Throughout much of history, upper-class men divorced their wives if their marriage did not produce children, while peasants often wouldn't marry until a premarital pregnancy confirmed the woman's fertility.Two conclusions:
- I always suspected that my understanding of shotgun weddings (a father preserving his daughter's honor) wasn't quite patriarchal enough. I think I was confused by thinking of premarital sex in more modern terms, whereas in societies where the female orgasm is quasi-taboo, the function of premarital sex would probably be different.
- The rest of the article is a nice reminder of why marriage should go the way of slavery - that is, replaced with something still exploitative, but less so, and more fluid and market-based. It brings up a potential double turn problem with defending same-sex marriage. Conservatives say gay marriage undermines traditional marriage, and traditional marriage is good. It's naturally to respond by saying:
- Same-sex strengthens marriage because it supports gay/lesbian couples who want commitment and monogamy, thereby taking legitimacy away from more flexible "domestic partner" arrangements. By contrast, acceptance of public homosexuality is pretty much inevitably increasing, and if this continues without legalized gay marriage, then the "domestic partner" model of a long-term relationship will continue to gain credibility. For example, after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, many companies stopped offering health benefits to both gay and straight domestic partners, because now anyone can get married.
- Fuck the sanctity of marriage. Any institution where you can sue for loss of housekeeping and sexual services is based on some seriously twisted foundations. That's fucked up even aside from the sexism. Long-term monogamy is often great, but the state/religious/cultural sanction has more drawbacks than advantages.