If I were to write a relationship how-to for the 21st century, it would be titled ''Guys: Grow Up, Ladies: Move On.''
By Jenna Goudreau
After reading Hannah Seligson's book A Little Bit Married--designed to invoke an internal freak-out that goes something like this: Why am I not married? Will I ever be married? Will I be forced to wait so long that my eggs dry up, my boobs reach my belly button and every eligible bachelor deems me unworthy of love?--I decided that marriage is the last frontier of the women's movement.
Seligson writes about a phenomenon of young, college-educated, cohabitating urbanites dragging their feet to get married. Well, mostly it's the men dragging their feet because the women are assumed to be crossing off the days on the calendar, waiting for them to pop the question.
In part that's because this new generation features the "child-man," Seligson offers, who doesn't feel like adulthood comes until age 35. He lives with a woman for the regular sex and side benefits of emotional nurturing and a free live-in maid. Marriage is not yet on his mind because marriage represents financial stability, an end to partying and generally becoming old (apparently love and commitment are not deemed worthy criteria).
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On this point I think she's right. A young urbanite myself, I know many of these man-children, who I find both amusing and frightening, and begrudgingly call friends. I do not, however, date them with the anticipation of marriage. Are we women so silly and trusting as Seligson suggests?
There's obviously a double standard at play here. In the year 2010, when women now earn 60% of college degrees, is it really still presumed that women's primary goal is marriage and family? Are we sinking so low as to reinforce the idea that if marriage hasn't happened before a woman reaches 30 she's most likely doomed and should run stomping and shrieking to her boyfriend, demanding a ring?
Frankly I find it insulting to believe a modern woman would want to spend the next several decades with her Peter Pan man who still has Mommy doing his laundry.
If I were to write a relationship how-to for the 21st century, it would be titled Guys: Grow Up, Ladies: Move On.
The career accomplishments of women today have me cheering on the sidelines. Women are half of the workforce; they fill 51% of management and professional positions; in two-thirds of American families, moms are the primary or co-breadwinners; and there are more than 10 million U.S. businesses owned by women, generating sales of $1.9 trillion as of 2008.
And yet how can women really be taken seriously when we are continually reduced to pining wives-in-training? Popular culture plays a big hand here, spinning out "chick flicks" and "chick lit," the focus of which is almost always romantic relationships.
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