by SUSAN COX
With Valentine’s Day looming, legions of men are plotting marriage proposals to their girlfriends. But we must stay strong, women, and not be lured in by this “season of romance,” because take it from me: marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be. As a woman who’s been there, done that, and getting a divorce, I implore you to skip the walk down the aisle. Here are 11 reasons to not to make that heterosexual romance legal.
1) Despite the modern PC sheen of “inclusivity” and “equality,” marriage is still that same old patriarchal institution
Same-sex marriage is now legal in the U.S. While this is a huge historical milestone in terms of the fight to end American homophobia, it is important to remember that marriage is not simply an expression of love between two people. It is a legal and social institution engineered within a context of heterosexuality, which exists to benefit men and control women, initiated in order reinforce the notion of women as property. Thus, whenever the institution of marriage is celebrated, it is a celebration of this institution and its history.
It is tragically ironic that the rhetoric of the gay rights movement has fueled the patriarchal narrative positioning marriage as one of the most fundamental human rights and the utmost expression of love. This characterization of marriage ignores the entire history of marriage and its functional significance within male supremacy.
Yet, unfortunately, because of rallying on the left and liberals and progressives alike championing the “right to marry,” a feminist critique of marriage has fallen out of fashion, and today, feels decidedly old-school.
Regardless of the fact that mainstream discourse has moved on to more exciting “social justice” issues, the mundane reality of marriage for the vast majority of women, remains the same. That is:
2) Marriage benefits men and not women
This is because:
3) Being a wife sucks
The social norms of wifedom are bullshit. Husbands are depicted as bumbling oafs who can’t even dress themselves properly without their wives. Wives are expected to treat their husbands like incompetent children in domestic matters — to behave like their mothers, ensuring they are fed, washed, well-dressed, and that their things are organized.
Little is expected of men. They get married, but continue on with their careers as if they are still single. In fact, they’re often able to better focus on their careers once married, as a wife can take care of their domestic responsibilities. Furthermore, when married, men are viewed as more responsible and stable by their employers, and are more likely to be offered a promotion. Women who get married, on the other hand, are likely to be viewed with distrust by management, as it is assumed they will soon start having babies, go on maternity leave, and prioritize children over work.
Because men, in general, are likely to earn more money than women, the careers of husbands are valued over those of their wives. This translates to a broader prioritization of a husband’s time and labour. (“He needs his rest because he works so hard for the family.” “He needs to go out and blow off steam after a hard day at the office.” “Oh, he doesn’t have time for such trivial matters — he’s busy with more important things.”)
As young girls, we’re still taught that if we focus on becoming beautiful, desirable women, we’ll succeed in our supposed goal of landing a good husband to support us, so we can relax. But even if you have the “privilege” of staying home while your husband works, you still have to work… It’s just that your time and labour have no value. You’re expected to do everything you possibly can for your husband, because you don’t contribute to the family like he does. (He doesn’t have time to organize his closet — you should do it for him, house-wifey, despite the fact you both technically worked the same amount of hours today.)
Despite supposed gains in marriage equality, studies show that even when both partners are employed, women still do the bulk of the housework and childcare.Thus, men are freed up to maintain a healthy social life. After work, for example, it’s totally normal for husbands to still go out for drinks with the boys. (They’ve earned it, after all). The social life of women, however, takes a sharp turn after marriage…