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Feminism

Hello Ms. Richards,

My name is Darin, and I'm doing on feminism's view of marriage
over the last 40 or so years. I am writing because I consider you an influential young feminist leader, and I would like to get the view ofmarriage from a "21 century" leader. As you state in your book Manifesta, feminists in the 1970s wanted to change or completely avoid marriage ("whether marriage was revolutionized or avoided like the plague, the lines were clear: marriage was a sullied state from a feminist perspective." p. 39) In light of this statement, I have a few questions that I would greatly appreciate your response to:

(1) As a representative of the Third Wave of Feminism, what is your overall view of marriage? Does marriage generally benefit women, or is the institution inherently negative for women?

(2) "The Feminists" declared in 1969 that "marriage and the family must be eliminated." Do you share this view? Why or Why not?

(3) Finally, is marriage (between the mother and father of a child)
generally the best family structure in which to raise children?

Thank you in advance,

Darin

 

Dear Darin,

Here are my answers:

(1) As a representative of the Third Wave of Feminism, what is youroverall view of marriage? Does marriage generally benefit women, or is the institution inherently negative for women?

Society values marriage and thus has made it both more socially acceptable to be married and has also provided perks to create incentives for marriage -- such as health care and tax breaks. From an overall societal view marriage does more to benefit
women -- just as it does men -- than it does to "harm" them.

However, society has valued marriage to the extent that some people stay in marriages that aren't healthy -- and do so, because "not being married" or being "divorced" in this society punishes people -- especially women -- even those for whom divorce is
a "life saver."

Personally, I feel very neutral on the subject of
marriage -- as is it is a symbolic gesture or an honoring of your relationship by either the church or the state -- and while I support other people reasons for choosing marriage, I don't know that I would make that same decision.

(2) "The Feminists" declared in 1969 that "marriage and the family must be eliminated." Do you share this view? Why or Why not?

Until society values the "unmarried" relationships as much as it does "married" relationships -- including both society's views as well as health care and taxes -- than I think that marriage can't be eliminated because it would wrongly punishes those who didn't choose it. I think that marriage first has to be available to all -- same sex couples -- and the respect of marriage has to be afforded to committed relationships before we can consider
eliminating marriage. I think the family should not be eliminated but redefined.

We have done a good job of "adding" to family -- making it about "more than biology" -- however, we haven't yet eliminated biology from that definition and, personally, I think that family should be an emotional bond, not a biological one. Hopefully we will begin to consider this in greater detail as more people use technology to have children.

(3) Finally, is marriage (between the mother and father of a child)
generally the best family structure in which to raise children?

Studies -- as well as my own and other people's experiences -- have proven that children can get the love and support they need from a mother or a father and another person -- a stepparent, an aunt/uncle, grandparent -- thus proving that as long as the family operates as a unit, not solely bound to the rigid tradition of mother and father -- that the children fare the same as those in households with a mother and a father. On this, I will rely on the studies
and will confirm it with my own experience of being raised by my mother and grandfather.

—Amy

 

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