Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘marriage

This was a very big weekend for me.  We sold our house and bought a new one.  And then I found out that I got into the University of Michigan School of Social Work.  So all in all, a good weekend.

I have been noticing in myself that Thursdays are really not a good day for posting for my schedule.  So I think I am going to change link love posts to ones on just Sunday and Wednesday.

Equality 101: Gender Equality on College Campuses

Leaders of such institutions, the editorial notes, are responding to students’ interests in having relatively equal numbers of men and women on campus. However, as the dean of admissions at Kenyon College puts so well, “What messages are we sending young women that they must . . . be even more accomplished than men to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges?” Why are good women students being turned away so that more mediocre men students can attend college?

FWD/Forward: The Opposite of “Disabled” is Not “Employable”

According to the United State government, disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” Or, in non-regulatory terms, disability is when a physical or mental impairment will last at least a year and will make someone unable to work. The ability to work is right there in the definition. A person who cannot work is disabled. If that person can work, they are not disabled. Disability and employability are mutually exclusive states of being.

Gender Across Borders: Equality in Marriage. Is It Possible?

In college I swore I’d never get married (The Sexual Contract by Carol Pateman is to blame/thank). These days I find myself fighting for equal access to the very institution I once denounced.

Bitch Blogs: Race Card: From Adopting Haitian Kids to Giving Them Your Breast Milk

Moreover, in recent days, the adoption community has expressed its concerns about Americans clamoring to adopt Haitian children following the quake. Racialicious.com reports that a group called Adoptees of Colour released a statement asserting that desire by those from privileged nations to adopt Haitian children “contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti.” In addition, group members, many of whom were adopted under questionable circumstances themselves, are alarmed to hear that “Haitian adoptions may be ‘fast-tracked’ due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents…”

The Sexist: Rape Vicitims vs. Prison Rape Victims

I recently headed over to the Web site for Just Detention International (formerly Stop Prison Rape) in order to learn more about this sad study reporting high rates of sexual assaults against juvenile detainees in the U.S. (Short version: one-in-eight detained youth report being sexually assaulted within their facility within the past year; 80 percent of these victims were abused by a member of the facility’s staff).

Small Strokes: Racism, Sexism, & Classism in Standardized Testing

The last paragraph of my first post stated that “test prep courses cost a ton of money.” I did not delve into the class issue of standardized testing. The title of my first post was “Racism and Sexism in Standardized Testing,” but in reading the comments from the post, I realized that I completely overlooked class as an issue in standardized testing (a faux-pas in Intersectionality 101).

Bitch Blogs: Race Card: Oprah’s “Marriage around the World Show” Misses Mark

Egypt. India. The Ukraine. Oprah tried to show viewers what life’s like for married women in these places via her “Marriage around the World” show Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Queen of Talk came up short, delving into tired subjects such as Muslim women and the head scarf, mail order brides from Eastern Europe and why anyone would choose arranged marriage. What’s more is that while profiling women from around the globe, Oprah not only reinforces stereotypes about women of color but also argues that women from Denmark are the ones to be emulated. The not-so-subtle message? White Western women have it best, while others continue to lead pitiable, backwards lives.

I would like to start this post off with a disclaimer.  These are only my opinions and in no way an attack on people who choose to get or not get married.  It is merely my ruminations on the issue of marriage.  Also, in this context, I will be exploring heterosexual marriage mainly because that is the type of marriage I will be entering in to.  It is in no means meant to discriminate against people who do not have heterosexual marriages.

I have mixed feelings about marriage.  I have always seen myself getting married, though I am at no point in my life for that right now and don’t see it happening or considering it happening in the near future.  But I always figured that when I was ready and when I was with the right person, that I would get married.  But the more I think about it and the more I develop my investments in feminism, I not as sure.  I haven’t ruled out the idea of marriage, but I am starting to question it.

Traditionally, marriage is about the selling of the woman from the father to the husband.  Granted, that has changed in most cases, but it still has that root.  Does marriage always have to come along with a power dynamic between the man and the woman?  A level of this depends on the people involved.  The man that I would even consider marrying would have to agree with (or at the very least, respect) my feminist beliefs and values.

I attended my cousin’s wedding about a month ago.  The ceremony made me very uncomfortable because it was highly religious and highly patriarchacal.  I know that not all marriages or weddings are like this.  It was largely an expression of my cousin and her husband.  But at the very root of marriage, is there this understanding of the man owning or at the least having some sort of power over the woman?

It is also possible to have heathly relationships without getting married.  Marriage does not have to be the “next step.”  People can spend their lives together without ever getting married.  There are commitment ceremonies.  Or you could just declare your love for each other and commitment to each other without a ceremony.

There are obvious social benefits to marriage.  But I’m still not sure in my own head what the true values behind the institution of marriage are.  I know the roots of marriage.  I know that there are still definite examples of marriage as a patriarchal institution.  But does it always have to be, depending on the people invovled?  (And what does marriage as a patriarchal institution mean for same-sex couples?  Patriarchy still affects their lives, but does the power dynamic between men and women factor into same-sex couples?  I am asking here.  I honestly do not know because I have never been in a same-sex relationship.  Does anyone have any insight?)

I don’t think I’ll have a definite answer to these questions for myself until I am in a place where I would consider marrying the person I am with, which I am no where near right now.

I hope everyone has had a good and productive week!  If anyone is interested in guest or cross posting, check this out!  In lieu of link love on Tuesday, I did a site recommendation.  But also check out the link love from Thursday.  Here are some of my favorite posts from the week, both new and already highlighted.  Don’t forget to leave links to what you have been reading and writing this week!

New link love:

Feminism and Joss Whedon: Death and Character Abuse [this ain’t livin’] – Joss Whedon has a tendancy to kill off female characters right when the audience gets emotionally involved and the character is resolving relationship troubles.  Why?

How to Be An Ally [Recursive Paradox] – The do’s and don’t’s of being an ally for a marginalized group.

Some thoughts on race, ethnicity, and what I am: The Epilogue [Criss Writes] – too often when we talk about “race” or “minoritites,” we really mean “class,” which is why we need class-based affirmative action.

Why Tim Gunn is the Man [The Guy’s Guide to Feminism] – should men be following Tim Gunn’s example of masculinity?

The Jill Question: What is the Role of White Women in the Reproductive Justice Movement? [Feministe] – “Confronting privilege, in all forms, is a critical exercise in achieving reproductive justice. How do we support each other through that process, while we also hold each other accountable for the privilege we benefit from?”

Weekly Link Love:

What Would We Do Without White Privilege? [Womanist Musings]

W: Death Does Not Become Her [Glossed Over]

Site recommendation: The Love Letters Project

Right now I am no where near getting married, but I decided a long time ago (before I defined myself as a feminist) that I was not going to change my name if/when I get married.

My mom kept her name, which I remember causing a lot of confusion among my friends growing up. It seemed so normal to me because that’s what I grew up with. But I would always feel a little upset when my friends called my mom Mrs. Sundstrom instead of by her own name, not that they knew any better at first. When I was very young, I didn’t understand why my friends just assumed that my mom shared my dad and I’s last name. As I aged, I came to understand that it was societal convention that the woman has the same last name as her husband.

Going into late elementary school and on, I would sometimes get asked if my parents were divorced when my friends found out that my parents had different last names. Because in my conservative community (and in the rest of society), the only way that a woman can have her maiden name is if she is divorced from her husband.

Certainly my mom had some influence on my decision to not change my name, but once I started learning more about feminism, I was finally able to express some of my real motivations behind this decision. I do not want to change myself when I get married. My name is part of who I am. And part of who I am is also an independent woman and I feel that as an independent woman, I should not have to change my name to enter into a partnership with a man.

Via a tweet from Ashely at Small Strokes, I learned of an article at The Globe and Mail entitled, “I took my wife’s last name.” The author goes through his decision to take his wife’s name upon marriage and the struggles that he faced, both within himself and from friends and family.

In discussing why he chose to change his name, he says…

I did it because I love Mona – because I wanted her to know that I didn’t expect her to become anyone other than herself. It mattered to me that we shared a name, so I reasoned I should be the one to offer mine up.


I think that this reason says a lot about what kind of person this man is and about how much he respects his wife and her values. He starts the article by saying that the decision was completely his, that his wife didn’t even ask him to do it.

In today’s society, I feel like a woman’s decision to keep her name is not as uncommon as it was even when my parents married about 27 years ago. Some people still hold the expectation that the woman will change her name, but it is certainly more socially acceptable to keep your name. But even when it is not uncommon for a woman to keep her name, it is almost completely unheard of for a man to take his wife’s name. Why?

I think that some women don’t want to change their name because it would show a kind of dependency on a man. So if a man changes his name, is there an assumption that he is dependent on a woman? And why would that be so wrong? In any relationship there is a certain amount of emotional (and other kinds) dependency on the other person. But men would never admit that by taking his wife’s name.

Every woman has the right to keep her name and every man has the right to change his name. And just because I have decided to keep my name doesn’t mean that a woman who decides to take her husband’s name is wrong or anti-feminist.


Today D.C. started recognizing gay marriage. This does not mean that same-sex couples will be rushing to city hall for a marriage license. What is does mean is that same-sex couples who are married in states that have legalized gay marriage will be recognized as married within D.C.

While ideally D.C. would have legalized gay marriage, this is great first step. Way to go D.C.!

For further reading:
Marriage EqualiTEA: One Lump or Two?
Gay Marriage in Washington, D.C.: Coming Tuesday at 12:01am