March 20, 2008

tip me over and pour me out.

maybe this post should be called: Single girl, nearing her expiration date.

i try not to buy into any stereotypical hype about marriage and a girls role in the world. but twice this week, now, i have seen articles in our local paper regarding marriage and how happy it makes you.
the first article, was a full front page (of the source section) screamer. this article is in response to an Atlantic Monthly article from a few months back. the atlantic monthly article basically said that a girl aint worth her salt without a man by her side. if ya wanna be happy, be married, even if it means lowering your standards. such laughable advice as marrying someone of questionable sexual nature or a grieving widower. COME ON! the strib article quotes a few twin citian women with their disgust towards these ideas. although, i think the article fails to stand up for us single-girls and our "impossible" standards (words from the strib, not me). the strib writer (christy desmith) doesn't exactly support the atlantic monthly's claims, but she also isn't shouting girl-power and keep your standards either. mostly i'm appalled atlantic monthly would publish such an article, which flat-out says a girl in her early-30's is at her marital peak, and that there is no where to go, but down. even though the strib wrote with a semi-opposing view point, i think these ideas didn't deserve the thin news-print they are spread across.

today's article, which is picked-up from New York has a basis in scientific findings. apparently a good marriage means lower blood pressure, but a stressed marriage is worse for you than being single. the article goes on to say "That second finding is a surprise because prior studies have shown that married people tend to be healthier than singles..." I have a few scientific problems with this "study" 1) only 204 married people and 99 singles were screened, most of which were white. this is not a large or varied enough test-population to draw adequate conclusions from. 2) the subjects wore blood pressure monitors for random 24-hour periods of time. it is possible that the subjects were wearing the device at more or less stressful times, rather than getting a reading every day over, say a 6-month period. 3) only the married couples answered questions about their relationship status. how do we know the singles weren't involved in certain romantic or other life-affecting issues which could skew their results. 4) we are assuming that all singles want to be married. and 5) we do not take into consideration what outlying factors may skew the results.

i understand the benefits of sharing household and monetary responsibilities with another person. i understand the benefits of having a teammate in life. however, two things about these articles aggravate me: 1) why is there so much social pressure on women to get married. talk of biological clocks and getting older. not to mention underlying messages of needing a big-strong man in your life. 2) exchanging vows and rings does not a happy life make. dysfunctional marriages certainly exist, as do very functional and healthy non-marriage relationships, as do great friendships built on trust and support.


Stacy said...

I saw the first article you were talking about yesterday. I chose to roll my eyes and shake my head...Three Cheers for the single ladies!

Ben said...

I don't really have any comments on the 'unmarried at 30' thing... For all I know, I ain't worth my salt without a woman by my side... :)

But I did enjoy your analysis of article #2. You'd pass my 'Science for Society' class no problem.

Tim said...

There should be a companion article about how high the divorce rate is and how that affects your health.

I looked around and found this 2005 NY Times article that basically said that while the perceived divorce rate is 50%, the stats are flawed it's really more like 41% (um yeah, still not that good). It goes on to say, among other things, that the divorce rate for women with a college degree was 1/3 to 1/4th that of women without a degree, which I thought was interesting. It was also interesting that they included many specific stats for women but none for men.

ang said...

1. YAY that I'm smart enough to pass Dr. Ben's Science for Society class. I'm S-M-R-T.
2. Apparently men don't need statistical information about themselves and marriage/relationships, either it's not important or doesn't apply???

doahleigh said...

Well said. I hate the shit that's out there on this topic.