that I have?? Im so having a hard time.
on Jun. 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM
I would like to thank everyone for letting me join this site im a single mother and I work but right now we are in a shelter and im desperete to get out please help
However, it isn’t just poverty; even when controlling for income, children from single-mother households fair significantly worse on measures of well-being than their peers from two-parent households.
In a recent article at The Atlantic, Marriage Makes Our Children Richer—Here’s Why, W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, gives some interesting statistics:
Among less-educated families, the children of married parents earn about $4,000 more than their peers from non-intact families.
…men and women who hail from intact families are about 40 percent less likely to father or bear a child outside of wedlock. This is important because nonmarital childbearing reduces your odds of successfully getting and staying married down the road, maximizing your income, and of providing a stable home to your children.
…adults “exposed to unilateral divorce regulations as children are less well educated, have lower family incomes, marry earlier but separate more often, and have higher odds of suicide.” Indiana psychologist Brian D’Onofrio, relying on a study of twins, also found that young adults from divorced homes did worse than their cousins from intact homes (the cousins had parents who were twins) when it came to substance abuse and behavioral problems.
The intact, two-parent family seems to be particularly important for children hailing from less privileged homes and a powerful force for economic mobility when it’s the family norm at the community level.
So, the people who would most benefit from marriage’s stabilizing and enriching influence are now the people least likely to get and stay married.
An ideological movement started by high-IQ, well-educated white women, which is still primarily led by such women, has created a situation in which high-IQ, well-educated white feminists get married while their poorer, less-educated, lower-IQ, non-white sisters who actually really need marriage for their and their children’s well-being, no longer marry.
Feminists: always making life worse for women and children.