A week ago, a good friend sent me this infuriating article: Obviously anything published by Fox is incredibly conservative-biased, but this article just hit a special nerve because 1) people actually believe this shit and 2) some people my age (i.e. twentysomethings) are posting this on Facebook…and they aren’t doing it ironically. According to this article, the rate of marriage is at an all-time low and it’s because men aren’t finding eligible enough women to marry (or vice versa because with each read I come up with a different conclusion, but the basic gist is: women are destroying marriage). So why, according to this author, are men avoiding getting hitched?
First off, history has shown us that men of the past did not have to marry in order to have sex. What about all those kings we learned about in grade school that slept around before and after getting married? Henry VIII anyone? The Roman Empire? Even men now – Tom Brady, Jude Law, and others that I won’t name because the list is too long. What about whorehouses and the Red Light District? There are overwhelmingly more female than male prostitutes. Are you really telling me that unmarried men did/do not go to those places?
According to this author, when “women make themselves sexually available, the pool of marriageable men diminishes.” This is the same as saying that a woman who is drunk or scantily clad is asking to get raped. I realize that may sound extreme, but it’s true. Is the man’s will-power null and void? A woman is sexually available so that means men have to sleep with her? Do men have no control over whether they have sex or not? Is he incapable of saying ‘no’ to sex before marriage?
“In a world where women do not say no, the man is never forced to settle down and make serious choices.”
So this is stating that, when a man is able to have sex, he has no desire to get married because he is already getting what he wants. Ergo, men only get married in order to have sex. Doesn’t that sound a bit shallow? Personally, if a man only wants to marry you to have sex, then he’s not really marriage material. This should be obvious, but maybe it’s not to this author: there’s a lot more to marriage than just sex. Marriage is about companionship, stability, security, creating your own family, and just finding that person who you want to go through the ups and downs of life with. If a guy (or girl) won’t marry you just because you already had sex with them and therefore they have no other reason to be “forced to settle down and make serious choices” then count your lucky stars because they probably would have made a pretty shitty life partner (or “until you wake up and get a divorce” partner).
And while we’re on the subject, sex before marriage can be very important to choosing your life partner. Sexual chemistry is important to many relationships. Why go through years of dating only to find out that this person, who you are emotionally invested in, is not sexually compatible with you? What if it turns out they are into some super kinky stuff and you’re not? What if you are kinkster and your partner is only into missionary? These are important things to find out before investing that much time, money, and emotional commitment in a relationship. Also, sex is fun and a form of exercise. Women (and men) should not be damned for wanting sleep around before settling down.
What exactly does marriage offer men today? Oh I don’t know. The chance to enter into a committed, legally binding contract stating that your partner is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? The opportunity to profess your love and commitment to someone in front of your family and friends? The benefit of being allowed into a hospital room to see your beloved if they are hurt or sick? Maybe some financial security if you have children?
Also, if men get married they will lose their sex life? But I thought earlier in the article we were told that men only got married to have sex.
“[Men] don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.”
And women do? Is this implying that men are the only ones risking their finances by getting married? Ohhhh – is it because the man makes more money than the woman? And the woman, as the financially dependent spouse, will clearly get everything in the divorce because she is destitute without his salary. And naturally she’ll get the children, too, and therefore even more of hubby’s money because clearly only women are capable of caring for children. Okay, I get it now. Every man that I date is basically looking at me not as his future wife, but as his future divorce. So all men are pessimists?
The man loses “all power,” but the woman losing her last name means nothing. In the past, taking the man’s last name meant the woman was giving up her family (and her identity) to join his. Even today, it’s a very patriarchal practice for the woman to change her last name. Our society is a bit more advanced and a woman changing her last name no longer means that she is leaving her blood-related family, but why is it still “tradition” for the woman to change her name and not the man? Why is it still proper to title things “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson”? I am not against women changing their last names when they get married because it is all based on personal preference, but don’t tell me that the man loses “all power” when they get to keep the name that they are born with without anyone looking at them strangely and saying, “Oh…but you’re married? And you didn’t take her name?”
Ah yes, let me guess – those damn feminist, amiright? America hasn’t demoted men. Our society today is changing (albeit slowly, like the mesonychids evolving into whales) and finally figuring out that men and women can both be “bread winners.” Women can work just as much and should be paid just as much as men. Men aren’t being demoted. They’re being equalized. As for the “idiot husband” in sitcoms and TV commercials, I have four words: manic pixie dream girl.
So men only want to get married for sex and women only want to get married for children. Ya know, it is a wonder that there are any married people left at all! Why not just get married, bang (because that won’t last long after you get married, according to this article), pop out a few babies, and then get divorced? Clearly there’s no other reason to stay married once you’ve spawned.
I also love the verbs used in this paragraph. The woman “nabs” and “convinces” the man to get married. I know this author is trying to paint a picture that all sexually active unmarried women are sluts and are basically going to bring down the sanctity of marriage (as well as the human race), but she’s also depicting men as weak-willed beings whose only goal is to have sex and are apparently incapable of making their own decisions.
Let’s also draw attention to the fact that women can only either focus on their careers, or have children. You can’t do both. Can men do both? Have a career and have children? Most likely, but it’s going to be tough since the husband is the one working the hardest in order to make all of the money to support his family. Women are living the good life by giving up their careers in order to have the babies they always desired, while Daddy is at work, just waiting until the day his bride pulls the plug on him and takes everything he owns.
All sarcasm aside, this article is correct in just one area: the marriage rate is declining. I am not making a comment on whether that’s good or bad because, personally, I just plain do not care whether people are married or not. A study by Demographic Intelligence predicted “that by 2016, the marriage rate will fall to 6.7 per 1,000 people, a historic low. That includes people getting married for the second or third time.” Most of this is because the millennial generation is about to become the largest living generation and they are not getting married. Why? According to this article, it’s because women sleep around too much and, thus, men no longer have a reason to tie the knot. However, other viable options could be (quotations were taken from here):
1. “Millennials continue to delay marriage because of economics, education and preference.” It’s expensive to get married and it’s expensive to get divorced. It’s expensive to have a family! Lots of millennials are still working part-time jobs and barely able to support themselves, let alone a partner.
2. “The United States continues to become more secular and less religious. The Pew Research Center reported recently that the share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent between 2007 and 2014, while the number of atheists, agnostics or those of no faith grew from 16 percent to 23 percent.” Obviously this is part of the underlying problem, according to Fox-associators. However, America is the “melting pot” so the decline of Christianity as the #1 religion was bound to happen at some point.
3. “Millennials have alternatives. In the past, living together or having children ‘out of wedlock’ was met with severe social stigma, but no longer. Cohabitation rates are on the rise — 48 percent of women interviewed between 2006 and 2010 for the National Survey of Family Growth cohabitated with a partner as a first union, compared with 34 percent in 1995.” This also ties into the “millennials have no money” sentiment. We find it hard to support ourselves on our own, so why not live with your boyfriend/girlfriend and split the living costs? Why not see how you two function as a unit before entering into a binding legal contract? To me, that’s much smarter than going straight from dating someone to suddenly getting married without ever having lived together.
To end this extremely long post, I’ll draw your attention back to the Fox article:
How about instead of “what’s in it for him” we think about “what’s in it for them?” Last time I checked, marriage was a union between two people (and if conservatives are so worried about the rate of marriage, shouldn’t they welcome marriage equality with open arms?). Maybe this author should stop damning her own sex for destroying marriage and look at the bigger picture: the economy, job market, changes in society, etc. Perhaps the decline of marriage means women and men feel more independently secure. The millennial generation is proving that we don’t have to get married in order to feel happy and fulfilled. We can enjoy dating around until we find a partner who we truly connect with. And besides, aren’t first dates stressful enough without having to think, “Oh my god, is this person marriage material? If we get married, will they take all of my money? Will we have children and then have to go through a custody battle? If I don’t marry this person, will I be able to afford my rent?”
And in answer to the Fox author’s question Re: Being an Unmarried, Sexually Active Woman: “how’s that plan working out for you?” Quite well actually. Thanks for asking!