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What does "social status" in marriage mean?

(37 Posts)
viridus Mon 22-Jun-15 11:13:39

Someone mentioned this in the relationships topic. I asked what they meant, and kind of got told off by two people for asking.
I think it was mentioned as being something a woman lost after divorcing.

WoTmania Mon 22-Jun-15 11:51:09

Society tends to view unmarried (single) or divorced women with mistrust. Mainly because of people can't cope with the idea that women can be happy not in a relationship.

BreakingDad77 Mon 22-Jun-15 15:16:21

Agreed wotmania or worse like my mums mother endured that she 'lost' her husband by failing in her womanly 'duties' (not that he was a cheating $* or anything).

LassUnparalleled Mon 22-Jun-15 17:10:22

I don't think western society cares much one way or the other. Certain married women in my experience think they have some sort of status which unmarried women don't.

InnocentWhenYouDream Mon 22-Jun-15 18:07:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WoTmania Mon 22-Jun-15 18:34:41

People also tend to hold suspicions that they are out to 'steal' other women's husbands although I would like to think this has changed- but men who are single are much better accepted and I would think that BreakingDad's mum's experience isn't uncommon. I know a number of single dads who everyone has helped out loads (which isn't a bad thing) but single mums tend to be left to get on with it (after all women are just better at that sort of thing aren't they hmm), likewise men who's partners are working away for extended periods tend to get a lot of dinner invites while the women are left to it.

reni1 Mon 22-Jun-15 23:05:49

I always thought that came from a time when "spinster" was the worst thing a woman could be.

DadWasHere Tue 23-Jun-15 01:52:37

I agree with lass, individuals can care but society has moved on from the days of 'my mothers mother'. Society today seems to look at unmarried men and women once they hit 30 much the same, vis (the harsh version) 'something odd with those goods they have not been formally claimed yet'. Twenty five years ago a guy of 30 would have been looked at more favourably- 'still sowing his oats' or 'plenty of time for him yet' while the woman would get more of a 'she let her goods go stale'. Perhaps thinking in this is still more 'old skool' in the UK? I remember first hearing the Lily Allen song '22' and feeling dumbfounded that it sounded more like it had emerged from a time capsule.

LassUnparalleled Tue 23-Jun-15 02:21:34

I'm not sure anyway that say post 1945 being an unmarried woman was looked on as oddly as being an unmarried man.

I'm thinking of the unmarried female teachers at my school in the 60s and 70s. If an unmarried woman had her own income, particularly if it was earned, in some ways she had a greater social status than a married women.

I also remember 3 of my great aunts - 1 was unmarried and head of a primary school ; 1 was unmarried and ran and owned a shop, both drove and owned cars and owned their own homes. The third was a gentle soul married to a gentle but feckless husband who relied financially on her widowed brother. I don't think my family were cruel enough to say it out loud but it definitely wasn't the married aunt who had the higher social status.

InnocentWhenYouDream Tue 23-Jun-15 06:53:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 23-Jun-15 09:05:27

There is also a tendency within the press to describe married women as adjuncts to their husbands, so dentist's wife, doctor's wife and so on, even when the woman in question has a career of her own. An example of this would be the female dentist who died recently in bizarre circumstances who was described in all media as "dentist's wife".

Lass's examples of unmarried women doing better than their married sister is interesting as well. Lass being the age she says she is would mean that her aunts were of a generation where, when women married, they were excluded from professions such as teaching, and all their social status would have been derived from their husband's profession. Hence the married aunt being viewed as lesser within her family structure, due to her husband's lowly status. So, a great example that proves the point.

That there continues to be a great deal of social stigma surrounding divorced women is a given and that women lose social status when divorcing as opposed to losing their husbands through being widowed can also be seen everyday.

viridus Tue 23-Jun-15 15:33:48

What brought about this question was a divorced women saying, well I had to divorce because of such and such and I lost such and such and social status. It was an unexpected thing for her to say. It made me think that she was blaming the ex husband for loss of social status to be moaning it's loss. I think I expected her to complain of mistreatment within her marriage or loss of love etc not this loss of social status.
It then made me think that social status was one of the factors that she did marry in the first place.
Marrying for love and compatibility, seem to be not the only reasons for marrying. I think there is a kind of double standards going on here.

viridus Tue 23-Jun-15 15:53:13

Maybe there is some kind of status level you enter into during part of the wedding ceremony and sign up for.
I don't have much enthusiasm for marriage, seeing that one in three people divorce now. And I suppose I do get irritated with the assumption of how wonderful it is when it's not all it's meant to be.

scallopsrgreat Tue 23-Jun-15 15:57:06

No I don't think she was implying any of those things viridus. She was saying as well as losing money/husband/companion/house etc (or whatever she lost) she also lost social status, which may not have been apparent when she was in the marriage. Not that she married for social status. That is your interpretation.

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 23-Jun-15 16:42:18

Odd construction to put on it Vir.

BreakingDad77 Tue 23-Jun-15 16:46:36

Vir - what do you mean by social status - as in she lost her au pair?

LassUnparalleled Tue 23-Jun-15 18:27:45

Puffins I remember the teacher and the shop owner and they were formidable women.I am sure they influenced me.My impression was they had a definite status in the community because of what they had achieved on their own. I put it badly, what I meant was being married conferred very little status on the 3rd aunt. My grandmother was married to a successful farmer but she was in awe of them.

Re women giving up professions when marrying I am 55 not 95. There were loads of married female teachers. The head of maths was a single woman but the deputy was a married woman. I can recall 2 married female science teachers , my Latin teacher was a married woman.

viridus Tue 23-Jun-15 18:34:53

Maybe I was thinking that married women lose wealth after divorce, and as wealth is linked to status their status goes down.
There is still I think a prejudice against single people.
Also people in public high profile jobs tend to be married. I wonder would David Cameron have been accepted if Sam was his live with partner.

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 23-Jun-15 20:24:16

Yes Lass, I am aware that you're 55 not 95. Your great aunts would be your grandparent's generation (being sisters of either your grandmother or grandfather), so that bit older, when women were expected to give up professional jobs on marriage... are you deliberately misreading me? When I was at school, people of my grandparent's generation were retired, perhaps your family has children remarkably younger than mine?

And no, you put what you said perfectly, and it still proves my point.

AskBasil Tue 23-Jun-15 20:37:09

"I don't think western society cares much one way or the other. Certain married women in my experience think they have some sort of status which unmarried women don't."

Where d'you think they get that idea from? It's from the western society which apparently doesn't care one way or the other. Ideas come from somewhere, unless you're suggesting that these particular women are uniquely mad and have just got hold of this idea from nowhere.

I think both men and women gain status from being married tbh. Men are seen as more respectable and stable and when they have children, they are even more respectable. Married men earn more than single men, fathers earn more than non-fathers and this is even when you factor out class and age (the posher you are, the more likely to marry, the older you are, the more likely to have had children, obv).

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 23-Jun-15 21:11:45

I'd agree with you there Basil, I think the difference is that women tend to lose any status they have within the marriage on divorce, while men seem to retain it. Even if the man has been the cause of the divorce ime

AskBasil Tue 23-Jun-15 22:30:18

YY a divorced man is newly eligible, a divorced woman is used goods

AskBasil Tue 23-Jun-15 22:30:40

with baggage

AskBasil Tue 23-Jun-15 22:31:38

He's still marketable, responsible, with the gravitas of fatherhood

She's just a single mother, unreliable, not committed, too many caring responsibilities...

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 23-Jun-15 22:36:43


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