There’s a great article in the NY Times today about recent studies about same-sex marriage and what they suggest about the role of gender in marriage. I’m quite excited about this article, because I’ve been saying for years that marriage, for women, is a bad deal. (I believe the exact, inflammatory phrase I use to upset my more conservative Southern family is, “Marriage is a form of legal prostitution for women.”)
Here’s my favorite bit:
“Heterosexual married women live with a lot of anger about having to do the tasks not only in the house but in the relationship,” said Esther D. Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University. “That’s very different than what same-sex couples and heterosexual men live with.”
Thank you. That is exactly the point I’ve been trying to make for years. Along with all the really good reasons to let gays and lesbians get married — it’s the right thing to do, etc. — there is the additional reason that same-sex marriage will expose the fact that our traditional notions of marriage are not based on any kind of biological, gendered roles for men and women but purely on cultural myths that persist in our society. And that is good for everyone. It is good for gay and lesbian folks because it further challenges this idea that they are somehow “aberrant” for being women with so-called ‘masculine’ traits or men with ‘feminine’ traits. And it helps heterosexuals to understand that a relationship isn’t about “a man does this and a woman does that” which does nothing but further divide and alienate men and women.
Not to mention the fact that I’m looking forward to the Bridezilla battles between women and their former gay wedding planners now looking to book the same venues. It is on!