Tag Archives: Gay Unions

Gay Unions are Better

Here’s an article from Slate, Gay Couples Do It Better, in which feminist Hanna Rosen writes:

Without those assumptions, gay couples tend to make more logical choices. The one who is the better cook more often makes dinner, without worrying that this might violate some principles of either feminism or masculinity. The one who earns more money works more, etc. In economics this is called “specialization,” and it tends to make households —much like industries—run more efficiently. One great surprise: Gay dads, studies show, are slightly more likely to have a full time stay at home parent than straight couples. Why? Because much as we hate to hear it, that arrangement is probably more efficient and makes everyone less stressed. But the important lesson here is, the one who stays at home doesn’t need to be the mom.

We now know that feminists accept that traditional family roles are more logical and efficient as long as its gays doing it, not women in heterosexual relations.

It’s easy to see from this that feminism has never been about logic, reason, or the best for civilization or children. It has always been about the selfish desires of selfish women.

****

The blog post linked back to this Atlantic article. Because the discussion of this article is about how much better gay unions are than marriage, rather than a discussion of marriage between oppressed women and oppressive men, the article is willing to actually be more forthrite on ‘controversial’ topics than is typical for liberal rags. So there are a few delightful little tidbits if you ignore the propoganda.

The National Center for Family and Marriage Research has produced a startling analysis of data from the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that women’s median age when they have their first child is lower than their median age at first marriage. In other words, having children before you marry has become normal. College graduates enjoy relatively stable unions, but for every other group, marriage is collapsing. Among “middle American” women (those with a high-school degree or some college), an astonishing 58 percent of first-time mothers are unmarried.

That’s kind of sad, don’t you think?

For instance: we know that heterosexual wives are more likely than husbands to initiate divorce. Social scientists have struggled to explain the discrepancy, variously attributing it to the sexual revolution; to women’s financial independence; to men’s failure to keep modern wives happy. Intriguingly, in Norway and Sweden, where registered partnerships for same-sex couples have been in place for about two decades (full-fledged marriage was introduced several years ago), research has found that lesbians are twice as likely as gay men to split up. If women become dissatisfied even when married to other women, maybe the problem with marriage isn’t men. Maybe women are too particular. Maybe even women don’t know what women want. These are the kinds of things that we will be able to tease out.

This is a good fact to pull out next time casual divorce is blamed on men.

On the contrary: the institution is far more flexible and forgiving than it used to be. In the wake of women’s large-scale entry into the workplace, men are less likely than they once were to be saddled with being a family’s sole breadwinner, and can carve out a life that includes the close companionship of their children. Meanwhile, women are less likely to be saddled with the sole responsibility for child care and housework, and can envision a life beyond the stove top and laundry basket.

Wow. ‘Not all is broken in marriage, it simply doesn’t mean anything anymore.’ I’ve written on this before. Simply put, marriage is about creating a division of labour for raising children and sexually monogamy. By destroying the division of labour and destroying per-marriage chastity, marriage itself has been rendered moot.

And yet for many couples, as Bianchi, the UCLA sociologist, has pointed out, the modern ideal of egalitarianism has proved “quite difficult to realize.” Though men are carrying more of a domestic workload than in the past, women still bear the brunt of the second shift. Among couples with children, when both spouses work full-time, women do 32 hours a week of housework, child care, shopping, and other family-related services, compared with the 21 hours men put in. Men do more paid work—45 hours, compared with 39 for women—but still have more free time: 31 hours, compared with 25 for women.

The good ol’ second shift. I’ve already written about the housework debate here and we already know the second shift is a myth based on poor methodology. So, I won’t go farther into that. This is just a reminder it’s all BS.

It’s not that people don’t want to marry. Most never-married Americans say they still aspire to marriage, but many of them see it as something grand and out of reach. Getting married is no longer something you do when you are young and foolish and starting out; prosperity is not something spouses build together. Rather, marriage has become a “marker of prestige,” as the sociologist Andrew Cherlin puts it—a capstone of a successful life, rather than its cornerstone. But while many couples have concluded that they are not ready for marriage, they have things backwards. It’s not that they aren’t ready for marriage; it’s that marriage isn’t ready for the realities of 21st-century life. Particularly for less affluent, less educated Americans, changing economic and gender realities have dismantled the old institution, without constructing any sort of replacement.

This here is one of the main problems with marriage. This pernicious attitude of marriage is destroying marriage and society with it.

Marriage works best when you build a life together. It is not a capstone to your life, it is a foundation. Marriage is stability, not decoration or status.

If you serious about having children at some point in your life, you are ready for marriage now. There is no “right” time, there is no reason to wait. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 35; if children are something you plan for your future, be serious about marriage now, find a suitable spouse now, and get married, now.

It is a shame the church has bought into the notion that young people should build their lives, then get married. Getting married should be the beginning of a shared building and this attitude should return to the church.

What Schwartz and Blumstein found is that gay and lesbian couples were fairer in their dealings with one another than straight couples, both in intent and in practice. The lesbians in the study were almost painfully egalitarian—in some cases putting money in jars and splitting everything down to the penny in a way, Schwartz says, that “would have driven me crazy.” Many unmarried heterosexual cohabitators were also careful about divvying things up, but lesbian couples seemed to take the practice to extremes: “It was almost like ‘my kitty, your litter.’?” Gay men, like lesbians, were more likely than straight couples to share cooking and chores. Many had been in heterosexual marriages, and when asked whether they had helped their wives with the housework in those prior unions, they usually said they had not. “You can imagine,” Schwartz says, “how irritating I found this.”

Remember, earlier about how lesbian unions end much more frequently. Also, you know how cohabitationg couples break-up far more often than married couples. There’s a reason.

There were still some inequities: in all couples, the person with the higher income had more authority and decision-making power. This was least true for lesbians; truer for heterosexuals; and most true for gay men. Somehow, putting two men together seemed to intensify the sense that “money talks,” as Schwartz and Blumstein put it. They could not hope to determine whether this tendency was innate or social—were men naturally inclined to equate resources with power, or had our culture ingrained that idea in them?—but one way or another, the finding suggested that money was a way men competed with other men, and not just a way for husbands to compete with their wives. Among lesbians, the contested terrain lay elsewhere: for instance, interacting more with the children could be, Schwartz says, a “power move.”

You mean earning money is a form of competition for men? Am I ever surprised.

This is why having a female breadwinner is death on a marriage. The female working makes the money issue a competition for the man. If the man is not winning the competition (especially to his wife), he will not feel good about himself and the wife will not respect him.

Lesbians also tended to discuss things endlessly, achieving a degree of closeness unmatched by the other types of couples. Schwartz wondered whether this might account for another finding: over time, sex in lesbian relationships dwindled—a state of affairs she has described as “lesbian bed death.” (The coinage ended up on Schwartz’s Wikipedia page, to her exasperation: “There are other things that I wish I were famous around.”) She posits that lesbians may have had so much intimacy already that they didn’t need sex to get it; by contrast, heterosexual women, whose spouses were less likely to be chatty, found that “sex is a highway to intimacy.” As for men, she eventually concluded that whether they were straight or gay, they approached sex as they might a sandwich: good, bad, or mediocre, they were likely to grab it.

You mean men and women have different views of intimacy? Am I ever shocked.

When the opposite-sex couples did parent simultaneously, they were more likely to undermine each other by talking at cross-purposes or suggesting different toys. The lesbian mothers tended to be egalitarian and warm in their dealings with one another, and showed greater pleasure in parenting than the other groups did. Same-sex dads were also more egalitarian in their division of labor than straight couples, though not as warm or interactive as lesbian moms. (Patterson says she and her colleagues may need to refine their analysis to take into account male ways of expressing warmth.)

Men and women are different in their relation to children? Shocking.

Even as they are more egalitarian in their parenting styles, same-sex parents resemble their heterosexual counterparts in one somewhat old-fashioned way: a surprising number establish a division of labor whereby one spouse becomes the primary earner and the other stays home. Lee Badgett, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told me that, “in terms of economics,” same-sex couples with children resemble heterosexual couples with children much more than they resemble childless same-sex couples. You might say that gay parents are simultaneously departing from traditional family structures and leading the way back toward them.

In his seminal book A Treatise on the Family, published in 1981, the Nobel Prize–winning economist Gary Becker argued that “specialization,” whereby one parent stays home and the other does the earning, is the most efficient way of running a household, because the at-home spouse enables the at-work spouse to earn more. Feminists, who had been fighting for domestic parity, not specialization, deplored this theory, rightly fearing that it could be harnessed to keep women at home. Now the example of gay and lesbian parents might give us all permission to relax a little: maybe sometimes it really is easier when one parent works and the other is the supplementary or nonearning partner, either because this is the natural order of things or because the American workplace is so greedy and unforgiving that something or somebody has to give. As Martha Ertman, a University of Maryland law professor, put it to me, many families just function better when the same person is consistently “in charge of making vaccinations happen, making sure the model of the World War II monument gets done, getting the Christmas tree home or the challah bought by 6 o’clock on Friday.” The good news is that the decision about which parent plays this role need not have anything to do with gender.

More on how the traditional division of labour is awesome, as long as it is not applied traditionally.

More surprising still, guess who is most likely to specialize. Gay dads. Using the most recent Census Bureau data, Gary Gates found that 32 percent of married heterosexual couples with children have only one parent in the labor force, compared with 33 percent of gay-male couples with children. (Lesbians also specialize, but not at such high rates, perhaps because they are so devoted to equality, or perhaps because their earnings are lower—women’s median wage is 81 percent that of men—and not working is an unaffordable luxury.) While the percentage point dividing gay men from straight couples is not statistically significant, it’s intriguing that gay dads are as likely as straight women to be stay-at-home parents.

Gay men’s decisions about breadwinning can nonetheless be fraught, as many associate employment with power. A study published in the Journal of GLBT Family Studies in 2005 by Stephanie Jill Schacher and two colleagues found that when gay men do specialize, they don’t have an easy time deciding who will do what: some stay-at-home dads perceived that their choice carried with it a loss in prestige and stature. As a result, gay men tended to fight not over who got to stay home, but over who didn’t have to. “It’s probably the biggest problem in our relationship,” said one man interviewed for that study. Perhaps what Betty Friedan called “the problem that has no name” is inherent in child-rearing, and will always be with us.

Not intriguing at all. Men are more logically rational and more given to thinking in cold economic terms, such as specialization.

RULE 3: Don’t want a divorce? Don’t marry a woman.

Hehe. Self-explanatory that.

Which perhaps boils down to something like this: straight women see themselves as being less powerful than men, and this breeds hostility.

The curse of Eve.

Anyway, the piece goes on about how awesome gay unions are and how horrible traditional marriage is, but this was the interesting stuff.