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Mill and marriage

April 6, 2011

When Mill discusses marriage, he mentions how women have often throughout history been subjugated through marriage and he even compares it to the institution of slavery.  I was very intrigued by this for many reasons, the first is that at the time Mill wrote this and prior to him writing this, it was true.  Throughout the history of the world men have used marriage to control women and many people would argue that this continues to be the case.  I was the most intrigued by the idea as to whether or not marriage is still similar to slavery and whether or not it is beneficial for women to marry.  I would say that at least in America at least, our institutions have adjusted to help women who choose to be married.

Businesses have added things like maternity leave and on-site daycare to aid parents, especially women who choose to balance their family and a career.  Today’s girls have grown up seeing their mothers work and have probably been to take your daughter to work day with their parents and now realize when they are in school that they can work and get married.  There are also now examples in the media of powerful women who can se positive examples for young girls.  In addition to the idea that women can work and raise a family there is also the new phenomenon of stay at home dads that have altered the traditional family.  There are still areas of the world where women are enslaved by marriage, but I believe in America we are moving in the right direction.

The media is providing examples of non-traditional families

  1. rgrossca permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:49 PM

    I completely agree with you. But I also think that due to this “equality” that women have reached, the social norm for the “caring” man has changed, as well. Now a days, even if a women is bearing a child, in some industries, men are allowed leave from work, with pay, as well. Also, the concept that in sports, there is a “Team Dad” roll, says it all. In a far larger scope, in Media in the past 10 years, the image of a woman has become someone of small, skinny and beautiful stature. There is a lot of discussion about health and weightless. Now, in advertisements pertaining to men, media portrays the exact same image. Whether it be through the “Nutrisystem” ad campaign, through a magazine like GQ or Men’s Health, men are being portrayed as slim, healthy, and attractive. In later years, through shows like Saturday Night Live, media used to portray men as “beer-drinking, sports-afficionados.” That culture norm is changing.

  2. rlwulf permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:49 PM

    Although I can certainly appreciate the point you are trying to get across, I don’t necessary completely believe in the very idealistic view you have about marriage today. While I certainly think it’s important to work and to give women the opportunities to be able to support themselves, I still would not go so far as to question the benefit of the traditional family structure and even whether women should choose to get married at all. It’s so important to have a support system that expands beyond your friends and career.
    Family is a timeless value that should never be discredited, no matter what is going on socially in society. I feel that today’s society is beginning to look down upon women who choose to stay home and help raise a family; that this somehow makes them look weak. While I certainly don’t think that a woman should be forced to stay in the home, I do think that people should still examine and appreciate the benefits of the traditional structure and not discredit its value.

  3. Brett Pere permalink
    April 14, 2011 12:15 PM

    I absolutely agree with you Matthew. I believe that the institution of marriage is continually becoming less and less like ‘slavery’ and more like a fair, equitable sanction. Although it is still ‘usual’ for a woman to not work and raise her children at home, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent that women are maintaining jobs and their families at the same time, and it even works the other way around too with stay at home dads. I agree with your views on marriage and hope that it stays on its current progressive path!

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