Has marriage become for men only?

(65 Posts)
AcademicJDD Sun 29-Dec-13 17:52:39

With strong, independent women starting to step out of the shadows casts by mysoganistic men, and only seeming to get real praise if doing it while 'looking hot' is marriage a dead duck? Women continually are seen as the lesser of the partnership in a patriarchal bondage.
Why would we want this? Does anyone else think marriage is now left for the gay community and the old fashioned?

TeiTetua: because the alternatives to marriage have been deliberately made undesirable for women by men. Even when women achieved some economic indepence, there was still (and is still) a great deal of social pressure on women to marry, though it's always been framed as 'please a man enough to make him choose you'. The more women look at marriage (and heterosexual monogamy) with clear eyes and decide that actually it's not that good a deal, ta, the more intense the propaganda becomes - women who will not accept a male owner are 'bitter' or 'ugly' or 'desperate' or 'unnatural' or 'failures'.

Because men need and want marriage. They want a woman to cook their meals and clean their house and wash their shitty pants, they want to reproduce without doing very much of the hard work involved in rearing children. And yeah, yeah, Not Your Nigel, plenty of men are not this selfish and do see marriage/heteromongamy as a partnership of equals. Though it seems fairly clear that even the nicer ones quite often have a knack of weaseling out of most of the domestic shitwork and awarding themselves a lot more leisure time than their partners get...

DadWasHere Tue 31-Dec-13 11:46:18

A while ago I saw a discussion about whether marriage was bad for women and the consensus was that it was true: but nevertheless, a man who was willing to marry a woman was better than one who wasn't.

Interesting. I guess because a man who will not marry a woman is confirmed to be a bastard as first principal but a man who would marry a woman has, at least, the potential to be a good guy even if, when judging the male herd collectively, the chances are low and potentially higher he could be an even bigger bastard.

Either that or male hate is a thing and/or married women have a form of Stockholm syndrome, where they value their own husbands but pity their friends for the husbands they are married too- and their friends feel the same in return.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Tue 31-Dec-13 12:35:42

'...because the alternatives to marriage have been deliberately made undesirable for women by men.'

Like going to university, getting a job, having a career, buying a home, travelling, even more education, professional qualifications, happiness, enlightenment, satisfaction, pleasure....

What a shit hand you have been dealt.

BarbarianMum Tue 31-Dec-13 12:37:16

I find this thread confusing tbh.

Marriage is good for men and bad for women - compared to what?

If you are going to have and rear children, then a certain amount of resources (time, money, labour) need to be available to do that. So, as an individual wanting children, you have 3 choices:

-have children on the basis you will raise them singly (hard work, huge financial burden)

-have children as an unmarried couple (can work fine, or not, but very little legal protection for either party and this tends to disproportionally penalize women who tend to swap earning power for childcare responsibilities)

-have children within a marriage (can work fine, or not, but some legal protection if things don't work out).

Personally, I chose having children as part of a couple because in return for washing, house-keeping and child-rearing I get access to financial and other support to raise 2 kids that I really wanted in circumstances far, far easier than if I'd chosen single parenthood. Then having chosen coupledom for the purposes of procreation I chose marriage as it gives me financial protection in case of a split.

What does dh get out of it - 2 kids he really wanted being reared plus some housekeeping/home-making in a relationship that gives him legal rights regarding his kids.

I don't really see how either of us benefit more than the other. If anything I think the balance is somewhat on my side because the things dh 'gets' out of marriage as listed in posts above (sex, kids, someone to wash his pants) are all to easily available outside marriage. There are any number of threads on the relationship boards where some poor woman has lived with and had children by some useless tosser man and now wants to leave but the house is in his name, the savings are in his name and he is the main wage earner. Or people like my friend who lost her home when her partner died and his parents claimed half the estate (absolutely not what he would have wanted but no will). sad

scallopsrgreat Tue 31-Dec-13 13:47:30

Well some of us are looking at marriage from a structural perspective and others are looking at marriage still within a frame that women need to be married and that should be their goal i.e. how society frames marriage, something that women search for and men grant. I can see how that would be confusing.

There are other alternatives with raising children e.g. raise children with other women or families.

I think that everyone acknowledges with the way that society is set up currently and if you have children with your partner that marriage is the easiest way of having financial security. However, that security can be achieved outside of marriage even in today's society. It is incredibly patriarchal though that just because you go to a registry office you get financial security not afforded to those who don't. There's something very moralising (and not in a good way) about that. And there are still whiffs of ownership of women and children and their labour within that financial security setup.

outinthewilderness Tue 31-Dec-13 16:09:43

Many of these comments seem to assume that every woman marries a man who is financially stable and earns more than her. If this is the biggest reason for a woman to get married, why do women marry who earn more than their partner? Or who have more assets to begin with?

Artetas: For hundreds of years, those things were not available to women. They either married, or they remained the property of their fathers or, sometimes, later on, were permitted to take up low-paid, service-style employment eg governess or housekeeper.

As soon as women started to gain financial autonomy, they started rejecting marriage and filing for divorce in greater numbers. This is still going on. Hence the efforts to convince women that they are the ones who are 'unfulfilled' unless they hand themselves over to a man's ownership.

CaptChaosGlitteryBaubles Tue 31-Dec-13 17:35:33

Women who don't marry within a certain time frame are still spoken of as 'on the shelf' 'an old maid'. Their biological clocks must be ticking and they become 'dried up old prunes'. None of the language used to describe unmarried women is complementary. Even women in long term monogamous relationships which bear children and are happy are thought of as 'being unable to catch a man'.

Men, OTOH, are thought of as carefree bachelors, sowing their wild oats, footloose and fancy free, unencumbered by a ball and chain. If they marry, they are 'making an honest woman of her'.

If language influences thought, and vice versa, then why are these things still voiced? Surely in our enlightened times, when women can do all the things ArtetasSwollenAnkle suggests, then no one would make those comments?

But, of course they do. Marriage is still mostly for the benefit of men, to the detriment of women, but we still continue to do it.

Just by the bye.... men don't need to be married to the mother of their children in order to have rights anymore, PR is a given now for unmarried fathers. It's women and children who are most at risk in non-married relationship breakdown of being made penniless and homeless, unless everything is shared equally in law, or a will has been made.

BarbarianMum Tue 31-Dec-13 17:54:02

<<It's women and children who are most at risk in non-married relationship breakdown of being made penniless and homeless, unless everything is shared equally in law, or a will has been made.>>

So that being the case, how can you say marriage is (now) mostly for the benefit of men?

There are ways to get legal protection outside of marriage but it's not that straight-forward. Anyone can - for example - make a will, and then change it without letting anyone other than a solicitor know. Dependent children have some rights to inherit under he law, but unmarried partners have no automatic rights.

There are of course lots of models for raising children - co-operatively with other women, with extended families etc - that don't involve marriage but you still meet the same basic situation: that if one party pulls out the other the other is left as a single parent (or has been all along).

Not sure about the situation where the woman earns/owns more than the man. In the cases I know of, two salaries or one a half plus part-time childcare are still necessary to make ends meet but then most couples I know earn broadly similar salaries and share childcare, so maybe not typical.

blueshoes Tue 31-Dec-13 19:35:52

out: "If this is the biggest reason for a woman to get married, why do women marry who earn more than their partner? Or who have more assets to begin with?"

Wearing my cynical hat I would advise her not to get married particularly if her partner is going to be the primary carer.

DadWasHere Tue 31-Dec-13 23:38:47

Men, OTOH, are thought of as carefree bachelors, sowing their wild oats, footloose and fancy free, unencumbered by a ball and chain. If they marry, they are 'making an honest woman of her'.

If language influences thought, and vice versa, then why are these things still voiced? Surely in our enlightened times, when women can do all the things ArtetasSwollenAnkle suggests, then no one would make those comments?

'Enlightened times'??? There are places in the world even today where to be female, married or not, is to be a slave to male keepers and the expectations of the society in which they live.

However here, in my corner of this planet, if I wanted to encounter people who voiced such things as what you list your good Doctor would have to lend me his TARDIS or I would have to visit a nursing home for the elderly, probably the very elderly at that.

WarmFuzzyFuture Tue 31-Dec-13 23:46:13

Or visit the local pub DWH.

Thants Wed 01-Jan-14 01:29:38

Well a lot of people do get married but your right I do wonder why we would want to. I think straight couples should be allowed to have civil partnerships. I would definitely prefer that.

Chunderella Wed 01-Jan-14 10:18:26

While SGB is correct about the roots and history of marriage, whatever other faults the institution has, the lower earner in a couple is economically better protected by being married. We all know that usually this is the woman. For as long as this is the case, it remains unhelpful to us as a class to dismiss it as something that only benefits men.

If we weren't married, DH and I would still be living together because we enjoy being in each other's company more than we enjoy being apart, and because we prefer to rear DD together. There is nobody whom I would rather live with, myself included. No doubt this cannot be divorced from what society has drummed into me, but regardless it is still how I feel. So the only difference, as getting married did not change our domestic arrangements, would be that I would be financially more vulnerable (I work part time). There's fuck all feminist about that.

Mary1972 Wed 01-Jan-14 20:57:31

Marriage is for the benefit of the lower earner, so usually for the benefit of women only. It is arguably a foolish person who earns more and marries rather than just lives together.

Darkesteyes Thu 02-Jan-14 02:11:41

There IS still a social pressure on women in this regard as Solid has said.

Here is a current thread which is a good example of this.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1953702-Idiot-daughter-has-dumped-lovely-boyfriend

DadWasHere Thu 02-Jan-14 07:54:02

There IS still a social pressure on women in this regard as Solid has said. Here is a current thread which is a good example of this.

How? I dont see that at all; I read the whole thread. All I see is an overly invested mother wanting to re-imagine her life and partially heal the damage of her own earlier mistakes by living vicariously through her daughter. That is not social pressure, that's her parental hang up. What are the majority of 'social' messages saying back to her in reply? Back off mum and let your daughter live her own life and make her own mistakes, which seems like the exact opposite to your point.

JinglingRexManningDay Thu 02-Jan-14 08:51:36

DWH a lot of my friends are unmarried with children,some in relationships some not. Any social gathering of any form the women get comments such as No wedding bells yet,Aw you're not giving us a day out,Has he got you on hire purchase whereas the men tend to get Sure you're almost a single man,There's still time to get out of it.
Time and again if a woman announces a second pregnancy without a marriage there's an air of disapproval whereas a man announcing a pregnancy without marriage is given pats on the back and hands shook.

Mary1972 Thu 02-Jan-14 09:45:29

For those of us who earn a lot more than men hiring it rather than buying it remains a better option for self preservation and indeed to protect our children. Usually of course that is reversed as sadly men still earn more than women although hopefully not for long.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Thu 02-Jan-14 09:56:05

I assume you mean that you wish to protect children from male violence. So how do you see the future, Mary? More single mothers? Communes of women sharing child-raising roles?

Santasaysno Thu 02-Jan-14 10:06:51

So I went in to the relationship with more assets and earn more 10yrs and 2 kids down the line I don't see the advantage to marrying house is in my sole name what advantage is there to me as a woman (apart from the romantic crap) to marry genuine question I've been wondering for years now

whatdoesittake48 Thu 02-Jan-14 10:29:34

Statistically, most divorces are instigated by the woman. So this indicates that men enjoy marriage more - and I think this is because they have more freedom within the bounds of marriage.

They leave the home more often, have more time away from the children, have most of their domestic life taken care of, have affairs which they get away with, never have to give up their earning potential, feel valued outside of the home and get praise from everyone around them for what a great provider they are...

Women have the opportunity to bring up children with more financial security - but what else is there?

Obviously not all men are like this - but even in a situation where they no longer love their wives, they stick at the marriage because it works for them.

Women often have the feeling that there must be more to life and set out to find it. Men think they have found it already.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Thu 02-Jan-14 10:54:41

Statistically, most divorces are instigated by the woman... and yet in the same post you say, ...(men) have affairs which they get away with...

So by your own logic they are not getting away with it. There is a lot of good sense in this discussion, but also some contradictory tripe. My own anec-data suggests that plenty of women are having affairs and then filing for divorce. Let's have some balance please, people.

Chunderella Thu 02-Jan-14 19:21:45

Santa if your decision on marriage would be based on legal/financial factors rather than a belief in the institution itself, that's a question you should ask a solicitor. There are some things you can only obtain via marriage (IHT exemption, easier time with immigration, widows pension while it still lasts, spousal maintenance) but they may not be relevant/desirable for you. You'd need to go ready to discuss assets, what you want to do with them and who you would want protecting and how in the event of your death. I'd encourage you and everyone else to make an informed decision.

Also, you don't mention if you have other provisions in place. But if you don't marry, you'll want to investigate both making wills, whether any pension provision can be transferred to an unmarried partner and getting a next of kin agreement drawn up.

Lottapianos Fri 03-Jan-14 14:52:39

'I think straight couples should be allowed to have civil partnerships. I would definitely prefer that'

Completely agree. It may well be a possibility - Peter Tatchell has a case going through the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the twin ban on gay marriage (now resolved) and opposite sex CPs is unlawful. Judgement is expected this year and he is confident of winning.

Apparently in Holland, where CPs are available to both same sex and opposite sex couples, over two thirds of them are taken up by opposite sex couples. It's a similar picture in France. I would like to think it would be the same here!

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