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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why nostalgia should not replace history

The Myth of Marriage shows how the nostalgia for traditional family values is misplaced, as it valorizes a past that didn't really ever exist. The nuclear family was only the norm for a very short period of history, for a very small sector of the population. That is why railing against gay marriage and feminism is just that much more ridiculous.

In fact,

We live in a very unfriendly environment for families. Married couples, if they're going to keep their marriages going, need things like parental leave, subsidized parental leave so it's not a class privilege to take some time with your kids. They need family-friendly work policies. They need high quality, affordable child-care. So that they don't have to call in sick or quit a job or spend hours agonizing about their kids. The lack of these social supports for families really stresses families. So it's very ironic that many of the people who claim to be most in favor of marriage do not spend any time building these support systems.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Even the wedding ritual is a site of fabrication of tradition; so many things that M and I have seen in wedding magazines & etiquette books, etc. turn out to be (very recent) imitations of bourgeois wedding etiquette produced in imitation of courtly traditions, and were never traditional for 'the common man.' (Not to mention that there can be no concept of a single normative marriage 'tradition' in a Canadian context where so many different ethnic [euro or otherwise] traditions co-exist)