Monday, January 21, 2008

The Ring Thing

Feministing's weekly reader had a link to this piece about one woman's reasons to not get married. It was pretty interesting; I always read these sorts of things, partly for solidarity and affirmation, I must confess.

Pressure to get married is really nothing I have experienced, at least not from people who vaguely know or love me. It tends to come from outsiders who don't know us, and just expect a couple of our longevity to be married. However, even then, the reactions have changed with the years, probably in part due to the length of our relationship - once you get beyond six years or so, people seem to get the message that you're probably not planning to get married. What seems to happen, however, is that people seem to assume that you've not really thought about this, that it's one person dragging her or his feet, or that you're just passing time.

To be honest with myself, I AM rejecting marriage; I can't pretend I'm neutral on it, because I'm not. I think it has too many gender role implications that I don't want to have to fight - I'm too busy being angry about and fighting against gender assumptions for women in general. And that starts with engagement rings and the talk of name change. If I think things are changing, then I get a bit of a reminder every now and then by many sources. For example, the Entertainment Tonight prat who was so overexcited by Eva Longoria's namechange; by Fox News using a commentator who equates anything Hillary Clinton says to some sort of domestic demand; or by Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Noodles* which just panders to this sort of bisected, quite frankly horrible-sounding marriage. Why would anyone want a relationship like that? Why wouldn't they want someone who is their partner, their equal? And that's when Bonnie's article sums it up for me:

[W]hile I know the word "married" would mean something to [Jeff's family], something tangible they could use when describing our life together, I can't do it. I am Jeff's partner, his friend and his lover, and he is mine. The terms "husband" and "wife" wouldn't even begin to describe our relationship.

If you do have a desire to get married, and it makes you happy, then more power to you. It's distinctly not my place to tell you what to do or why; that's a reciprocal thing, and I won't foist my anti-marriage feelings on you anymore than the other way round. But certainly don't bloody well do it because of stupid James Dobson and stupid Focus on the stupid Family.

* If you don't have a New Year's Resolution to be more masochistic, unlike Amanda Marcotte, you can read her discussion of this horrible, horrible thing at RH Reality Check's podcast transcript.

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