Monday, March 24, 2008

Women Who May Never Marry (Parte Dos)

If they paid me the Big Bucks (oh! One day!), I would feel obligated to explain to you the unexplainable. But since I'm poor and confused, I'll just be honest:
I really don't know what to make of the last 2 chapters of Women Who.

One of these, "Making Peace With Yourself", exhorts women to stop blaming themselves for the cultural and economic factors that have made marriage basically unnecessary. Good point. Then, Wolfe launches into a sort of quiz/checklist, that's supposed to help you accept yourself as you are. As much as I'm a sucker for helping myself, it does seem a little odd to throw self-help in right at the end. Add to this the user-unfriendliness of the method (is it a quiz? Flowchart? Outline?), and it's clear that I may not be making peace with myself through these particular means.

The last chapter talks about how to construct your own community outside of heterosexual monogamy. While this is, again, a good idea, Wolfe spends way too much time heralding polygamy. While polygamy (and I think most people would prefer to know it as polyamory) may work for some, I still think that it's not the ideal solution for most of us. Then, Wolfe ends with a section on "Extended Families of Choice", which I really do think applies to all of us.

So, Women Who is uncompromisingly uneven. But, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only person who may never marry-- and that whether I marry or not isn't what my happiness will hinge on. Like the misguided women profiled in the book, I thought being asexual would kill my chances for ever marrying. But apparently, my orientation is the least of my problems compared to all the social forces that have made successfully marrying today almost impossible. This is pretty much the first century in history when people don't have to marry as a business contract, but are supposed to depend fully on their spouse for their every need. We've ditched extended families in favor of one true loves, and it's not working well for most of us. Could it be that we As are lucky to have an out? Or at least, an opportunity to discover this?

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