Quote of the fucking century:

Marriage as an institution seems to have a traditionalizing effect on couples—even couples who see men and women as equal

Could not have said it better myself. In one sentence that pretty much sums up my opinion of marriage.

14 Comments

Way to insult all the married couples you know, Justin. :)

Hey now, that quote is pulled directly from a press release for the results of an academic study. I don’t mean to insult—my views on marriage should be well known (link updated).

I strongly believe that there are subtle social forces at play after two people get married, in how they view themselves (together and individually), and how the outside world views them.

I just didn’t have a word for that until now.

Traditionalizing.

Think you might want a different link around “well known” — unless I’m missing something on that page (don’t see your views in those search results).

I totally get what you’re saying about the study, but you sound a little, er, angry about the topic.

Yes he does, Terrie!

Patrick

Smells like fear to me.

I wouldn’t agree that it smells like fear.

It’s interesting that the concept of marriage is so easily reduced to one of a relationship centered around housework. Also interesting to me that work related to maintaining a home and family is considered something to avoid, unpleasant, and has a low value. I don’t argue that in our culture it does have a low value. But I’m starting to wonder if THAT is the problem…not how the labor is divided and roles assumed.

I wonder if the study accounts for amount of time spent together, since so many people live together before marriage. In my experience, the assumption of “traditional” housework roles has little to do with the actual legal state of marriage.

Oh, Justin. You can still wear a wedding dress if you want to.

Oops, that “well-known” link was wrong—results should have been limited to justinsomnia.org. It’s fixed.

Oh phooey, I am neither angry nor afraid (of this thing I am simply not interested in for myself). But considering how epidemic and exclusive marriage is, I am curious about alternative perspectives and insights that flaunt the status quo.

Full disclosure: if there’s any one thing that’s influenced my thoughts on marriage, it was probably the book The Trouble with Normal by Michael Warner. Highly recommended.

By all means, Justin, if you don’t like marriage, don’t do it. I just think that anytime you start generalizing something as complex as marriage/sex/relationships, you get in trouble.

Also, “traditionalizing” is a very broad term. What is traditional here? Work division? Couldn’t that be the bigger problem of inequality of the payscale between men and women in the workplace instead of a reflection of marriage? Or what about the fact that women have/nurse the babies and therefore it makes sense in many families for them to stay home for at least some of the time and take on a more “traditional” role? Isn’t that a reflection of our biological make-up combined with financial realities rather than simply marriage itself? I guess I just think there are too many assumptions built into the idea that marriage somehow causes people to become more traditional–and also in the assumption that being traditional is somehow bad.

Joy, maybe you didn’t read the page that the quote linked to. The study contrasted unmarried cohabitating couples, and married cohabitating couples and found a difference in the self-reported division of labor.

The study of more than 17,000 people in 28 countries found that married men report doing less housework than men who are live-in boyfriends.

Science and sociology is about generalizing, finding trends, understanding the bell curve. If I were married, I would find this study very interesting, because it would motivate me to try to not to be like that. Why? Because I do believe that traditional gender roles (that women are less than men or should be subservient to men) are bad.

One more thing. Even though I am not married, this article is still a reminder to me to not succumb to traditional gender roles.

I believe that over time (spent cohabiting), things change and habits develop, regardless of your marital status. I would hope that the researchers adjusted their findings according to time spent together—but of course I don’t know.

Yes, I saw all that. I don’t see how it changes anything I said. Reducing division of labor down to a statement of whether or not marriage is traditional is problematic because it ignores lots of other other factors. And while I certainly agree that it’s bad to make women less than men or subservient, I’m not sure how doing more household work in a marriage automatically makes women either of those things (because they may have very good reasons for dividing things up that way). :)

You’re right, though, that it’s easy to settle into gender roles. It’s important to keep things on an equal footing in any relationship, for sure.

Kathy

I do not particularly care for this quote. One because whenever you classify something as an institution it immediately takes the personal aspects of the relationship out of the equation and too many generalizations occur. And two I think the writer is trying to be too intellectual and make a play on words-traditionalizing as if it means tranquilizing or numbing. Any relationship whether it be in the context of a marriage or not can become staid if the two people involved do not pay attention to it and nurture it. If one is going to be in contact with other human beings your perception of self is constantly going to evolve and change depending on the circumstances of one’s life and the growth one is experiencing. The words marriage and traditions are very special words to me. Marriage evokes the deepest form of commitment and intimacy to me. It means “the act of legally uniting two people in wedlock-it is the relation existing between husband and wife-figuratively, any close union” according to the dictionary I looked at tonight. I know you dislike the idea of any entity determining how you will conduct your life but we all, even you, manage our selves within certain rules of conduct and behavior. For those that choose marriage it is just a symbol of their deepening commitment of their close union. A marriage is what the two people involved make of it. It is a tradition of our human society. It is a tradition one can choose to participate in or not. I guess I wonder why it is such a big issue to you since no one is forcing you to choose that option. You are though, the product of your parent’s very happy marriage. So possibly marriage isn’t the worst idea in the world. Without your parent’s relationship of 44 years and a marriage of 34 years there would be no Justin to have this discussion with and that is so unimaginable to me. I can not fathom my life without you. So there is definitely some good that comes from marriages, don’t you think?
Traditions to me are one of the great joys and comforts of life. One keeps the ones they like and throw out the ones they don’t and as life progresses one usually creates new traditions that add a wonderful zest to life. Anyway that’s your mom’s thoughts for the moment. Oh just one other thing could you please find another word besides the one in your Quote of the——-century. I just know you could find a much better word that doesn’t make me wince. Much love always, your Mom(legally and forever!)

I just really liked this quote. I’m not sure I expected a response more than people just rolling their eyes at me, but since it did (from my Mom too!) I feel you all deserve a more proper response than in the comments to a weeks old neatlink…

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