Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Real World Wednesday

Well, me and my purple toenails (that's for you, Ruby)survived a weekend with 22,000 librarians and nearly a week with 22,000 of WG's relatives and friends. I may be slightly exaggerating one of those numbers, and it's up to you to figure out with one, ha.

More on the trip later.

Now, it's all about Mawwiage.

A dear, dear friend and I have gotten into many a verbal tussle over the value and meaning of marriage. Both of us intend to enter into it at some point in our lives, but the societal value of it has different meaning for both of us. So, I thought I'd take the current discussion "public."

I've already told you about my thoughts on Motherhood, and that topic ties clearly in with Marriage.

Can all agree on the fact that notion of love as a reason for marriage is relatively new? Certainly love existed in marriages, but love as a catalyst for marriage? That's a modern invention.

I would venture a guess that even with love as a cataylst, many marriages still take place because the provide financial advancement (a merger of two powerful families, for example).

And now, for what most defines our perceptions of the importance of marriage: the media. With movies like Sex and the City and awful books like Chasing Harry Winston, it's possible to say that marriage hasn't made much progress in the past fifty years, at least not as far as the media is concerned.

Current movies and books often drive home the point that life without a partner may be the best bet, and that, my friends, is a new concept for a society at large to accept. Others still treat women as gold-diggers who chase after men as the only solution to their problems. Rather than having society treat women as a man's property, novels like Chasing Harry Winston show the women making themselves property.

The fact remains that, while American Society has come to see marriage as more of an equal partnership than at any other time in recent history, things, with a few notable exceptions (Sex and the City being one), haven't changed that much in our television shows and movies. Mothers on t.v. still prepare dinner, though it may consist of take-out fried chicken, and the moms are sarcastic, rather than placid and pretty in their pearls. Women in books, movies and on t.v., still scramble after men and get as worked up ast the Bennet sisters.

Perhaps marriage in the real-world has changed more than many of us are willing to admit (because then, some true believers in the fish/bicycle phenomenon may well have to jump on the marriage boat), but the media has only made small changes here and there. Women primp and preen and prepare pot roast. Girls giggle when a boy looks their way.

Perhaps none of this matters. Perhaps if we're able to look beyond the media (and that's a tough thing to do, mind you), we'll see that marriage as a cultural institution really has changed, and that we women aren't out there selling ourselves to the highest bidder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Purple! Me likey!

I completey agree that love, as a basis for marriage, is a relatively new notion and much of the world doesn't endorse it, its a notion most found in the First World...where the notion of women as property hasn't fully faded either. Phrases like "trophy wife" are part of accepted slang.

And in many cultures, esp South Asian ones, the daughter is "auctioned" to the highest the prospective groom who has the better career, the better family, makes more money, is taller/better looking etc etc etc.