Libra_89 asks: “Why is in 2017 we as women are still fighting through all the scrutiny of what constitutes marriage material? From our bodies to our manners to our minds and to our careers, why is it still necessary to be on a perpetual audition?”
Because we’re still stuck in the “pay to play paradigm” and feminine conformity can lead to wide ranging powers that are unspoken yet still respected within patriarchal society.
We all know the institution of marriage isn’t just two people making a public declaration of affection for each other. If it were merely that, the wedding industry would be and afterthought and the pomp that begets matrimony an equally trivial occurrence. Even in 2017, however, marriage still has far reaching social, economic, cultural, and religious implications. In its many layers it is the fusion of families, ideas and ways of life. So while it is easier to pick a mate (and divorce them) in some cultures, it’s still a matter of determining worthiness on both sides. The roles men and women play in marriage are different and have lots of weight and significance, something that cannot be understated.
For today’s commentary, the focus will be on heterosexual marriage simply as while there are some themes that may be applicable for LBGT unions, there are likely parts that just don’t apply. These are observations from a cisgender lens…not meant to be a disclaimer, but a necessary acknowledgement on how various members of society may view !arriage in different, yet equal ways.
So I dated a woman a while back who was a divorceé with kids. What struck me about our time together was how well she navigated certain social situations. Now, being married twice in her case had given her lots of experience; still, it was something too see where you just didn’t have to explain certain things. This heightened social awareness extended to !any areas in our relationship at the time…it had this very “mature” sort of feel to it.
Now, she was capable of displaying many desirable traits in a life partner. Her previous situations accentuated those things and made what she had to offer a more “known” commodity. It was nice easier to tell compatibility with lives and views. We both knew what we had to offer each other was compatible temporarily and it ran its course for as long as it did.
Flipping to a woman who is currently being courted by a man and perhaps not been married (and previously arrived folks do this too)…she is evaluating him based on what she projects his potential to be as he is doing the same of her. We often are evaluating the other person based on our own individual and cultural lens because we inherently have some idea as to what the magnitude of the entry into the institution of marriage means. “Can I make it with this person?” “Am I willing to try to make it with this person?” are some of questions were trying to answer throughout the courtship process.
That ex cracked me up when she said once, “I’m not really materialistic, but -“. Well, she had a taste for certain things that were developed during her life course. Frankly, to have traveled in the circles she did, a level of material affinity WAS necessary. Some men still hold onto this idea of having a woman “who is a lady in the streets, but a freaking between the sheets”. I’ve always wondered where and how she should be able to get experience for both roles and how she should be able to defly manage them while being chaste. Sounds a bit unrealistic, right? I’m sure women have their own expectations of men that can be similarly unrealistic as well.
Perhaps it’s still that unwillingness to become in tune with, effectively communicate and negotiate those expectations that persist in 2017. Those same ones that ostrachize all flaws in a potential mate while blindly hiding away ours from our own gaze. There’s nothing wrong in wanting a material wife or wofe material; it’s more important to know what you want and not demean others for their choices.