Monday, July 02, 2007

It's like people are supposed to use their own feelings to gauge what makes them happy.

This new survey on American attitudes towards marriage expresses a lot of things that I'd expect: Americans don't believe that the presence of children indicates a "successful marriage," but that sharing household chores does, and that the purpose of marriage is "'mutual happiness and fulfillment' of adults."

That's all well and good - it reflects peoples' behavior, and peoples' choices. The thing that made me laugh out loud was this:
"The popular culture is increasingly oriented to fulfilling the X-rated fantasies and desires of adults," she [Barbara Dafoe Whitehead of Rutgers University's National Marriage Project] wrote in a recent report. "Child-rearing values -- sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity -- seem stale and musty by comparison."
Uh, what's wrong with fulfilling the desires of adults? How does it exclude "sacrifice, stability, dependability," and "maturity?" Or even child-rearing?

The reality is that people can have happy, stable marriages, have as much of whatever kind of sex they want, and not necessarily have children in the process. If you define success as having children and only a minimally-enjoyable sex life, yeah, Americans have terrible marriages. But why define personal success by something that not everyone wants?

UPDATE: Oh God, oh God, not only was Wendy Shalit on Diane Rehm today, but now Laura Sessions Stepp is on Talk of the Nation blabbering about how it was only wussy dudes who answered this survey, and guys are so scared by self-actualized women that they'll actually pull their own weight (which is apparently a bad thing). Does it ever stop?!

UPDATE II: Oh great, they ditch Stepp for an editor of Maxim! Kill me now!

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