(Closed) Feminist and the anti-marriage stigma

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 17
Member
1084 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

While the majority of people were supporters I definately got lots of comments, even though most of the professors are married.  From them (ok not the women professors) it was more of an eye roll like oh I thought people were over that.  And oh just wait until you’re down each others throats, always sort of joking but negative.  Whereas I didn’t really hear negative comments from guys my age (late 20s) but from some girls I’d here why would you get married?!  You already live together, why do you need a piece of paper, it’s such a waste of money, you’re just feeding into an industry, think for yourself and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  But I just said we feel if we’re entering into a lifelong committment it’s right to ask for the blessing of our family and friends and celebrate that committment.

Post # 18
Member
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@arachna:

First off I think you’re correct that it could be criticized from either point of view of feminism.  I was trying to say was that constructivist feministssee both the bride and groom as completely the samep- mothers and fathers as the same parent, for example-  are more likely to dislike things like the father/male figure giving away a bride, the bride’s family hosting to give her away tradition, the being introduced by Mr & Mrs His name, etc, but those critiques could come from either.  But really, nice insight!  I learn something new from you Bees everyday!  🙂

 

Post # 19
Member
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Am I going to stand alone as believing feminism isn’t, at it’s core, about choice? Tongue out

IMO, personal feminism (not political, legal, religious, etc.) is about striving to be an actualized human being against the confines of gender construction. Not all choices are equal, IMO, just because they are “freely” made. And I frankly question that many of us make that many truly free choices.

Back to the OP, I have faced shockingly little questioning from my female friends on our decision to marry. I think it is because of my Fiance, really. He’s a very masculine man, but has major respect from our female friends because he is a pretty darn good feminist (except for the strip club thing…other story). I’ve met few guys so capable of having platonic, ungendered close relationships with women.

But I have had not-so-close friends whose decisions to marry I’ve personally really questioned for feminist reasons. I’m not a particularly confrontational person, never over personal matters, so I don’t say things to people. But if asked, I would honestly share my opinion. It isn’t so much marriage per se that I find troubling, it is when self-professed feminists are entering relationships with partners who are not feminists, and where the structures and dynamics of what they expect from marriage are unexamined.

Basically, I know too many happy, healthy, self-actualized feminists in good marriages to make categorical statements, and these women and their partners are my role models. But I know those marriages are hard work, because there is so much baggage we all carry from the patriarchy (ooh, now I’m getting goin!). It is a constant fight to maintain a feminist marriage. So, yes, I do really, really worry when I see a self-proclaimed feminist enter into a marriage with someone who doesn’t value or won’t engage in the work.

Okay, enough rant.

Post # 21
Member
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ MichelleMyBell

Honestly, I assume most people are low level racist, sexist, bigoted, xenophobic, etc., because it is SOOO much harder not to be. IMO, you have to do real, hard work to overcome the baggage of our racist, sexist, etc., society. And almost no one is perfect, I know I am not. I just think those are super common, entirely normal human failings, like sloth and greed. So if you think your coworkers are wrong to assume that your Fiance isn’t a feminist, from their POV all they are assuming is that your Fiance is human and isn’t one of the very few people who has successfully struggled against patriarchal baggage. Just to give you that perspective, I don’t know your Fiance and can’t say anything, except question why he wouldn’t call himself a feminist.

Post # 22
Member
1084 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

For me I wouldn’t worry much about labels, like you said he’s never tried to force anything on you, and in my opinion actions are a lot more important than labels.  When people have asked me about feminism I ask them to clarify because I don’t know that women as competant decision makers is so novel it needs a label and often times labels have such bad connotations to them.  I’ve never been on BC and gotten in so many discussions (aka being lectured by women who have found out saying we had the womens movement for a reason) about deciding to not take any.  But it’s my decision and I have lengthy reasons for my decision and I think things are moving in this direction that it’s more about empowering women to make decisions for themselves and not any ‘correct’ decision but labels always worry me.  I don’t like cliques of people that say you’re either with us or against us. 

Post # 24
Member
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ MichelleMyBell  Meh, yeah, I can totally see what you mean about the label. Sounds like just an odd tick. I’m not like bviq, for example, as someone rejecting labels. But I know that streak exists, for reasons I really don’t understand, but it is pretty prevalent.

And that is exactly what I meant, your example about grandma. I’m sure she is perfectly civil to all people, much less running around burning crosses. I firmly believe there are good people who are racists, sexists, bigots, etc., as in, most people.

Post # 25
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Wow great thread!  I have not encountered any stigma at all.  I was actually in a feminist theory course when I got engaged, and everyone was really sweet & happy for me.  I agree that feminism is about choices in a few ways.  Yes, it’s about supporting the choices women make, but it’s also about expanding the range of options out there as choices for women.  To me, this is the most important aspect of feminism on a political and personal level.  For me, it’s about creating more real-life options for more women that are not based on a masculine norm.  (and i suppose opening up that masculine norm to those women who choose to embrace it). 

As for feminist partners, I am marrying a man who is a feminist — although he says he doens’t feel worthy to take that title hahah.  That was really important to me, and I do think it would be hard to live a fully empowered life while married to someone who did not embrace feminism.  I can understand how some people might have a bad attitude towards that… but ultimately, feminism isn’t about JUDGING women for their relationships, it’s about working to make the world a better place for men and women.  Because sexism is as much about men as it is about women.

Post # 26
Member
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I haven’t experienced any negative response on my being a feminist and getting married … but I will say that I have noticed some negative attitudes towards wives who sacrifice for their husbands, as in doing things “just for him” or “giving up” her career or whatever; example would be not working in order to raise a child or something like that.  No judgements here, although I definitely don’t plan on being a Stay-At-Home Mom – if anyone stays at home to raise the kids it’ll be Fiance 🙂

Post # 27
Member
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ peanutlovespumpkin

Really glad you brought up the sacrifice thing. My Fiance and I are about to have (he doesn’t know it yet Tongue out) a serious discussion about our finances. We have reversed gender norms in that area: I make about 50% more money and have little free time (slacking at work right now), he spends a ton and has much more free time!

But on the sacrificing, we are doing that in a reversed norms way as well. Basically, I am working with the goal of Fiance being able to scale down from full-time and retire early. The goal is for him to move to 80% when we have kids in 6-10 years (though I might do that as well during the earliest years), then keep scaling back. He has a disability and may lose mobility in old age, so I want him to enjoy himself and work on his health as he gets older.

Is this a non-feminist sacrifice? I’m basically taking on a typically masculine sacrifice.

Post # 28
Member
2612 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

@MichelleMyBelle, I love the points you made and totally agree with you!

I haven’t come into a lot of contact w/ the type of feminist woman that is all anti marriage and such since college.  The ones I did encounter, I got along great with, unless they started bashing my beliefs and desires to become a mother one day…and hopefully a stay at home mom.  To the ones I did come across that thought being a mom and staying at home was less empowering, this was the story I gave them:  My mom was 36 and pregnant with her 4th (unplanned) child.  My dad traveled 5 days per week and was only home on the weekends.  Add to this that my mom worked a part time job to help make ends meet.  Needless to say, she had her hands full.  She worked part time and already had 3 children being 5, 7, & 11 (I’m the oldest)  At six months along, my mom went into early labor and had my brother very prematurely.  For the first 12 months, it was touch and go and the likelyhood of him making it past the first year wasn’t great.  When he finally did come home from the hospital (3 months later) he was hooked up to heart monitors & breathing monitors that would go off every time his heart stopped or he stopped breathing.  My family depended on my dad’s job, so it’s not like he could just stay home and help her.  And when my brother was in the hospital, the other 3 of us kids were farmed out to family friends to take care of us.  Through all of that, my mom was the glue of the family.  I don’t once remember her crying or breaking down or saying she couldn’t handle it.  She had the most amazing strength I have ever seen a human being have.  What can be more empowering than that? 

Being married and devoting your life to your family doesn’t make you less of a feminist, just like having the desires to have a successful career doesn’t make you less of a woman.  Both are two truly noble aspirations. 

Post # 29
Member
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

@ dragonfly: I totally agree that being a stay at home mom/homemaker can be just as empowering as being a career woman; I think it’s all about making the decision based on what’s best for your family as a unit and acting as equal partners, rather than automatically taking on the pre-assigned gender roles.  I’ve read some posts on here where I’m like “woah, that couple is definitely not feelin the feminism …”, it kinda bums me out…

Post # 30
Member
1154 posts
Bumble bee

JsDragonfly,

But if your mother hadn’t been the main caretaker for the first three children, if she hadn’t faced sexism in school, would she have had a job with an income that allowed your family to not depend on your dad’s income? And then he could have stayed home to help out?  Once the kids are gone what gives the main meaning to her life?  Kids tend to grow up and want independance.  And often once the kids are gone the Stay-At-Home Mom … takes it hard.  Does this mean that all former SAHMs are miserable or something like that?  No!  Not at all.  But it is a factor.

I think being the glue that holds a family together and managing the family should be as empowering as a good career.  And if the person being that glue was 50% likely to be man or woman or mostly man than I think it would be as empowering because it would be as universally respected and compensated and structered for better fufillment.  But today?  I don’t think it’s as empowering, I think it’s dangerous. 

I respect SAHMs absolutely.  My own mom has always been the glue for the family which is why everyone loves her most :).  But I’m always aware of the what that cost her. 

Post # 31
Member
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ Arachna, can I say that I am always finding myself nodding along to your posts? And that you often say something smarter than me? Not that the bar for being smarter than me is super high….

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