There is something unstated in there somewhere

It seems to me that deeply important, but rarely stated is the other big objection to "but men and women are different!"

It is that while men are different from women, all men are interchangeable with each other and all women are interchangeable with each other.

Over and over, someone says "But I am so different from my wife (or husband)." Okay so far. But to then extend that to "therefore all couples should be required to behave in this or that manner" implies that the differences between men and women far outweigh the differences AMONG men and women. And that's just wrong.

Fine, a couple are deleriously happy with one stay at home spouse. SO? The next couple would find that a living hell

Marriage is between a man and a woman, because of the complimentarity of the chaturbat sexes. The patriarchal model is the basis of society and must be maintained. Or in other words, their individuality is utterly immaterial. Go out and catch you a man, girls, any man, cause they're all alike. No need to get to know her, boys, 'cause you can just train her up right once you get her in the boat.

Then what will the doomsayers hide behind?

Social conservatives have harped constantly on the statistic that says couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce for a long time, with the suggestion that young couples considering moving in together should abstain and just get married instead. It's a classic "correlation equals causation" fallacy-people who are making this argument might consider if there's something else that raises both the cohabitation rate and the divorce rate. As the paper argues, persuasively, there was: economics. The further down the economic scale you are, the more likely you are to live together outside of marriage, and the more likely you are to get divorced. Or that used to be true, but now cohabitation has been normalized for the middle class, which means that the correlation between causes of cohabitation and causes of divorce has been broken, and sure enough, once the common cause disappeared, so did the correlation.

The cohabitation panic is just another reminder of the frustrations we were expressing on the panel Saturday. The media allows social conservatives to run rampant with bullshit concerns, and rarely do pundits point out how the people who are screaming about murdering babies are the very same people that think cohabitation is bad. Without those connections, it becomes easier for the public to become complacent about feminism, think that it's a done deal, when it's clearly not and we're having to fight some of the same battles over and over. We get called feminists-which is fine, accurate labeling is critical-but social conservatives are rarely labeled accurately as "pro-patriarchy" or just plain "sexists". And these sexists are allowed to present their various issues as if they were discrete issues with no relationship to each other. Cohabitation is bad because of the divorce rate! Abortion is bad because of "life"! Yeah, that's the ticket.

Obviously, the real link here is not this overwhelming concern about preventing people from having bad marriages or unwanted pregnancies, but a just general enthusiasm for the patriarchy. To be generous for a moment, though, I do think that many in the "yea, sexism!" crowd do sincerely think that people would be better off if subjected to a stifling patriarchy. The thinking, from what I gather, is something like this: Okay, the patriarchy is technically unfair. But hey, don't blame me! Blame god/nature, who made women naturally inferior to men and put women here as men's sidekicks/service workers/sex objects/baby machines. The patriarchy, while being unfair, is the only way we have to maintain civilization itself, and without it, we'll descend into anarchy with people killing each other in the streets. It's a tad unfortunate that women's ambitions, rights, and very souls have to be destroyed to maintain the system, and that even men, no matter how unwilling, have to be forced to uphold this oppressive form of masculinity that can destroy the bodies and spirits of gender non-conforming men, but we all have to make sacrifices to keep society going, don't we? And it's just the Way Things Are that the sacrifices fall on some shoulders while others benefit wildly from the system. Of course, there are the true believers, then the cynical assholes who just parrot this argument but just really enjoy privilege and hate women and gay men, and a lot of people in between.

So the single, solitary argument against any move the culture takes that would free people from the miserable constraints of the patriarchy is greeted as an assault on civilization itself. The specific nature of the fallout becomes their official reason for concern. For instance, the impetus for anti-choice activism is this horror at the idea that women will reject their god-given position as subservient to our bodies, and specifically the way that pregnancy can be symbolically understood as a biological testament to male dominance over women's bodies.** But in the "oh noes! civilization!" view, the baby "murder" accusation is tacked on-see what happens when women reject male dominance? Mothers turning on babies! Cats and dogs living together! Same thing with cohabitation. They were against it from the get-go, because as this paper makes it clear, it offers people, but especially women, more freedom. The divorce rate was just confirmation that we're facing the egalitarian apocalypse.

Anyway, despite the doom and gloom predictions about cohabitation, it's become a much more attractive Jasminlive option because it does give you a chance to assess compatibility before making a stronger commitment, for couples who do have marriage goals, and for others, it gives us an opportunity to get the benefits of living together without incurring unnecessary risks. And for a few of us radical feminists, it gives us an opportunity to feel like we're rebelling against the patriarchy while still getting laid and sharing rent, so there's that. It actually makes a rough sense that, all other things being equal, a couple that gives marriage a trial run before making the full commitment is likelier to make a good choice, and therefore less likely to divorce down the road. The problem-exploited by pro-patriarchy sorts-is that there hasn't been an equal playing ground to study. That's changing. If the current trends continue, and living together before marriage really becomes the expected norm across classes and education levels, then I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that people who live together before marriage see lower divorce rates.

I suppose we'll see a shift in tactics to preserve the narrative even as the statistics defy it. The fact that women with their own jobs and better educations are more likely to get married and be happy in marriage than women who follow the traditional path set out for women championed by conservatives didn't change the narrative. It's still, "Put down that degree and career ambitions or no one will want you!" But now it's moving to a personal narrative form, with women getting handsomely paid to talk about how their personal experiences fit this patriarchal model, without acknowledging that they might not be telling the whole truth, or even if they are, that they're the exception to the rule. Guess it's time for Atlantic Monthly and the NY Times to start publishing stories titled "I Lived With Him First, And Now I Can't Stand To Look At Him Because Of It".

As you all know, the anti-choice movement is sanguine on the idea of increasing the unwanted pregnancy rate, since that means more sluts are having to pay the price (called, invariably, "consequences") for having sex.

You don't have to see pregnancy this way. We're perfectly able to view pregnancy as a woman's act of creation where a man is a team player, instead of the boss of the show.

It's not so much that patriarchalists believe in this happy land of Father

I think the most interesting counterpoint to all the bullshit is to look back at that misty water colored memory of Patriarchy Realized that went on 1947-1965 or so and call bullshit on all of it using the very real informaiton from the time.

Sometimes the data are lacking, but there are clear patterns for inference seen in things like the age at first pregnancy versus age at first marriage, duration of marriage, lots of hidden "starter marriages" that ended early with one boy, etc. In short, there was a reason people fought hard for birth control and abortion rights - and a reason many people - including many live jasmin men - were behind those willing to stick their necks out. It wasn't all so perfect as it is painted to be.

There are hints of these problems in popular literature of the time, too. I don't think certain works of fiction and music and film involving divorce were successful because of a titilation factor alone, but because they represented themes and situations people could actually relate to.

I think that's part of it, but that they want everybody to put up with all the heartache that comes with trying to live under an impossible system.

The difference between the 50's and now isn't that everything was perfect then, it's that the chicks, queers, and coloreds knew their place.

Just like on TEEVEE

Every time someone trots out Ozzie and Harriet, I am sure to counter with one of the following, 'gee, people in my family must have been a real exception since":

-all my grandmothers and great grandmothers but one worked for wages (and she was an upaid farmer and nanny)

-my grandmother testified in her neighbor's divorce trial (man abandoned wife for secretary, came to get stuff during a birthday party - the guy was also my grandfather's boss)

-both my parents were raised by single mothers after their hubsands were killed

-my mom got fired for being pregnant (fired on the spot)

-my grandmother was told she could not get a raise because she was not the head of a household.

-my grandmother and her sisters took care of my great grandmother until she died with no help from their brothers, who had inherited the family lands and sold them (all the sisters taught).

Yeah, it was just peachy and there was ALWAYS a man to step up to the plate and pay the rent.

Oh, that one is too easy

I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that people who live together before marriage see lower divorce rates.

Then what will the doomsayers hide behind?

They'll just conveniently drop the pre-marital part and show how, having "seen the light" and gotten married, they improved their relationship and its longevity.

They are already using a variant of this against gay people, remember. It is a common tactic to compare the break-up rate among straight people (the only convenient measure is divorce) against the break-up rate of all gay couples, regardless of whether the relationship was casual, exploratory, or fully committed.

They'll compare the divorce rate of married people favorably to the break-up rate of unmarried people. They'll drop the cohabitation issue (because, it "won't be significant - after all, they did decide to get married, and that's what matters) and compare all marriages to all non-marriages.

If they get better data, they can compare all marriages to all non-marriages that didn't (yet) end in marriage - the ones that did, of course, drop out of the unmarried population - and get even more proof of how critical God's Plan T is to happiness.