I’m just going to dive right into this one. No meandering run-up to this. On Sunday, The Washington Post published an article by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, titled Say Yes. What Are You Waiting For. He seems to think, and believes that he has data to back this up, that American women would be much better off if we married younger. Young. At 20 or 21. To men who are a few years older than us. And that the main reason we’re currently putting off marriage until later is because our parents are leading us to believe that we should (I’m not going to spell out his nonsense arguements, read them yourself).
I found so much about his argument repellent. And silly. I immediately started to think of the man I thought I loved when I was 21. Even though I cared about him deeply, I knew – KNEW, that there was no way we were meant to be together. There was just NO way. And sure enough we split up before I graduated from college (he was a couple of years older, go figure). He tracked me down a few years later and we got together for a weekend, for old times sake. Even though only a few years had passed we had nothing in common anymore. Nothing to talk about. Well, nothing but sex. And yes, if we’d stayed together that might not have happened. Might not.
The article set off a wonderful discussion on Slate’s XXFactor. Many of the writer’s comments were similar to my thoughts on the topic. That Regnerus was a big fat idiot. Well, they were more articulate than that. But that was the gist of it.
There was one post that pointed out that perhaps there was something redeemable in Regnerus’s article. Emily Yoffe made the case that, “maybe finding early love and making it permanent might be a beneficial thing for many people. It certainly saves on the years of heartache, dead ends, and wondering if you’ll find someone while you can still have children.”
Well damn. Why’d she have to go and say that? Because yeah, I can think of a few (dozen) women I know whose lives might have been much happier, better, easier if they didn’t have that whole biological clock thing hanging over them. So here we are. A big fat idiot with a mostly repellent argument does bring up a salient point. Well, he didn’t bring it up, but the article did. Not all women want to have kids. And not all marriages are about kids. But if a woman does want to get married and have kids then perhaps she ought to get her butt in gear and get married before the age of 30.
And least that’s what I think. I think. But I also think that no one should get married before they’re ready or to anyone they don’t want to marry. I’d like to know what you think about this. This is clearly not a yes/no question. It’s complicated. And messy. And maybe even ridiculous. But I think it’s fascinating that it’s 2009 and we’re still tossing this one around in the Sunday papers, trying to make heads or tails of it.
Do you think women who know or think they’d like to get married and have kids should be focused on getting married before the age of 30?
- Yes. They’ll save themselves years of stress and potential issues with infertility by marrying and having kids early. (16 votes)
- No. 30 is too young a threshold. And it’s ridiculous to expect women to priortize family over career and personal goals. (16 votes)
- Actually, 30 might be too old a threshold. Women who know they want a family should be looking to get married by 25 or 28. (9 votes)
- I can’t possibly answer this one. I don’t think people make choices like this (who/when they will marry) based on these issues. (35 votes)
Tags: fertility, marriage, polls