Posts filed under ‘Marriage’

Some Things Never Change

A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.

Image via Wikipedia

A recent Gallup poll surveyed Americans about their preference in the sex of their children. Just as in 1941, Americans prefer boys.  Perhaps the only change since 1941 is that it’s the men who are causing our preferences. Women basically have no statistically significant preference either way. They are split pretty evenly with about a third preferring a girl, a third preferring a boy, and another third having no preference whatsoever.

Men want boys. Just why is that? Is it because they hate girls? I like to think not, but you have to wonder with nearly 50% of American men having a clear preference for boys. Maybe they just wish the best life for their children and prefer to have boys so that their children will have more opportunities and have a better chance for a happier life. That argument makes sense. Men still make more money, hold more positions of power, and do far less work around the house. It’s pretty cool to be a man, or a husband, at least.

Maybe they just think boys are easier to raise. You don’t have to worry as much about them being molested or raped or getting pregnant. No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” perfectly illustrates the difference between growing up a daughter versus growing up a son in America. Boys cause trouble; they don’t get into it. Or at least, that’s the prevailing myth.

I was on a manosphere website once where one of the participants commented that women were using abortion in order to practice sex selection as a form of gender genocide. I kid you not. However, this article sounds like, if anything, the opposite is happening. Couples are using technology to ensure the selection of boys. If this is a significant trend, it will have disastrous consequences in years to come.

There is another possibility besides plain old misogyny or wanting a better life for your child…there is the possibility that American men prefer boys because they will carry on the family name. Maybe their reason for wanting to procreate is to perpetuate the family name, carry on the family line.

This brings me to another example of sexism in our culture. Women get married and take on their husband’s names. They willingly do so. But why is it that no one ever asks why the family name has to be the husband’s name? I wonder how many men would still prefer boys if their sons didn’t carry their names but their daughters did.

Follow me here. What if two people get married and instead of the wife taking the husband’s name and the kids taking the husband’s name we did something different? What if a man named Smith marries a woman named Johnson. They become the Smith-Johnson family. Any female children get the last name Smith. Any male children get the last name Johnson. Maybe they go by Smith-Johnson until they strike out on their own or until they get married when the boys drop the Smith, and the girls drop the Johnson to include a spouse’s name.

It’s much more equitable. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime, anymore than I would expect to see the Equal Rights Amendment passed. The fact is that women have shot themselves in the foot. Right now we’re a little over half the population of America. If we wanted to mobilize and get to the polls and vote we could have passed that law a long time ago, or any other law you care to name. We could have formed our very own political party. But we traded all that for the dangling carrot of a princess wedding and a diamond ring.

June 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm 8 comments

Love Should Be Multiplied, Not Divided

Sister wives

Image by Elizabeth Haslam via Flickr

The recent popularity of HBO’s series about polygamists in the Fundamentalist Mormon Church has spawned a TLC reality show. Again, Wal-Mart has corrupted me into buying immoral DVDs with a ridiculous price of $13 for the entire first season of Sister Wives. Why, why, why do I feel compelled to watch such trash? Well, it seemed like a kind of interesting sociological experiment for $13 and also seemed like a series that might be full of fodder for a feminist dissection.

The problem is that these people are so wholesome and loving and sane that it’s just impossible to have a bitch fest on them. I can’t do it. The lifestyle isn’t for me. I see the appeal, and not just from a reproductive standpoint. Obviously, a man with more than one wife can produce more children than, say, the opposite scenario. But the appealing thing is having more than just two adults to share household duties and obligations with. Hillary said it takes a village, and these people are their own village.

In the beginning we meet Kody Brown and his three wives, Meri, Janelle, and Christine. We meet their thirteen children. We get to see old pictures and hear the courtship stories of all three women. This isn’t some compound where boys are abused and girls are married off to old men at the age of 12. All three wives were adults who made the decision to enter a plural marriage.

The first wife, Meri, knew that she would not be the only wife when she married Kody. In fact, she seems to be the jolly matchmaker. Janelle jokes that Meri is in mergers and acquisitions, and no one gets to Kody without first bonding with Meri.

Janelle works outside the home, and Meri works and attends college. All three women say that they just want to raise healthy and happy, productive members of society. If the children choose not to engage in polygamy or to leave the faith of their upbringing, that will be okay as long as they are making their own choices. Above all, they want their children to have the freedom to choose for themselves. Janelle even lectures her girls that they will be finishing college before they get married.

I’d like to denounce these people for their “perverted” lifestyle, but it’s just not the case. Everyone’s needs are being met. Sure, the women experience some jealousy, especially when Kody brings on a fourth wife, Robin. But all four of these wives have a loving and considerate husband. A lot of other women would give up 100% of their one shitty husband to trade for 25% of a good one. And I realize that it’s a reality series. How ideal their domestic bliss seems probably has more to do with the editors than it has to do with “reality.” But these women seem significantly happier than Kate Gosselin, even after she dumped Jon.

Like I said, it’s not for me. I wouldn’t endorse the lifestyle or the religion. However, this is America. As long as the adults involved are consenting and no one is being abused or coerced, the children are well provided for, and the welfare system isn’t being abused…then what business is it of ours?

May 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm 3 comments

Buy Jesse James’ Book, Get Bonus Free Ticket to Hell

Jesse James pauses for his wife Sandra Bullock...

Image via Wikipedia

At the risk of seeming shallow I am going to write two posts in a row about celebrity gossip items. This time I’m going to harp on Jesse James again. He’s just written an “autobiography,” and the publicity whore is going on any talk show that will have him in order to promote it. You can bet the book was actually written by a ghostwriter. I’m not giving you the name of the book because I don’t want WordPress to link to it, and also because I don’t want to give him any more free publicity than this rant is already giving him.

Yes, I’m going to say it. If you buy Jesse James’ book, you are going straight to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I don’t care if you read free excerpts on the internet or if you glance through it at your pathetic friend’s house, but, by God, do not give that creep any of your hard earned cash!

This guy is a POS. I am embarrassed that I live in Austin. Can’t he just move back to LA where his kind of douchebag so naturally flourishes? Please?

We all know that the real reason that he moved out here had absolutely nothing to do with any stepmothering and absolutely everything to do with winning back Sandy. Unfortunately for him, Sandy doesn’t like eating shit. So, he got shot down. Now he’s bitter about it

Within a matter of a few short months he’s engaged to his new best friend, Kat von D, another trashy, tattoo covered second rate reality show celebrity like himself. That’s because his love for Sandy was so constant, unwavering, and eternal. Kat will also sell her soul to the highest bidder for some publicity, going on the Dr. Drew show to discuss how much Jesse’s changed. Honey, he hasn’t changed. He just hasn’t had enough time to show his true colors. Just wait ‘til he asks you what kind of bread you like on your shit sandwich. Those two deserve each other, though. She also has a history of cheating.

Here’s what I don’t understand about Jesse James. He says he’s written this book so that America will be more sympathetic toward him. He wants us to be able to relate and to understand that any marriage involves two people. It takes two people to make it work and two people to make it fail. He also wants us to know that the sex scandal caused by his numerous infidelities was more hurtful for him than it was for his wife.

Really? Jesse, are you absolutely certain about that? You think your wife wasn’t privately devastated AND publicly humiliated by YOUR selfish actions? He says that he doesn’t want to blame Sandra Bullock, but actually, that’s exactly what he is doing. He’s saying he never believed Sandra loved him and that he felt trapped in the marriage and that being unfaithful was a way to assert his independence. Huh. You couldn’t just join a bowling league or do some fantasy football? And if you felt like you were never yourself around Sandra and that if you had been yourself that she wouldn’t have loved you, just how exactly is that HER fault? I fail to see the logic.

You know what else Jesse’s saying? He says that he can’t worry about Sandy anymore because he worried constantly about what she thought and felt for the 5 years that they were married. I think the problem was that he didn’t think enough about Sandy’s feelings. Because if he’d thought about anyone besides himself, then he and Sandy would still be married.

He’s continuing to be the same douchebag he’s always been. He won’t ever change. And Sandy was smart enough to get out from under that albatross. This book and his interviews, including a tacky trip to the Howard Stern show where he confirms that Kat von D is a “100%” better lover than Sandra Bullock, are clear evidence that Jesse James has all the emotional maturity of a flea.

I read a commentary about all this shit on the internet where the writer said basically that Jesse James was using this opportunity to further humiliate Sandra Bullock. I beg to differ. Jesse James is not humiliating anyone but himself. Sandra has had the class to remain silent and respectful of a man who doesn’t deserve the consideration.

Jesse, do yourself a favor. Hire a PR rep. Get someone to help you keep your big mouth shut. Because if you thought you were the most hated man in America before your book came out, you were definitely wrong. However, since Osama bin Laden’s death coincides with your book tour, I think you just might have earned that title now.

May 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm 3 comments

What Is Marie Osmond Thinking?

Marie Osmond holding a custom made LSR/Steinbe...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday legitimate news sources confirmed what had been rumored in supermarket tabloids for months. Marie Osmond remarried her first husband nearly 30 years after their first marriage. She wore her first wedding dress, which is supposed to make us go, “Awww,” but which I just find thoroughly creepy. Is there anything about this story that doesn’t scream, “Marie, please take your meds!”

Marie’s first husband is Stephen Craig, a former semi-pro basketball player. They married in 1982. They separated and reconciled twice. Then they divorced in 1985, with her claiming “mental cruelty” and amidst rumors of infidelity on his part. Apparently, he was disciplined by the Mormon Church for his behavior during the marriage.

After that unhappy union, Marie remarried not even a year later, to music producer Brian Blosil, or, as he is otherwise known, Mr. Marie Osmond. He adopted Stephen’s son, Stephen Craig, Jr., and together he and Marie had two biological children and adopted five more. They also separated and reconciled after Marie’s very public battle with post-partum depression.

In 2007 they jointly announced their intention to divorce. He’s apparently such a winner that one of their sons refused to retain his last name, and he didn’t attend that son’s funeral after he killed himself. Reportedly, the other children didn’t wish for him to attend, either. He sounds like a really swell catch.

Remember how Mr. Blosil adopted Stephen Craig, Jr.? Well, apparently, Stephen Craig, Jr. has been in contact with his biological father, and, following her divorce from Blosil, so has Marie. Stephen Craig is now a motivational speaker, and he’s been courting Marie and family at her home in Las Vegas where she now performs in a musical revue with her brother Donny.

I love Marie Osmond. I used to watch The Donny & Marie Show when I was a kid. I had a Marie Osmond Barbie doll. My brother and I had a really lame storybook about Jimmy and a robot. I bought one of her books and read it (not the one about the depression), and I watched her on Dancing with the Stars. I watched the talk show she had a few years back with Donny. I defy you not to like her. And for 51 years old, she’s smoking hot. She’s always been a very attractive woman, but ever since she lost that weight on Nutri-System or whatever, I would think she’d have the silverfox Mormon men crawling out of the woodwork for a chance at that.

Why does she feel the need to jump into the magical time machine that is her wedding dress and relive a grave and obvious error in judgment? I also love how she’s reconstructed her history. Like the redeemed villain of a soap opera, this cheater has swooped in to save Marie from a life of depression and loneliness. Everything will be strawberries and whipped cream this time around!

Remember again how Brian Blosil adopted Stephen Craig, Jr.? You should. This is the third time I’ve mentioned it. Here’s her official quote on Stephen now:

“I am so happy and look forward to sharing my life with Stephen, who is an amazing man as well as a great father to my children.”

If he’s really such a great man, then why did you divorce him the first time around? And if he was really such a great man, then why did you say he was guilty of “mental cruelty”? That doesn’t sound like he’s such a great man. If he’s really such a great man, then why did the church sanction him based on his behavior during your marriage? Was it just a case of the LDS Church being afraid to bite the hand that feeds it? Or was he legitimately immoral, unethical, and cruel? And finally, if he’s such a great father, then why did his biological son have to be legally adopted by the kind of father who wouldn’t attend his own son’s funeral?

Of course, it’s Marie’s privilege to not answer these questions for us. In fact, it would be inappropriate for her to do so. Some things should remain private. But I hope she’s asked them of herself. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes that a temple marriage seals spouses together for all eternity in a celestial marriage that not even death can tear asunder. I hope that she’s not yoked herself to a cheater.

I wish you well, Marie. And I sincerely wish that I am dead wrong. People can change, and you married young the first time around. Maybe you’ve both matured. Congratulations!

May 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm 6 comments

A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence

Image via Wikipedia

This movie was one of the first truly independent films. John Cassavetes, the writer and director, couldn’t find a distributor that would take it on. He called individual movie theaters himself to see if they would play the movie. It was made for a shoestring budget and produced by Cassavetes and the film’s stars: his wife Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.

A Woman Under the Influence was released in 1974 when I was 3 years old and Gena Rowlands was 44. Cassavetes couldn’t get a studio to make the film because they all said that nobody wants to watch a middle-aged dame go crazy. Well, he proved them wrong because once the movie hit The New York Film Festival plenty of people wanted to pay good money to watch a middle-aged dame go crazy.

The movie is now considered a part of classic cinema, and it’s probably part of the required coursework for many women’s studies departments. When the film was released it was adopted as a sort of anthem of the feminist movement. Audiences booed Peter Falk’s character. Ironically, Cassavetes wasn’t trying to make a statement about feminism, and he didn’t consider the title character to be crazy. Cassavetes saw Mabel as eccentric, and he thought his movie was an unlikely love story.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, and I’m sure that with the benefit of a modern perspective I’ve read much into the movie that wasn’t intended to be there. For instance, Mabel’s inappropriate affection with men, including her own father, made me uncomfortable. She’s taken advantage of sexually in a sequence near the beginning of the film. I began to wonder how much of her eccentricity might be explained by childhood sexual abuse.

Falk’s character Nick doesn’t deserve to be booed. He’s just a working stiff, caught between his mother (played by Cassavetes’ mother) and his wife. He sends Mabel mixed messages, telling her one minute just to be herself and then raging against her later when she does just that. In at least a couple different instances, he gets violent with Mabel. Rowlands’ Mabel tells Nick, across the dinner table that she will be anything he wants her to be. He only has to tell her what he wants and she will be that. It’s not hard to see why this movie resonated with second wave feminists.

Another great scene involves Mabel asking her father to stand up for her. He takes her request literally and stand up. She tells him to sit back down. No, she means she wants him to stand up for her. Again, he stands up from his chair. It’s Mabel’s mother (played by Gena Rowlands’ own mother) who finally understands her daughter’s intent.

In the end, the movie is a love story. Nick genuinely loves Mabel. No man would put up with all that shit if he didn’t. The title does beg the question: Under the influence of what? Mabel does a lot of drinking in the movie. She takes pills. But I don’t think that Cassavetes meant for this to be a tale of addiction. And I know (from a radio interview included with the DVD) that he didn’t write a tale of insanity. Something tells me that even though he didn’t write the movie specifically as a feminist statement, the influence that he was referring to was that of Mabel’s society.

Mabel is stuck in a world where no one understands her, not even her own husband. And that is part of the tragedy because Nick is attracted to what he can’t understand. It is Mabel’s uniqueness that draws Nick to her. Mabel is okay with being different. What she’s not okay with is her husband’s growing discomfort with her failure to live up to his society’s expectations.

April 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

White Diamonds


Image by dovima_is_devine_II via Flickr

“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me” – Elizabeth Taylor

I’m loathe to write about Elizabeth Taylor because there’s nothing I could write about her that’s not already been written. However, it seems a shame to allow her death to pass without commenting on it. She was, after all, the first woman to be paid $1,000,000 salary for a movie, an exorbitant amount of money for the time. Taylor was widely reported, for many years, to be the world’s most beautiful woman. She was famous for her violet eyes, her many marriages, her soap opera-tabloid lifestyle, her entrepreneurial successes, her philanthropy, and her jewelry collection.

She hastened the end of the marriage of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (let’s face it; those two would have eventually divorced anyway), and she was denounced by both the Catholic Church and the United States Senate for her affair with Richard Burton. The affair with Burton hastened the end of her marriage to Fisher, and ended Burton’s marriage to his first wife, Sybil.

But it began a new and tempestuous marriage that spanned a decade, two weddings and two divorces. It also gave us the great performances we see in, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Would a movie version of Edward Albee’s play have been nearly as fascinating with anyone else playing George and Martha? I hope we never have to find out.

For all her addiction issues and flights of excess, sexual promiscuity and sense of entitlement (she was famously demanding, spoiled, and difficult to work with), she will also be remembered for her courage to speak out against AIDS at a time when no one was doing so. She was, by all accounts, an excellent mother, and this will be one of the many parallels that cause people to compare her with Angelina Jolie. She had a sense of humor about herself and would famously poke fun of herself on talk shows and with her friends. For instance, she stipulated that her coffin would arrive fifteen minutes late for her own funeral.

She had a great love for the gay man, and what gay man wouldn’t love Elizabeth Taylor? She was an icon and a diva. She had a longstanding and close friendship with Roddy McDowell, with whom she starred in one of the Lassie movies. As a young woman she fell helplessly in love with Montgomery Clift, and even though he preferred men, they remained close throughout his lifetime. She was Rock Hudson’s friend and his champion. When AIDS was denounced as a punishment from God for being gay, Elizabeth Taylor stood up and called that viewpoint nonsense. She was, above all, a spectacularly loyal friend, and her steadfast devotion to Michael Jackson proves that beyond a doubt.

Elizabeth battled lots of continuous health issues and went to rehab more than once. In her middle age and beyond, her metabolism caught up with her, and she battled  the bulge many times. Sometimes she won, and sometimes the bulge won. But even as a woman in her 70s, suffering from pain, poor health, and mobility issues, she was still famously beautiful. If you could find anyone in the world who didn’t know who she was, they would have inevitably been struck by the thought of what a striking woman she must have been when she was young. She was the kind of woman that you literally couldn’t help staring at, at any age.

What I most remember Elizabeth Taylor for is that she shared my father’s birthday. My dad was born on the same day as Elizabeth Taylor. He’s five years older than her. He liked to say that the gap between their ages increased over the years but given her childhood stardom, I find this unlikely. It’s probably just my dad’s sense of humor. Elizabeth Taylor’s death reminds me that true beauty, like life, is fleeting. Appreciate it while you can.

April 1, 2011 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

A Generation of Peter Pans


Image via Wikipedia

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on their website called, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” The author’s name is Kay S. Hymowitz, and she is a social commentator who lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She is the mother of three grown children. She writes about gender issues, poverty, racism, and the decline of the American nuclear family. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I found on my initial sweep of the internet.

The article has been very popular. In it, Ms. Hymowitz points out that girls are outperforming boys and that a whole new generation of men is literally failing to attain adulthood. Ms. Hymowitz is making some great points, and she is a gifted writer. While she doesn’t directly implicate feminism with turning full grown men into a generation of Peter Pans who still live with their mothers or bunk with their friends and spend their free time drinking beers and playing video games, the inference will be made, whether she means for it to be or not.

I read some of Ms. Hymowitz’s other articles. She writes on gay marriage: against, on traditional marriage: for. Here is someone who at least makes a good argument, whether you agree with her viewpoints or not.  The Manhattan Institute, which currently employs Ms. Hymowitz, is a conservative think tank, and so we should expect Ms. Hymowitz’s views and insights to fall in parity with an American conservative political agenda.

In an article on the decline of the institution of marriage, she points out that amongst college educated women who are marrying later in life, the marriage rate is good, and the divorce rate is significantly lower. It’s the females who are marrying younger, and who are less educated who are generally either preferring not to marry at all or not to stay married. So, while some may blame feminism for the collapse of the American family, it seems that amongst the women who have benefitted from feminism, marriage is still very much alive, well, and healthy.

Do we care that American men are now destined to become slackers? We should. These people are the future of America. It’s not enough to just say tsk, tsk and shake our heads at how sad this is. Young men are failing to live up to any responsibilities or potential, and an entire generation of young women will be forced to look to men who are old enough to be their fathers to find suitable mates — or be relegated to being single.

Of course, the third option is settling for sperm donor slugs. I doubt if the kind of guy who’s not motivated to graduate from college or look for a job is going to make an effective Mister Mom. Let’s face it. Parenting is hard work.

I wish that instead of just reporting on the problem that Ms. Hymowitz would propose a solution. However, maybe she has, and you just have to plunk down $25 for her new book in order to get it. How do we motivate young men to succeed without demoralizing our young women? What can we do as a society in order to lift up our boys without putting down our girls?

February 23, 2011 at 1:14 am 5 comments

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