What I Married
A group of twenty-something-year-old women got together every week to gossip about their latest affairs. Giggles lined with laughter and hysterical tears came to an abrupt halt when Candy stood up among all her friends and announced, “I’m screwing an M.D., bitches!” And like fireworks all lit at the same time high pitched screams of ohs and ahs flew in from every direction. “Ladies, I think he’s the one. He hasn’t said he’s in love with me yet, but I’m working on that! I’m gonna make that man click before in they have a chance to make it over his head. And that’s a promise!” Laughter and hi-fives spread across the table. “Well, what’s wrong with the guy you were dating before? I thought you guys were getting pretty hot and heavy. You two were cute,” interjected her friend as she eagerly awaited a response. “Yeah, well… cute doesn’t pay my bills. He was nice and all, but he couldn’t even hold a job. How can I think about considering marrying someone who’s struggling with money and is worse off than I am?! The last thing I want to worry about is money when I’m married!”
Surprisingly, today’s vows don’t do much to hold together a marriage. Prenuptials are a given and “till’ death do us part” are magical words that create a heart-warming sensation for a young bride-to-be marrying a wealthy, couldn’t-be-closer-to-death, old bachelor. The economy has had an effect on women that has skewed their outlook on marriage: women today are more likely to base their decision of who they marry by the suitor’s profession or practice in order to get a financial boost or escape financial pressures. This theory makes cocky lawyers and cosmetic doctors and shoe-in for any woman looking to leave those working days behind her. Women chose marriage as an alternative to independence because of salary inequality in the work place, and the media’s ideas of the life of a housewife. Besides, “love’s great and all, but a girl needs stability” (Pearson).
Point 1: Financial Stability
Still A Man’s World:
A bisexual man, when questioned, had an option of marrying; the only catch was that he had to decide what sex he would marry and explain why, “I’d pick a man”. He stopped and pondered his decision for a short moment before continuing: “Yeah, I’d marry a man because I wouldn’t want to feel like I was lying to myself or anyone else. I’ve already been in a relationship with a woman who was fully aware of my bisexuality and acted as if she accepted it, but I felt like she was always trying to change me. Besides, with a man it would be a lot easier to get a ‘sugar daddy’. With a woman, I’d obviously have to be the one ‘bringing home the bacon’ and providing, but a man could take care of me, or we could take care of each other.” Why wouldn’t the woman be able to be the one who “brings home the bacon”? That’s mainly because very little has changed since James Brown recorded “It’s a Man’s World” in 1970s. In this economy, men still get paid more than women for doing the same job! “Women with bachelor’s degrees still earn less than men with high school diplomas” (Ford). Even other studies have been done by the University of Chicago sociologist, Kristen Schlitz, and NYU economist, Matthew Wiswell on the lives of the transgendered that noticed financial fluctuation once they’d completed their transition. “Men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less… and women who became men earned 1.5% more” (Fitzgerald). Probably not a change they were expecting.
‘Till Death or Divorce … Which Ever Comes First:
“According to research at the London School of Economics … women are more determined than ever to bag a partner who will improve their financial prospects” (Woods). Whether you decide to take the Anna Nicole Smith route and snake 400 million dollars in a countersuit after marrying an 85 year old billionaire one year after he officially becomes your late husband or pull a huge PR scandal and make money from a widely publicized wedding, followed by a divorce a little over two months later (poor Kris Humphries by the way) , marriage no longer means forever.
This day and age “women continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers”, (Woods). It seems that marrying up is outdated and marrying for love is the new way to go. Being a woman is hard enough; I can say this from experience. With the money we do make, we’re expected to dress well and have commendable shoes, along with constant maintenance of our hair, nails, and makeup. Sometimes a girl needs someone to “pick up the tab for her extravagances and make life easier for her” (Norment,)”.
Point 2: Status and Opportunity
Land of Opportunity:
“The most common way for immigrants to settle legally in the United States is to marry a U.S. citizen” (Burke). A young woman from Romania married an American man who was close in age and was hoping to obtain a green card – “the coveted documentation granting her the right to live and work in the U.S.” Whether or not her case was authentically and purely because of love or not, this situation happens more and more in the United States every year in order for foreigners to gain entry. “The implicated U.S. citizens who went along with the scheme earn several thousand dollars each” (Burke). So many foreign men and women get married or agree to marry to obtain a financial leg up in the economy for themselves and their families in different countries. But who really minds fake love for a couple of years when money is involved?
There are so many reasons people get married now-a-days. Whether it be to gain entry into a new country for a better opportunity or to gain financial support for a woman who is tired of working or plans to be a housewife, women today are marrying up with the intensions of living a better life with fewer worries and woes. The economy doesn’t favor independence for women as much as we would like it to. So many women trade in their “one true love” for real life stability. In any case, this is just another form of survival of the fittest.
Monroe Nicole Edokpa
March 4, 2012
What I Married