Did you know marriage eludes modern women? I had no idea, but I do appreciate being informed of this. As Suzanne Venker said in her article in National Review, women have a better shot today than ever before for martial bliss. With the most freedom, flexibility and privileges than ever before women are waiting longer to marry. This has been discussed everywhere over the last year or so. Venker’s reasoning as to why, are beyond what I’ve ever heard before. Or can really believe.
“They’ve [women] been taught that the world revolves (or should revolve) around them. This attitude is a bona fide deal breaker. So much about marriage requires… being quiet rather than demanding, or taking the higher road and not having to have one’s way all the time. Simply put, married life presupposes a maturity modern women don’t have.”
Of course we all believe the world revolves around us. We’re very self-absorbed! Except we’re not! Generation Y spends more time volunteering and giving back than any before them. The non-profit sector has been a huge draw to us as well. While Gen Y has been labeled the “entitlement generation”, we’re looking for a job we’re passionate about and an opportunity to give back. It’s not just about a paycheck.
I find her comments about marriage disturbing. I am not going to claim to be a relationship expert – I’m nowhere near that. However, I cannot simply always take the high road, keeping my mouth shut and putting on a happy face. I wouldn’t expect my partner to do that either. While that may have been how many marriages worked in previous generations, I don’t know many women, or men in their twenties and thirties who would such a partner desirable. While marriage, or any relationship requires maturity, it also requires communication and compromise.
According to Venker, feminists claim video games as the culprit for men who won’t grow up. I’ve never heard this reasoning, and would never have thought it. I do believe everyone matures at his or her own rate, and no matter the sex, they may not be ready to settle down at age 23 or 33. Where did the video game theory come from?
“Men tend to follow women’s lead — and it is women, not men, who fight Mother Nature. It is women who’ve changed the roles, rules, and expectations of marriage. It is women who embrace no-fault divorce laws that allow them to check out the moment they’re dissatisfied. Indeed, feminists assure women they can’t possibly be happily married until men change who they are or adapt their nature to accommodate the needs of women.”
Are we fighting Mother Nature? Well, okay, maybe. By putting off marriage until we are financially secure, mature and ready to have a family, not to mention certain the one you’ve found is truly “the one”. Much thanks to Margaret Sanger and the birth control for this!
Divorce happens. It is unfortunate, and painful, and a difficult decision to make. No fault divorce is also how women in abusive relationships are able to get out. But I know of many happy marriages based on equal partnership. I also know of equal partnerships in cohabitating partners. Yep, we don’t have to get married. But that’s another post – which I’ve written over and over again. I’m sure if women stopped suing for divorce, no fault divorce would come to a crashing halt!
When I get home from work I’m to put on a “feminine hat and let men be who they are: simple creatures with few demands”? Yes, ladies, men do not like successful, confident, independent women. It is such a turn off to share chores just to be able to live in a two- income household!
Are men really simple creatures? I would never have thought so. Venker seems to think feminists have hoodwinked them and they have fallen for our powers of persuasion, or our bossy tendencies. Wow – how are we not making more of elected officials, corporate boards and executive positions if we have such powers?
The bottom line of this piece is that feminism has destroyed marriage, and the success of women in general. I’m not aware of one solid, specific definition of feminism. What the feminist movement has meant for me is choice. I had a choice of colleges to attend, raised with the expectation that I would attend college. I have a choice of jobs, careers. I can get married or not, have children when I chose to, or not at all. I also believe it is about equality – for everyone.
What do you believe feminism means? Does Venker come close on anything for you? How about this: in the comments, Venker tells one commenter (a 23 year old newlywed): “It’s the need to prove oneself as an independent woman and the ignoring of gender differences that hurts marriage. Would love to hear more from you after you’ve been married a while. I mean no disrespect, but I’m afraid you’re far too early in the game to really have an opinion on this matter.”
It is that quote that urged me to write about this. Any adult woman in a committed relationship has the right to voice her opinion on marriage and relationships. Actually anyone can! Everyone has the right to voice his or her opinion. Reading this while reading The Handmaid’s Tale hit a little to close to home. I find both to be a warning of a potential future for us. We need to speak up over and over again, especially when we are shouted down.