Traditional Marriage: An Outmoded Institution

Posted under: philosophy, psychology.
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weddingcaketopper

Adapted for Cogitations from a paper I wrote as part of my sociology coursework.

Human beings almost never have to be cajoled into pairing. Instead, we do this naturally. We flirt. We feel infatuation. We fall in love. We marry. And the vast majority of us marry only one person at a time. Pair-bonding is a trademark of the human animal (Fisher, 1992). In our pair bonding society we find our other half, become dependent, and walk off into the sunset of the nuclear family.

Men and women depended on each other from the beginning. Evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin suggested that on average men are more aggressive, and that they excel at higher mathematical problems, and at completing several visual-spatial-quantitative tasks. Women, on average, do more nurturing and exhibit more verbal skills and memory ability than men (Fisher, 1992). These gender differences make evolutionary sense. Aggression would have served men well as they confronted their predators and enemies, and nurturing capabilities of women caused them to show interest in their infants and tolerance of their needs. As ancestral males began to scout, track, and surround animals millennia ago, those males who were good at maps and mazes would have prevailed. Ancestral women needed to locate vegetable foods within an elaborate matrix of vegetation, so they developed a superior ability to remember the locations of stationary objects (Fisher, 1992).

In preindustrial Europe farming couples still needed each other to survive. A woman living on a farm depended on her husband to move the rocks, fell the trees, and plow the land. Her husband needed her to sow, weed, pick, prepare, and store the vegetables. Together they worked the land. More important, whoever left the marriage left empty-handed. Women and men were tied to the soil, to each other, and to a network of stationary kin (Fisher, 1992).
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Comments (7) May 05 2009


Name Change

Posted under: philosophy.
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As I mentioned in our family site, we are excited to be starting out the new year with new identities–well, the girls and I anyway. We have decided to change our last names. I will take back my maiden name, Uhler, because that is who I am. The girls will change their last name to Danler, as it is a combination of Brent and my family names; it connects them to each other, and to both of us. We are excited for this change and hope that the girls never acquiesce to changing their last name (if they are to ever get married) and give up their identity.

Read Brent’s post about women, marriage, and the tradition of women taking the last name of their husbands. I agree with Brent; these things are misogynistic and archaic.

Comments (3) Jan 20 2009