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America's attitudes towards marriage and women

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posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:11 PM
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I need to explore the subject.. It is an issue for me personally right now.

My daughter is pregnant right now, it was carefully planned, and my family in America is acting like it is a great shame, while the French are celebrating it. Her feelings are hurt and I am at a loss to explain to her the cultural clash here.

I am having to delve deep into our cultural mores and values about women to get to sources.

The thing is, she is not legally married. Her boyfriend of six years, who she has been living with for three, she has been with since she was 16. They were together a couple of years before she announced to me they were planning to have sex, and wanted to get on birth control beforehand. They have never had any fights or dramas, no breakups, only been extremely supportive of each other, she always had the highest grades in her classes, went to college (without any financial aid, she worked simultaneously), got her degree, has skills so much in demand, she was able to choose from many propositions before accepting a great job.

She became a regional champion in gymnastics, then went on to boxing, then rugby for many years. When a national female rugby team wanted to get her in, she refused so she could focus on her studies. She hates pot and alcohol, and has a very balanced life full of friends and always attentive to her family.

And yet. The fact that she is not married makes her a failure to my extended American family.

In France, marriage just doesn’t matter. We have friends who have been together for 30 years, raised great kids without a problem, and never married. Most of my husbands cousins have families but never married. They just don’t feel it is necessary.

My stepsister was a pot smoker who married quickly after meeting a guy just out of high school, didn’t go to college, got divorced quickly after the baby and then struggled alone and in poverty for years- but she did it right by their standards. I don’t get it.

So much of the attitudes I see with the most aggressive opinions from men and women against each other is the subject of marriage. Bridezilla’s, whose dream is to get married, then (the men claim) become fat tyrants once they get there. What is this all about?

Why is a woman’s value axed upon getting a man to marry her? Why is that the moment when they finally feel they can be powerful, and not before?

Is it the legal system?

Here, my daughter has up to three years of fully paid maternal leave with guarantee to have her job back whenever she chooses to return. (this is a national law, but she wants to return immediately, as many women here do, because she feels she needs that part of her life as well to be happy). Their rent is exactly one third of her income, so even in the unlikely event they broke up, she would be able to handle it alone financially.
Though all people (regardless of income) get an amount of monthly financial aid from the state when they have children, and of course, there’s social security coverage for medical.

Maybe women feeling less vulnerable financially influences their feelings about marriage necessity? I don’t know.

I usually try to iron out the cultural misunderstandings between my French and American family members… but this is, for the moment, beyond my ability to translate!




posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:22 PM
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I preface this whole post with this is my belief of American standards, being an American:

To often in this culture, men disappear from a relationship when children enter into it. Without the additional anchor of marriage, your American family is looking at that first.
Americans place value on commitment, which they are not seeing from this gent, who's not willing to settle down after 6 years of dating.

It is absolutely a cultural thing, be it right or wrong.



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:23 PM
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I find it astounding that every American thinks one way, and every Frenchman and woman thinks another way!

If there were even the slightest chance that some people in France would consider bearing children outside of marriage improper, and some people in the USA would not have a problem with it, that would almost make sense.

Sorry, sarcasm over. I know plenty of people with children outside of marriage that are perfectly accepted in society, but I also know some people (usually older or more conservative) who would frown on such a thing. It's possible that I know a few people who would make a big deal of it, though I can't think of any just now.

Rural US alone is bigger than mostly all of Europe combined, it's important to keep that in mind. There are plenty of parts of the US that are really only a couple steps away from original immigrants that came from very religious European countries only 100ish years ago. And when these places can be relatively isolated and stay small, especially in places where it's a "who you know" kind of community where you might be faced with a "comply or leave" type of choice, some of these older traditions take some time to peter out.

But they are, don't worry. People in my generation are fairly "chill" as I'd put it. We still have our bible-thumpers, but they're fewer and further between by far, and most people seem to subscribe to more of a "live and let live" feeling.



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:27 PM
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Still attempting to figure out why theres even a need for marriage ..

Why cant two people care about each other and balance each other choose just to be together and share life without it being religion/state sanctioned ?
Think the french have the right idea about it in people being together without marriage ..

Marriage only seems to benefit religion.. the state and divorce lawyers who all profit from it.

Oops.. just waking up having coffee.. almost forgot .. congratulations hope your daughter has a happy and healthy baby .. be proud of her and make sure you spoil your new granchild ..



edit on 26/12/14 by Expat888 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:29 PM
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_ my own writing has all these associated memories coming up- like the day I married, and my mom said to me that she was so proud of me (the one and only time she ever said that) because I was able to do something she never accomplished.... get a man to marry me without having to force him through a pregnancy! (she did that twice).

I even had a couple of family members who assumed I was pregnant at my marriage. (I was not).

WTF is up with that?? I didn't "get a man to marry me", we love each other, we decided to marry because our different nationalities made it complicated to stay together if we didn't. But we wanted to stay together, and it was not one trying to tie down the other. It was just a mutual desire. There was no concept of my being legitimized through becoming a wife to a man. -Which is what this whole attitude stinks of to me!



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:34 PM
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originally posted by: Expat888
Still attempting to figure out why theres even a need for marriage ..



Marriage only seems to benefit religion.. the state and divorce lawyers who all profit from it.






Sir, I think you answered your own question.
edit on 26-12-2014 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:45 PM
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a reply to: TheBlackTiger

I hear your meaning behind your sarcasm, I think. You mean that I am generalizing and stereotyping too much?

Point taken. I realize that not all people are the same, even within the same population. But I also feel that generalities and stereotypes exist because there are predominant attitudes, conceptions, and values within specific cultures, that are held by a majority. That is what I mean to address.

There is enough evidence in the media that there are profound differences on this subject between the two countries.
In movies, tv shows, you get expressions that for example, all people in one country will understand the reference, no matter what their personal stance on it is.

All americans understand the movies which focus on the planning of weddings, and the endings of children's movies which have for ending the princess achieves ultimate joy and reward by a marriage.

In France, the famous ending of children's stories is "and they lived long and happy lives, and had many children". But you don't see any marriage!

Yes, some people feel differently, of course. If it needs to be concise in my rant, I am refering to a certain part of the american population who feel marriage is very important, even essential, in the formation of a family.
I wonder why they feel that way, and why they place that higher than other considerations- like a woman getting an education or career?



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: randomtangentsrme

Op doesn't say why they are not married.
Could be mutual that they don't feel the need to do that dog and pony show we call marriage.



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: Expat888

Thanks!


It does seem to be about religion, and perhaps money- money the lawyers get out of conflicts in divorces, stirred up by this whole attitude of security only being possible if married.



posted on Dec, 26 2014 @ 11:54 PM
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originally posted by: Bluesma
a reply to: TheBlackTiger

I hear your meaning behind your sarcasm, I think. You mean that I am generalizing and stereotyping too much?

Point taken. I realize that not all people are the same, even within the same population. But I also feel that generalities and stereotypes exist because there are predominant attitudes, conceptions, and values within specific cultures, that are held by a majority. That is what I mean to address.

There is enough evidence in the media that there are profound differences on this subject between the two countries.
In movies, tv shows, you get expressions that for example, all people in one country will understand the reference, no matter what their personal stance on it is.

All americans understand the movies which focus on the planning of weddings, and the endings of children's movies which have for ending the princess achieves ultimate joy and reward by a marriage.

In France, the famous ending of children's stories is "and they lived long and happy lives, and had many children". But you don't see any marriage!

Yes, some people feel differently, of course. If it needs to be concise in my rant, I am refering to a certain part of the american population who feel marriage is very important, even essential, in the formation of a family.
I wonder why they feel that way, and why they place that higher than other considerations- like a woman getting an education or career?


I definitely think you're right, but in a way I also hear a teenager saying "I don't know why my parents keep calling me when they can just snapchat this by now, jeez!". There are just large swaths of the US that are developing from "old fashioned" to "modern" at a slower rate, and I laid out some reasons why I personally think that might be true. It's not really a failing, IMO, just kind of a casual reluctance. We're a few generations behind is all.

How long ago was it that, even in France, an unmarried woman ought not to have a child? Probably not (relatively) that long ago.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:00 AM
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originally posted by: randomtangentsrme
I preface this whole post with this is my belief of American standards, being an American:

To often in this culture, men disappear from a relationship when children enter into it. Without the additional anchor of marriage, your American family is looking at that first.
Americans place value on commitment, which they are not seeing from this gent, who's not willing to settle down after 6 years of dating.

It is absolutely a cultural thing, be it right or wrong.


I appreciate your input- especially if you are in a position of the attitudes addressed, and can help me understand the ideas behind it better.

This gent is perfectly willing to marry - they considered and talked about it for a few months. She didn't want to bother- it seemed unecessary to her, and the whole planning thing would take up months, perhaps more, when they have gotten to a place in both of their careers and emotional life where they wanted to just start their family- not waste time with a show for others. They decided they'll do it later. This is a pretty common thing these days here. People have a kid or two before they hold a party to celebrate their family.

Why do men disappear when children come along in the US?

I know that is true, I have witnessed it enough. But why is it? I was surprised that boys here talk of wanting to marry and have children one day, which I never heard in the US. They were always talking about wanting to remain single all their lives and without any attachments.

I get the feeling that my family feels my daughter is in a risky position, that there is an assumption her boyfriend might run out- which frankly, I do not even see as a vague possibility. Men value their mothers as the rock of their lives, until they have their own rock, and they cling tightly.

Sometimes, it seems the roles are reversed?

Recently on a thread, a guy wrote something like "we're supposed to be the pillar of wisdom and guidance to a family"
which perplexed me. I've gotten used to the attitude that is the wife and mother who is expected to be that.
Maybe it is that huge and heavy expectation that makes men run once they find themselves with family??

ETA- I smiled at the reference to "dating" and not settling down. I got involved on a french blog where french people were learning about the american tradition of "dating". They don't do that here. Hard to explain.

But as far as we can see, he settled down with her long ago! When he graduated high school, he chose a college program close to her , instead of going to a better one further off. As soon as she graduated, they got a place together while he worked and she went to college. He has been dedicated to her from the day they met.

The more I think about it, the more I feel he is in a more risky place than she is. He worships her, and his life decisions so far have turned around her. If SHE were to take off, I think he'd be destroyed in many ways.
edit on 27-12-2014 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:01 AM
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a reply to: Sremmos80

I have no issue with them being married or not. I was attempting to put a reason behind her American family's unreasonable attitude, looking at "American values" objectively.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:08 AM
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originally posted by: TheBlackTiger

How long ago was it that, even in France, an unmarried woman ought not to have a child? Probably not (relatively) that long ago.


I can't say with any confidence- it doesn't seem to be very recently, because they just have so much history of accepting sexual freedom as a given! Even back into the times of kings, it is casually mentioned children born out of wedlock, or born to married persons, but the fruit of extramarital couplings. It was openly known in such cases and there just doesn't seem to be any scandal surrounding it in the reports.

I had a friend here tell me that even when he was a child, marriage was pretty much arranged by families, according to alliances and exchanges for land. His family was powerful land owners here, and his grandfather was married as his family chose, and yet he also had a big house built right within view of his, which was the home for his mistress. Everyone just accepted that (and his mistress remained his other partner his whole life).

Perhaps it is that memory, of marriage being a sort of community-planned farce, that leaves the people not idealizing it so much.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:12 AM
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originally posted by: Sremmos80
a reply to: randomtangentsrme

Op doesn't say why they are not married.
Could be mutual that they don't feel the need to do that dog and pony show we call marriage.


Exactly. They talked about it for a while and even talked with us about it, trying to decide if they wanted to start the family first, or have a marriage first. The wedding thing just seemed sort of stupid to them, a waste of money and time when what they really wanted to invest in was actually beginning a family, while they have all the pieces in place for doing so.

They said they will probably do it later. For them, a wedding is just a show put on for others, which seems less important than actually living the partnership.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:20 AM
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Many Americans refuse to think for themselves and something is only legitimate if it has the stamp of the state on it. Even on matters as personal as who you choose as a partner, many people still think they need some sort of government approval and recognition for their relationship to be "real" Even those that claim to be progressive still think they need the state's approval and acknowledgement of their love before it's real.

Americans care more about image than anything else, their whole lives being nothing but a facade, and you need things like marriage to keep up the facade. Otherwise you are just left with a relationship, and who cares about relationships? It's about legal agreements and acknowledgement these days. The important stuff has disappeared.

That's just my opinion anyway!



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

First, congrats Bluesma!

I am not of the presented opinion. That is just what I have seen or extrapolated from conversations.

Marriage is a huge expense.

I don't know why men disappear when the prospect of parenthood is presented to them. My little guy isn't even 5 months right now, and I love ever moment of our time to the fullest.

Speaking only for what I have witness there are "boys here talk of wanting to marry and have children one day," or at least there were.

I think your feeling is correct, in regards to the boyfriend. But only time will show that to your family.

Not all men value their mothers as tightly as you think. I had a college professor assign us homework to call our mothers and forgive them. I'm not sure what happened to him, but it seems at least he felt children resented their mothers.

Responsibility does make many run scared. Just as often I see individuals try to take responsibility when they have no business to do so. Either is a bad situation.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:29 AM
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That's pretty complex, the difference in attitude. I can't claim to know about the US but here in Canada being a single parent, mom or dad, is a one way ticket to the poor house. We have virtually no support network.... those three years leave sounds perfect, time for mom and baby to bond without worries.

My husband was thrilled to have a child and then we both decided it is better for a child to have a sibling so we tried again. He fell apart when he found out I was pregnant and blamed me. He started having less and less to do with us until he disappeared over 13 years ago, never seen again. Biggest problem I encountered trying to survive was when I had to apply for welfare the government had attitude with me like I was some sort of loser, couldn't keep the marriage together yet they have the means to track down people but never did.

North America is pretty primitive (I came from Europe as a child and see it).



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 12:37 AM
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Marriage is a religious trip.
It is shameful to look down on a loving couple having a child.
I wish them all well.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 01:15 AM
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Its not an American culture thing from my stand point. My girlfriend and I are American and she is 3 months. We have been together for years, yet we aren't married. My family is excited and hers is getting used to the idea. Her parents dont like me because I'm from the city and they're from a rural area. Not the country bumpkin they expected for a future son in-law. They never got mad that we aren't married though.



posted on Dec, 27 2014 @ 01:38 AM
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You are definitely generalizing too much. America has every race and culture from around the world and I doubt you could get 50% of Americans to agree the sky is blue. There is no need to translate because that is an individual thing not cultural.




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