In this video, sociologist Andrew Cherlin describes how marriage is still here, and still embraced, but much less stable and compulsory.
The paradox that Andrew Cherlin talks about, rugged individualism vs. strong desire towards marriage, has traditionally been solved by allowing one party (the man) to have both while the woman was denied the individualism part. Now that both parties want both pieces of the pie, we see the breakdowns increasing.
Clearly there is no way for both parties to have both pieces of the pie at the same time, something has got to give. And that something is the nature of the marriage institution. Those fighting to preserve "traditional marriage" rightly saw the women's rights movement as an assault on marriage, the kind that sacrificed the woman's piece of the pie so the man could have both. However, a good idea once out in the open cannot be bottled back. Ditto those against gay marriage for "traditional" reasons.
Is anyone familiar with Holland & Eisenhart's Educated in Romance? It's an anthropological study performed in the 80s-90s, looking at college-aged women who originally valued their career, and then, slowly over time the priority moved to love. It talks about how women and men's "success" is evaluated differently: women, mainly through their family life, and men through that and everything else. This differing evaluation of success drives the women being studied to "choose" love over career. It gets more complicated, but that's a quick synopsis.
I often wonder how this attitude has changed from the 80s & 90s (if at all). How this change has affected marriage in this country. etc.
I bring this up because Cherlin mentions that in the 50s if you didn't marry young "there was something wrong with you." Educated in Romance suggests that during the 80s, if you were a woman and didn't get married there was something wrong with you (but less so if you're a man). I think the attitude towards marriage is changing, but changing at different rates/ways depending on gender.
In light of this discussion, check out this woman who is "marrying herself":
"In an effort to defy the traditional Asian perception of single, independent women as failures, Chen says she will marry herself."
I just started "Habits of the Heart"! Love.
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