Hello, readers! We’re trying out something a little different today. Instead of having a question that I answer for everyone, I want to pose a question and see how all of you think about it. Maybe get a little bit of a dialogue going about the topic and see what we can all learn from one another. I’ll be watching and responding to any of the comments, so if you’re so inclined, definitely take a crack at giving me your answer.
Now, everyone’s heard the phrase “The Old Ball-and-Chain” when referring to someone’s wife. For decades, there’s been several jokes, statements, and general beliefs that marriage is the end of a man’s life. That because he has obligations to someone above and beyond a casual fling, that he now needs to lose some part of his freedom and “what it means to be a man.” This is hogwash, obviously, but everyone’s heard it and some even believe it. Like there’s some intrinsic part of being a man that requires you the freedom to sleep with as many women as you like. Even people who are IN marriages know these jokes and make them, if only to keep up in conversation with people who obviously believe that it’s “the worst decision you could make.”
However, if that’s the case, why is there so much weight put on it. If you didn’t want to get married, why is there also the societal pressure to get married in the first place? In the same stories or media where there’s a guy that doesn’t want to get married, the plot just as easily points out how wrong he is and how finding the ‘right woman’ shows him the error of his ways and it’s off to monogamy town. It feels like this huge mixed signal where you’re supposed to hate being in a long-term relationship, but that’s obviously what you should want? Is it just a different target audience, and if THAT’S the case, why would you systematically build a state where one half of the population is supposed to gather the ire of the other?
It all comes down to roles. Specifically, the gender roles. Having men see marriage as some sort of cage helps bolster the idea of conquest, while reinforcing the idea that women are supposed to desire marriage, despite what they may or may not want. Keeping couples ‘at odds’ makes people easier to manipulate into performing their designated roles, especially if you’re seen as lesser for wanting marriage as a man, or not wanting it as a woman. But what do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are and let’s get this conversation started.