Sunday, May 24, 2009

Making Marriage Work and Timeless Blog Wisdom

Sometimes I feel sorry for celebrities who grow up famous, because I think about how awful it must be to be judged at 40 by the dumb things you did when you were 20. Blogging can be that way too – there is what you wrote, three years ago, on display for everyone to see, even though it may not in any way reflect the larger part of who you are – it is only a reflection of something you were processing at a specific moment in time. Like writing a letter on Sunday stating that you have the stomach flu, sending it thousands of miles away, only to be perfectly fine by the time the recipient reads it. I don’t have that experience very often, but last fall when I was thinking to myself, in light of this absurd debate about who can marry, why can’t we just get rid of marriage as a legal institution altogether, I started receiving a lot of blog traffic from people googling, “abolish marriage.”

So here is my blogging tip for the day – do not ever (EVER!) make an offhand remark about the mating habits of lions in a blog post, because you will get comment after comment from people telling you that not only do you hate gay people but you don’t think black people should be allowed to marry either.


Semi-related, my review of the book, Making Marriage Work, is up at Feminist Review. I really enjoyed reading it and it is inadvertently funny in some places – in ways I couldn’t put in the actual review, because I was pretending to be a smart, analytical reviewer, as opposed to my actual juvenile self. For instance, when outlining the historically perceived social importance for women to marry (not so important for men, of course) the author describes a case study of a woman who took a “Marriage Readiness Course” to address all of the issues that made her (sadly) unfit to marry and ends with this: “By the time that Marcia met and was courted by good, solid Dick, it was clear that she had invested sufficient time and energy in her program to become a successfully married woman.”

Or maybe I’m the only one who giggles at such a sentence. Ahem.

So about abolishing marriage for real – judging from my stats, comments and e-mails, if you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re probably married and a feminist (or you’re obsessed with Jim Bob Duggar and droopy tits, but I’m just going to ignore you people). So obviously pairing up with the opposite sex and making babies hasn’t gone out of style, but I like to think that marriage as a political institution has evolved. Still, it remains the safest way for a woman to keep herself and her children out of poverty, it’s discriminatory and just otherwise socially problematic on several levels. And when I ponder possible solutions to those problems, I just keep coming back to wondering why we need the state to define our families, alliances, romances, etcetera for us anyway.


Alison Wiley said...

Hi Stacy,
I'm a fellow female Oregonian blogger too; found you through Shannon 'Phat Mommy' from BlogHer. I'm going to the conference in July; are you?

So about marriage: I'm finally in a good one, on my third try. Not perfect, but honestly good. And yes I fit your demographic of being married and a feminist.

Hmm . . . I see lots of unmarried people in relationships doing the same destructive dynamics that some married people do . . . so I agree the culture is deeply messed up, but the problems transcend marriage altogether.

I have a piece about my relatively healthy marriage that's been relatively popular; maybe you could come visit and give me your take on my take on marriage.

Lisa said...

Bwhahaha...I didn't giggle at that line, I laughed right out loud! That's fantastic.

And I completely understand about comments made 3 years ago. Apparently making a statement that my SIL and I don't get along (we don't) is somehow mean and nasty and degrading to her. Bleh.