People Should Marry Earlier: Continuing Conversation

September 28, 2011

My entry yesterday began when I read an entry on someone else’s blog, and has in turn led to the writing of two other entries on others’ blogs.  In case they’re of interest, I offer them with no further comment:

“Publicity! Or: How a Conservative Hater Made My Day!”, Amee Bohrer, Unrelentingamee

“The words of a Conservative man…”, Emily Sixx Rants

11 Responses to “People Should Marry Earlier: Continuing Conversation”

  1. Tevyeh Says:

    She describes you as a “married lawyer living in Cincinnati.” Is this an error on her part, or should I belatedly buy you a blender?

  2. It’s an error! At least, I sure don’t remember getting married. I’m not sure where she got that idea. But I thought it would seem churlish at this point for me to correct her.

  3. “I also agree that there are still many men interested in marriage. (In the original post, while noting that “There may be fewer of them around,” I affirmed that there are still such, and recommended them.) For one, I know that I am one.”

    After this, I heard a “married voice” speaking in the piece. My apologies, I will include a retraction to clear that up.

  4. I don’t think you owe me an apology for calling me married!

    I meant that I was a man interested in marriage.

  5. Dear Chillngworth,

    In the interest of fair play, I appreciate you offering mine and Emily Sixx’s blogs as other points of view.

    As we did get along well yesterday, you may have been surprised to see my blog response. But while yesterday it was flattering initially, I then realized I felt angry. With reason.

    To you, those fertility statistics are just that– but for women, they are an unsettling reminder. Not just of our “Biological Clock,” but Patriarchal standards which inextricably link our inherent value and attractiveness to the ability to breed.

    And I learned two valuable lessons yesterday. First, that even casual online activity may have consequences. I never imagined when I commented on Emily Sixx’s post that someone would find that comment interesting enough to quote it. Let alone, that I would find myself featured as example of a woman who is already 30 and had better figure out my marital plans if I ever want to have children!

    Second, my choice to reveal my identity was a big one. I kept my blog anonymous for six months, as only Unrelenting Amee. On Aug. 25, 2011, I decided to create my own by-line, as my degree is in journalism. I was proud of my blog, and ready to go public with it.

    But wow, when I saw my name linked to those statistics?

    It really hit home how irrevocable the decision had become. I was proud, however, that I had written something noteworthy– and that my real name was linked to it. I’m taking a risk, writing about myself so personally. Yesterday, you validated that it was a risk worth taking.

    I started out anonymous to avoid infringing potential professional opportunities, in a very Conservative world. But then I realized that writing *is* my professional aspiration, and Amee Bohrer is more credible than Unrelenting Amee.

    I have something to tell you, about Feminism.

    It has NOT failed women. It’s working, and I’m proof.

    When I saw that post of yours yesterday, I didn’t panic and think, “I NEED TO FIND A MAN!” Or, “Nevermind that, where’s the nearest sperm bank?” Some women would call their moms and dissolve into tears over that. Because it hurts to be judged. And most crucially, women want to get married and have children with someone they *love*, and we have no more control over when that will happen for us than we do over our fertility cycles.

    Feminism is alive, because I have the self-esteem to speak up.

    Feminism validates my freedom, and allows me to proclaim it.

    Feminism is what allowed me to see your post yesterday as a compliment, and a platform.

    So thank you, Mr. Conservative, for this opportunity.

  6. Tevyeh Says:

    “And most crucially, women want to get married and have children with someone they *love*, and we have no more control over when that will happen for us than we do over our fertility cycles.”

    With respect, baloney. The idea that love is something that just “happens” is unrealistic, despite being a centuries-old theme in romantic fiction (and consequently, a cultural meme).

    • Baloney, eh?

      Trust me, I’ve not been passive about looking for love. I ended up quoted here because I admitted to using online dating– which is pro-active.

      Timing is everything. I’ve been in love. But it has to be the right time for both of you, and that’s what I haven’t found yet. I suppose I can say I did find love, but not the right time.

      And just because you love someone, doesn’t mean it’s a compatible relationship, or that you should marry them. You can love people who aren’t right for you– and it’s better to walk away than find yourself married to the wrong person. Because I can tell you from experience, being in a relationship with the wrong person is much lonelier than choosing to be single.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        Let me start by agreeing 100% with your last paragraph. Too many young couples buy into the notion that the feelings they get today while dancing in fountains together will necessarily lead to a “happily ever after” marriage. Sorry, the Beatles were wrong—“love” is not “all you need.”

        If you’ve been proactive in “looking for love,” then your actions suggest that you don’t actually believe that you have “…no more control over when that will happen for [you] than [you] do over [your] fertility cycle[].” If love is something that one has no control over, then what’s the point in being proactive about it? Che sara’, sara’.

        Maybe I took your (apparently absolute) assertion too literally (a bad habit of mine—I went to law school with Chillingworth). If you’re saying that finding a suitable mate (and I mean “suitable” according to your own subjective standards) is a challenging task, *influenced* by forces beyond one’s control, then I completely agree. Heaven knows I went through some “interesting” episodes before I met my wife.

  7. Hi Amee,

    I’ve never felt like my inherent value or attractiveness was only my ability to breed. But I’m not a feminist. And as much as you say feminism has helped you, it has hurt me, and a lot of others. Feminism devalues the feminine in a way that I found interfered with my ability to be myself or to figure out what I really wanted in life. What it meant for me to become a well-adjusted, thriving adult was pretty much my throwing off the shackles of a feminist society. It took work, too. Years of thinking. I want it to be easier for other girls, so I want you to know that your words are a sharper sword than you think, and that sword swings in directions you may not realize. (One goofy metaphor per post?)

    I am also convinced that this “down-with-patriarchy” tunnel-vision blinds us to the incredibly far-reaching effects of feminism. It isn’t just about spitting out that foul tasting, mythical patriarchy. We’ve told girls that fulfilling relationships shouldn’t matter to them. We’ve asked girls to believe that biological differences between males and females are basically meaningless. We’ve told girls and boys both that they have no responsibilities to their communities. Not necessarily directly, of course. But not very indirectly, either, sometimes.

    I feel awfully funny giving you links to my own blog, but I don’t have time to repeat myself here. Each of these is some commentary on something I read that got me thinking, or seemed to me to be one more example of the harm done by feminism.

    Observation over time leads me to certain conclusions, then I find that those conclusions prove very helpful in understanding otherwise strange phenomena. These are examples of some things I think make perfect sense if I’m more or less right about the damage feminism has done.

    (and of course the caveat that the term “feminism” probably includes a lot of stuff, and I’m painting with broad strokes. I have no objections to classical first-wave feminism, except that it spawned all the rest.)

  8. Dear Unassuming~

    Feminism is a complex issue, I agree. And yes, parts of it have gone too far, and alienated us from men, and sometimes ourselves.

    I’m not a Radical Feminist, like Andrea Dworkin. I don’t believe that men are superfluous in our society, that marriage is a trap, or many of the other extreme things that go along with her ideology.

    I’m more in line with Eve Ensler, the woman who wrote the one-woman play, The Vagina Monologues. She is all about loving yourself for who you are, rather than conforming to society’s standards of beauty, femininity, or anything else. She advocates internationally for survivors of sexual assault, which I support.

    But when I found myself quoted next to fertility statistics, that was the influence of Patriarchy. Notice, there were no statistics about the fertility of men, or their declining attractiveness as they age. Why? Because society doesn’t care if men marry– and they can impregnate women well into old age.

    When I talked about femininity being inextricably linked with fertility and marriage, it’s because it is. Gay women are told they are freaks because they don’t love and pro-create with men. Straight women who have been in happy marriages for years can become emotionally broken if they are infertile– sometimes their depression about it leads to divorce.

    Imagine being married to someone, and having them leave you for another woman– because she was fertile and you are not. Most likely, a younger woman. For some men, biological children are that important.

    I empathize with you, and am glad you included your links. You shouldn’t feel funny about it, they are relevant and provide a more full picture of what you believe!

    I know a lot of women who are great examples of Feminists, who are successful, confident, beautiful women– and abhor the label.

    Feminism has had some socially damaging consequences, but it also has brought us a lot of freedom legally, and also emotionally.

    And although I am obviously Liberal, in my own life choices I am becoming more conservative.

    But to say that Feminsim as a whole has trapped us, is something I don’t agree with. Rather, it’s an indisputable part of our culture now, something we are free to rebel against, or claim.

    Growing up Catholic, I’ve struggled with a lot of those beliefs. But regardless of my political beliefs, those traditions and my faith is an integral part of my identity.

    Labels are the most dangerous thing of all. You don’t have to agree with Feminism, or ever claim it as part of your identity. But know that another part of it, on a very basic level, is just women looking out for each other.

    When Emily Sixx commented here and then wrote her own blog response, that was awesome example of the positive power of Feminism.

  9. And as far as what Feminism has done for girls– this is one of the recent things:

    My favorite line?

    “You don’t tell the Atlantic Ocean to behave.”

    I urge you to check this book out. I’m 30, and relate to it just as well as any young girl might. The title poem talks about the POWER of femininity, of our emotions. That women should celebrate this aspect of ourselves, not be ashamed.

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

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