The two threads have different moods. At Feministe there’s a lot of young unmarried women telling why they see little need to join the marriage tradition, and if they do they won’t go along with the patriarchal symbology of the wedding. Part of possibly my favourite comment at Feministe so far, from Nita:
it has always seemed weird to me to talk of wanting to get married or not wanting to get married as a theoretical construct separate from the “getting married TO X””“the desire to get married seems so contingent on the person or people you have relationships with, that it just doesn’t even make sense to talk of my general desire for (or lack of desire for) marriage. I may want to get married if I find a particular person who is so amazingly awesom that I simply can’t imagine NOT being with them for the rest of my life, but may emphatically NOT want to get married if I had to choose between George Bush, Rick Santorum, and James Dobson.
Then at IBTP there’s women who are/have been married telling other women “don’t do it” (even when these women are married to men they love and respect, they still feel that they would have been happier unmarried but still pair-bonded, especially those who would never have got married if there was another way in the US to get partner benefits on health insurance). Many sad and eyeopening comments there, but my favourite for sheer logic and clear presentation would be from Catherine Martell, who wrote in part:
So much of the problem with marriage stems from the remarkably recent myth of marriage as an act of ultimate true love. You don’t have to look far to work out that the fairytale was created in the 1950s – probably as a response to all those wartime women who had gotten themselves “men’s jobs” and no longer really felt the need for a man to accessorise them. Prior to that, marriage was what it has always been: a useful way of determining inheritance of capital and shoring up social alliances for the upper classes, and a way of enforcing morality, compliance and cohesion on the lower classes. Love was still widely experienced, but not necessarily with one’s spouse.
I ended up marrying my husband because I couldn’t imagine not being in a pair-bond with him, but the ceremony was his idea: I would have been content with cohabitation, but the formal recognition was important to him, and I didn’t hate the idea so much that it was a deal-breaker on the pair-bonding. However, I refused the offer of a diamond engagement ring, we both wear wedding rings, I kept my birth surname, the kids have both our surnames and I refused to become the social secretary responsible for keeping up with his friends as well as mine (this doesn’t mean that I refuse to spend time with his friends, but it shouldn’t have to be my job to maintain friendships he looked after on his own for years, so if he wants to see them it’s his job to organise the gatherings).