Thanks NYT, the Answer to All Our Questions About Marriage, Re-Marriage, Finally

Now, for the first time in history, people who aren’t married outnumber those who are. It’s very interesting to look at how the media are trying to analyze this, sometimes insightfully, sometimes a bit less than.

New York Times article, ”Alone Again, Naturally,” reveals:

“A woman discovers the answer to the question: Why do many men, after a breakup or a divorce, find it so difficult to be alone, while most women in the same situation seem just fine?”

Seems like a very poor editorial decision with the tagline “A woman discovers the answer” … unusually trite and sophomoric –to borrow the commenters’ favorite adjective. As the writer retells her fall and subsequent conclusions about marriage and remarriage, she “is overcome by sweeping generalities,” which downright contradict reality.

I can’t relate to having to babysit a man; in my case, he cooks a lot, loves it, is good at it. He sows, goes grocery shopping, irons. But I don’t see someone like my dad doing these things, and I could see my mom being annoyed by an eternal babysitter lifestyle. Especially when she is out working as hard as he does, and comes home for unpaid, unrecognized overtime.

I do like some of the author’s statements that eloquently dispel entrenched myths, like the Cooking Woman Myth:

“Women alone eat breakfast at 11 if we feel like it, lunch at 3 and dinner never if that’s the way the day is winding down. Single women do not worry about cooking unless we want to. And we don’t want to unless we like to.

Gotta love that last line. Not all women like to cook. It would seem overdone to clarify clichés like these, but I still get surprised looks when I say I don’t like to go shopping, I don’t like a million shoes, I don’t like drawing attention to myself when I walk into a room, or whatever.

But “joggled brain” or not, I think the author really “was no longer capable of subtle thought.” She multitasks with several stereotypes, like saying that all women are hardwired to be have a nest and to nurture it. Yes, a lot of women are that way, but how much of it is genetics and how much is social construct remains very unclear. It’s not just dogmatic and narrow-minded; saying that “we finally found the answer!” strikes as 19th-Century pseudo-scientific naivete. (More…)

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