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My research project would take a deeper look at what weddings symbolize in our society today; how the meaning of marriage has changed over time, yet still holds on to some older beliefs. I think it's important to recognize that marriages and weddings are two separate concepts.
While many Americans are choosing to hold off on marriage until their lives and/or careers are stable, numerous individuals are still marrying young. I believe this is partly because there is a ton of pressure on young people, especially women, to settle down and have kids pretty early on.
I recently saw an episode of Tyra where a woman in her thirties broke down crying due to her mother and sister insisting that she find a man, and soon, because they want babies from her and because she needs a man to take care of her; as all women do. This woman was a successful, career-driven individual who, despite trying to convince her family to be proud of her for being so independent, was not good enough because she wasn't living up to their expectations. Her family was afraid that she would lose her chance at marriage if she wasn't actively seeking a man.
I see this in my own life, as well. I have been with my boyfriend for five years, and his family will not leave us alone about getting married. There are two reasons for this: First, similar to the scenario on Tyra, marriage to my boyfriend's mother means she will get her grandchildren. Second, marriage to my boyfriend's other (female) relatives is code for wedding; bachelorette parties, dresses, cakes, decorations, etc. I rarely hear any of them actually say that my boyfriend and I make a good couple, but rather that we "look good" together, and that we would make "cute" babies. My friend's aunt wants us to get married so that she can be the photographer. It all seems so artificial. The focus becomes more on the wedding than the marriage itself. What would happen if weddings and all the hype around them did not exist? Would less people decide to marry? I don't hear of many people choosing to marry in court, but the people who do are probably the ones who are truly in love and whose marriage will last a lifetime.
In my research, I would extensively interview couples and families (on an individual basis) to better understand each person's perspective on both marriage and weddings. I would thoroughly examine how race, class, religion, and sex play into people's views on marriage/weddings. I would also take into account other factors that people feel have influenced their views on weddings/marriage, which may direct my focus. This would definitely be very time-consuming and tedious, but it would be helpful in understanding the hype around weddings and what that means for marriages. After all, we all know that over half of all marriages end in divorce. Could marrying for the wrong reasons have something to do with this?
The concept of a househusband is emerging in popular couture. In response to the popular "Real Housewives" series, for example, there is a show called "Househusbands of Hollywood". This reality show is giving us one of the first looks into what it is like when men stay home with the kids and have responsibilities that were once expected of women. So, I think it would be interested to expand this interest into the weddings themselves, and examine how the gender roles change before and after the act of marriage.
The intersectional analysis would be in the analysis of the possible class differences between the men and women. It is likely that the women would be a higher class than the men going into the marriage if the couple is in a position in which the woman keeps her career when starting a family. For this study, I would want to do research of white, working and middle class heterosexual marriages. I would ask them questions about their weddings and see how those might have differed in experience and planning than weddings planned by couples who ended up with traditional marriage roles, such as those in the Syfers article.
The assignment for this week's blog mentions 'bridezillas', and it occurred to me that you never hear about groomzillas. Wedding planning has become all about the bride, all about making sure that her day (not their day) is everything she has always dreamed of. But I realize that when I think of bride-centered weddings, I am thinking of white, upper middle class, heterosexual weddings. So an intersectional analysis of wedding planning might be an interesting project. How many hours does each partner spend planning, how much do they do together, and how much do the families and friends of the bride and groom contribute?
It would be a statistically based study comparing percentage of time spent by each partner in different race and class categories. The obvious question is whether time is more equally distributed in homosexual couples where the gender difference is not a factor. Then the number of bride magazines could be compared to the number marketed for grooms. How many professional wedding planners are women, how many are men?
This project could investigate the socialized desire for the perfect wedding day as marketed to girls rather than boys by tallying the number of wedding related toys for girls versus boys. Certainly, the bridezilla is a recent phenomenon, and it would be interesting to know more about it.
In doing a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspect of weddings, I would foreground the attire worn by the bride, groom, and wedding party. From an intersectional perspective, this can look at class, gender, and sexuality, among other parts of a couples' identity. The most important kinds of resources would be newspaper articles documenting weddings, but looking into stories and pictures of weddings of friends and family can also provide useful information. I think that some of the most interesting things to focus on relate to sexuality and gender performance. In a same-sex marriage, will both men want to wear tuxedos and will both women want to wear dresses? What are the varying reasons for pick a dress over a tuxedo or vice versa? If a man identifies as a man, but prefers wearing women's clothes, will he wear a dress down the aisle? Will his soon-to-be wife accept that he wants to wear a dress as well, or will it come off as a joke? Does the price of the attire matter? These are all questions that I would think about in doing a research paper on this topic. It is interesting to consider how much someone's identity can, and will, affect what is worn on his or her wedding day.
When discussing the topic of weddings through intersectional analysis research, I would like to focus on arranged marriages, outside of the US. Many cultures today arrange marriages for their children at a very young age. Of course, this mostly benefits the man of the household. Many times girls are pre-teens or teens when they are chosen a mate, and the males are much older. Already the male has domination over the female. And because America is not the only country with a patriarchal hierarchy in place, women at a young age already know their "place" in a man's world. I think I would choose India for my place of research, since arranged marriages are prevalent there today. Sometimes they are arranged in favor of their daughter, based on "match compatibility," other times it's for the convenience of the family- mostly the father. In conducting this research I would first examine the families' motivations behind this arranged marriage situation. Which family, the male or females, does it benefit more? Is it for money, social class, or greater male domination over females?
Next I would interview the male, female, and their parents separately. Since it is very common in cultures to arrange marriages, what is the girl's perspective on this? Was she expecting it? Is she upset? What about finding "true love" rather than have someone do it for you? Would you want your children to have an arranged marriage? For the male's perspective, I would ask him this: why do you want an arranged marriage?
Research on different culture's perspectives on marriages is a very important aspect when looking at the intersectional analysis of marriages. Class identities would be the most obvious kind of "identity" in this project because many times the marriages are arranged because of a benefit to one's class, trying to marry into a better class, etc.
If I were to do a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspects of weddings, I would focus on getting information about how culture and class plays a role in the White and Hmong American marriages. If they were to be low-income or high-income families, would there be a difference in how they interact with the society and how their children would deal with it. How do they construct themselves socially or culturally with each other at work, school, around their neighborhoods and places they would spend most of their time at.
I would look further into details with these families on their race but focus on two, White and Hmong Americans. It would be interesting to find out about the marriage process of the different culture and how their culture can change their class level such as maybe being white would have higher-income and being Hmong would have lower income, etc. It may cause some families to struggle in society and can't live up to the expectations of the society and how the economy is changing while others are living their dreams. I would also have to look at the locations because depending on the locations such as the cities, suburban areas, or different states, there will be different results for this research.
It would be interesting to find the outcome of this research that is looking at the ways in which marriage can change. Marriage is different for the two cultures and they have different aspects of society and how they should portray themselves to others who are different then they are. I would conduct surveys to have couples complete it and interview different families of cultures and their class. There would be a lot of information that is needed from these families and hopefully get as much to complete the research.
This topic comes up in each of the readings for this week. In "Why I Want a Wife", the motivation to have a wife stems from the desire to have someone else take care the household and daily tasks, so the man can focus on his own needs. In "Making Right A Girl's Ruin" the motivation to marry is based on the moral 'necessity' of the late 19th and early 20th century valuation of a female's virginity and purity. Finally, in "Why Marriage?" the issue of motivation is placed front and center. Marriage is drawn into history from an economic trade to a more egalitarian institution based on the mutual companionship and goals of the partners involved. It is recognized in some cases by family and friends alone, in heterosexual common law marriage by their allocated civil rights and in the case of those heterosexual and homosexual couples married - by the law as well.
The motivation to marry seems to come from many different places, and while Chauncey puts forth the assertion that marriage is becoming more gender-neutral, a "nexus for the allocation of state and private benefits"(71), and less religiously-imposed, my guess would be that a lot of these slowly dwindling factors in marriage still play a part in the motivation to marry, and may be influenced by an individual's different life experiences, whether based on sexual orientation, gender, race or class.
I'm more focus on doing a marriage research relating to how religion and culture plays a role in the couple life when one person believes and the way they live their life is different from their partner if they did get married to a person with opposite beliefs and customs, and does it cause conflict. Questions that I would want to know is does the religion and culture affect the couple's lifestyle? For example, if the wife is a Christian believer and the husband is Atheisms, does the husband have a hard time adjusting to what his wife believe? And does that problem cause both couple to argue about the belief, which could lead to divorces? Using the same example, when the wife's side of the family is having a church event which always happened every year, and she wants her children to attend the event because she grew up getting involved in the church, but the husband won't let them. Does that also affect the couples to argue about the wife's culture? It may be easy for some couples to adjust to different religion and cultures, but sometimes I do see couples who argue about it and refuses to change the way their partner has been accustomed to what they grew up base on their religion and culture.
When it comes to wedding, I would want to research on which culture would be appropriate to celebrate because if one family wants to have a Muslim wedding, but the other family wants to do a Jewish wedding, does that affect conflict? However, if one of the other families is willing to adjust to having a wedding in Muslim and Jewish, would that cause less conflict?
To go about the research, I would conduct an interview of a few couple who have different religion and cultures, and ask those questions of whether or not their religion and culture differences causes conflict when they were married and when they plan their wedding. Also, asking their own family of how they felt about their son/daughter getting married to a person with different beliefs and accustom.
Personally, when I think of weddings, I think of the bride's dress. How is it going to look like, to what is she going to incorporate into her wedding to make it more personal. A question of cultural incorporation arises, and location of the wedding does as well.
Weddings would be an interesting study from an intersectional perspective in many ways. Already with the questions that come to my mind, I am already focusing on race (cultural incorporations), to class (location and dress). The cultural incorporations that I refer to is based on whether or not she would be wearing any "traditional" ethnic clothing at her wedding, to whether or not she is going to make it a thematic wedding as well. One example of this is a friend of mine who is Indian. She wore the typical white dress, and for the reception, she put on a beautiful traditional red sari. For entertainment, there was a location during the reception where people could get henna tattoos. Focusing on class now, depending on the couples income or families, location weddings that fly the whole party out to Jamaica is out of the question, and extravagant reception halls are as well if you are of lower middle class. So a small wedding can take place in the local community center with decorations the bride has come up with on her own, versus having a wedding planner and fine china at a 5 star hotel.
Some research that can be done when considering these two possibilities, is focusing on class income and the couples background. George Chauncey writes about the "banning of interracial marriages" (63) during the Civil War, and he talks about how marriage has come far from then. One way to conduct this research is by looking at interracial marriages today and looking at how it affects the family. Whether they are approved or not, to how the bride/groom constructs their wedding. In a sense, a lot of fieldwork would have to be done to show evidence of cultural/class clashes to research on traditional roles of the culture.
The identity that would be foreground in this research is a generation gap between the parents and their 1st generation children. Chauncey's says that "marriage is a fundamental right" (60) but he also says that "some parents interfered with their children's decisions" (60). Take for example arranged marriages and many forced marriages in some cultures that still happen today. Although marriage today is suppose to be a civil right, some may forget about those other cultures that still are very traditional, and so Chauncey is right, marriage does have "enormous variation among cultures" (59).
When brainstorming research project ideas which would look intersectionally at some aspect of weddings, I would enjoy conducting a research project involving same sex marriages. More specifically, I would look at the family and marital roles along with the division of labor assigned to each individual in the marriage. This topic was mentioned in the How Marriage Changed article written by Chauncey where he explained that "the sharp differences in the marital roles assigned husbands and wives declined, so that it became easier to imagine a marriage between two people of the same gender." I think it would be interesting to research how these roles of labor are distributed within the relationship and how the couple chooses who does what. Are responsibilities shared equally? Is one person more inclined to perform the "husband" or "wife" roles over the other, and if so why? I believe the best way to conduct this research would be through a great deal of interviews. However, it would also be important to search for written sources regarding this topic as well. It would be important to foreground gender differences in the research being that a female same sex marriage may go about this differently than a male same sex marriage. I would imagine that there is no one simple answer to this question. Same sex couples are not all alike and many may deal with this issue differently.
Marriage is constantly changing. As Chauncey stated, "Once concerned primarily with the control of labor and the transmission of property, now it is supposed to nurture happiness and mutual commitment" (59). If I were to conduct a research project that looks intersectionally at marriage I would like to look at people from different classes. I feel it is common for people to marry someone of their same class or similar backgrounds for financial reasons. There is often pressure from parents to marry with in one's social class. This is a problem my family is experiencing now, so conducting this study I believe would be beneficial. In my study I would take an upper class male, which Ostrander might describe him as something he was born into. The male has both a college degree and a background of money. The female in my study comes from very little money. Both of her and her parents are of the working class. I would like to conduct a study to see if and how long this marriage will last, and if marrying into a different social class will have an effect on the relationship. As Chauncey stated on page 69 "only husbands were required to support their wives" and because of this it was the female's responsibility to cover wedding expenses. Because our society is obsessed with weddings and everyone wanting it to be their special day is class conflict is only going to affect the bride and groom but their families. Not only witnessing my research first hand I would also survey the couple before and after the wedding asking them questions if coming from different classes added additional stress because of financial obligations. This study will be conducted over a long period of time following this couple to see if there identity has changed and which social class this couple has now fallen into. I would survey again at their 5 and 10 year anniversary to see if the marriage has lasted and how they dealt with their class differences to keep their identity. Not only surveying and observing the couple I would take into consideration both the bride and grooms families and friends. I would want to see if they have noticed a change in their son or daughters personality before and after the wedding and what the families thought of the marriage both positive and negative. It would also be interesting to look at divorce rates and how many of these were because of marrying someone of a different class where you feet like you can no longer keep your identity. This survey would be conducted at various locations throughout the United States.
I am interested in taking a closer look at the intersectionality of marriage with race and religion. My main focus would be on Christian white men with African American muslin women. I would focus on this intersectionally because there is a huge difference in the race and cultural aspect, and an even larger gap in the religious aspect. My first focus would be on the races and how the interact, and intertwine with one another. The sources for this information would come from statistics and some interviews. Then I would take a closer look at the individual couple and how their specific interaction takes place in relation to their races, this data would come from specifically from couples. Another angle too approach this would be to gather information from the families of the couple and have them reflected on the interaction between the two based on their separate races.
As far as the religion aspect I would have to take a closer in depth look at individual religions apart. I would determine why they live by this religion, what values or morals they have, and why its so important to the individuals separately. This sort of information would be found from studies on the two religions and statistics as well. Once this information is established then I would dig deeper and start to determine the differences and reasons for the different. Most importantly I would examine the opinions of the individuals involved along with their families opinion about the marriage and the obstacles that may arise because of this sort of marriage.
Focusing on this sort of intersectionally is important because most individuals identify a marriage as a union that identifies two individuals as one. In order for this to take place their separate identities must join. So I personally think taking a closer look at what components makeup their individual identities and how they intertwine is key in determining how they intertwine as one in a marriage.
Some American men "buy" their brides from Asian countries. I observed that many old American men marry young Asian young women in America. From intersectional perspective, I would like to look deep into their motivations and development of their marriages according to their race, class and religion. The men that buy bride are always working class men with low income, and they cannot find a partner because of their social economic class. The only possible way to get marry is to "buy" foreign women from a poor country. This is similar to Robertson's article about the forced marriage due to economic and moral reason. This is not only about interracial marriage, it also involves cultural and class' value of marriage. It is interesting to find out what type of wedding they would have and how their marriage will be like. Today, most of the people get marry because they find their loved one. This kind of marriage contradicts the popular reason of getting married today. However, this kind of marriage is similar to the old "blind marriage" or the "arranged marriage" that the couples do not have any "love" relationship before marriage.
It would be very informative and interesting in investigating this unique type of marriage. I think observing weddings that combines with two races, cultures, class and religion would give us refreshing idea of wedding. To start this research project, I would first gather data about the history of this kind of "buy bride" marriage. We need to look at which race and class of American men are more likely to have this performance. Also, we can look at which class and race of women they choose to marry. After that, we can find some couple with this condition and ask them their background information. Interview and observation about their value of marriage is important. We can look at how the couple with different cultures would organize their wedding and how they cope with the culture and language gap. Because the couples are not come from the same background, it would be different from the vast wedding ceremony. I would expect to find that, the brides come from poor places and are more likely to be subservient to their groom. Instead of both bride and groom participate equally in organizing the weddings, their weddings will depend heavily on the groom's side.
If I was to begin a research project on weddings and intersectionality, I would probably focus on marital rituals and their social importance. The observing of ritual for marriage is vast and differs greatly between race, religion and class. Additionally, there are different rituals for different genders. Therefore researching multiple inter-racial, engagements/marriages between two people of different social classes would be the most beneficial to my project and give me the widest range of data to draw from.
I would start by interviewing several different couples, both married and engaged to be married. I would interview both hetero and homo sexual couples, although because gay marriage isn't legal in Minnesota it would be much harder to interview gay married couples, so I might have to resort to people who had commitment ceremonies. Therefore I would additionally look at how marriage between hetero couples and commitment ceremonies between homo couples differ.
I would aim to look at 4 couples, one hetero and married, one hetero and engaged, one homo and committed and one homo and engaged. I would look at how race, religion and class affects their rituals, whether there is problems between the families because of them and how that couples work around this. I would study the differences and similarities between the couples and the impact the couple's have on their families.
I say I would like to research marriage rituals, partly because I felt that the readings covered very little in regards to this, and I felt it was somewhat of an oversight. It was almost as if everyone was one race and religion and social rituals played no part. Robertson covered some very briefly, but I would have liked him to expound more. Cultural rituals are an important part of what comprises marriage because cultural and social rituals are an part of what makes up our daily lives. I would like to see the interest in social rituals intended to separate groups of people, switch to an interest in how these rituals harmonize with each other. I mean, what's more ideally harmonious than marriage?
A point of interest for me is children that grow up in families where their parents are not married, and how that affects their desire to be married when they are older. If I were to do a study I would look at whether growing up with parents who are married, or separated (not living in the same home) has an effect on whether their children marry. Other aspects I would take into consideration are ethnicity and earnings to see whether there is a higher rate of single parents amongst certain groups. My research would determine first and foremost whether having parents that are not married affects the child's desire to be married, and secondly whether there is a higher rate of unmarried parents amongst different races and economic classes and how that affects whether you marry or not.
I would gather data by distributing surveys amongst a variety of different geographical locations so I can be sure to include a diverse population. I would include questions that would help determine their economic status and their life growing up, for example if their parents were ever married and what occupations their parents held. I would also conduct one on one interview with people whose parents are and are not married, asking them specific questions pertaining to their parent's relationship and if that affected their desire to marry. I think it would be interesting to see if the sort of family you grow up in has an impact on the family you want to have when you are older.
In the Robertson article we read this week, it talked a lot about how family has a strong impact on a woman, and whom she marries. Robertson talks about being forced into certain marriages due to issues like economic stability and maintaining a certain image, and although parents no longer have the power to force marriage upon their children, it would be interesting to see if there is any sub conscious impact on children who don't have parents that are married.
For my research project on marriages, I would focus on if certain interracial marriages are more "taboo" than others. For example, is a White and Black couple's marriage more societal condemned than Native American and a White's marriage? Also I would include the societal norms being changed over the last 20 years on this "taboo" on interracial marriages. The initial thought of interracial marriages, since the founding of this country, is that the marriages should be banned and are against societal norms. But within the last 20 to 30 years the ides of interracial marriages has changed. I would also hope to add in the dominance in Black/White and Native American and White marriages. Are there more Native American and White marriages or more Black/White marriages? Which ones have increased more in the last 20 years? Including the class of each marriage would make it intersectionally analyzed.
Primary research would have to come from legal documents containing marriage licenses, and other public documents about the marriages. If all possible it would be interesting to get an interview with some interracial couples in the study in order to get a firsthand account.
I think a case study of weddings from different classes would provide an interesting intersectional analysis. For an intersectional analysis, several weddings from many classes would have to be performed, and to identify if there are strictly class differences or if and how race/ethnicity plays a role in weddings, each class examined would have to include couples from several racial categories. In a case study like this, it would also be important to interview participants on the circumstances leading to the wedding (how they met, how long they dated, what factors lead to their decision to get married) as well as the types of weddings (religious and/or "traditional" weddings, size of the wedding, etc). Class identities would be the most obvious in a study like this, and making sure to include people of varying races would highlight any similarities and differences in racial identity. To understand what role gender plays, the experience and interpretation of the wedding could be explored through conducting separate interviews of the brides and grooms. Heterosexual identities must also be explored in case study of weddings because today most states only recognize marriages of heterosexuals. Therefore, the majority of people being studied are likely to be heterosexual couples. Examining the heterosexual identities may also provide some interesting insights into gender identities within marriage.
I think that an interesting marriage
research project could be the comparison between the marriages between first generation
Indian immigrants (to the
As far as research is concerned, both primary and secondary research is important. Primary research could be conducted via looking at immigration records, interviewing both first and second generation members, reading first-hand accounts via journals, personal essays, etc. Secondary research would include reading material regarding Indian marriage customs, caste structure, Indian culture, religion, etc.
In light of the readings for today, certain aspects of marriage should be considered: morality, economy, and duty. Such aspects need to be discussed particularly since this research study is a comparison between two specific generations. Specifically, the following questions should be addressed. How has Americanization changed the moral reasons for marriage...or has it? What are the differences between the moral cores of Indian and American marriage? Do younger generations follow the economic principles of marrying within one's social class/caste? What happens if you do...what happens if you don't? What are the roles and duties of a husband or wife according to Indian custom? How do they differ from American customs? Do second generations apply both cultures' customs to their marriage?
I think that it would be interesting to do a research project based off of the marriages of couples whose families practice two separate religions and how that comes in to play in determining the type of wedding ceremony that the couple has. Marriage ceremonies differ so much based off of culture and religion, and it would be interesting to see not only which religious practices would be involved for the ceremony (ex. Traditional catholic versus traditional Hindu marriage), but also the process by which the couple chose one religion over the other in regards to their ceremony. In terms of studying weddings from a bride and groom who practice two separate religions intersectionally, gender would come in to play in terms of whether it was most often the bride or groom's religious affiliation that the wedding ceremony was based off of. Class would also come into play because it is often the case that the family who is higher class plays for a larger portion of the wedding since they can afford it, which also might mean that the family with the most money (whether it be the bride's or the groom's) would be the decider of the type of ceremony the couple has since they are the ones paying for it. Race would also have an impact if the couple is interracial as to whether the majority or "dominating" races' ceremony was based off of that family's traditional religious practices.
The research involved would first require you to find couples who are either planning their wedding or are already married who both practice different religions. I would want to conduct interviews with the couples, but I would want to interview them away from their partner as to not let that influence their responses since a lot of the information and opinions would be on the other's family. I would ask them not only about the type of ceremony they had, but why they chose to follow that specific religious practice rather then their partner's. I would also want to conduct interviews of the couple's families, at least their immediate family members that helped plan, pay for, or had any part in deciding the type of ceremony the family had. I would also want background information on both the couple and their families including income, level of religious affiliation, etc. After collecting all of this data, I would go through and analyze the patterns and see whether class or gender would play the . Although I have not conducted and don't plan to conduct a study like this, my hypothesis would be that class would have a largest impact on which religion was chosen for the couple's ceremony. I think that there is potential for race and gender to play a role as well, I think that money speaks pretty loud in regards to a ceremony because weddings aren't cheap.
A follow-up to this study could also focus on whether, if the couple decides to have children, what religion they teach and actively practice with their child (and whether the couple's families have any say in that as well)
This week's readings were all about marriage. How the idea has changed over time and how gender affects marriage. Robertson's article focused on how women have grown throughout the history of marriage, when their parents picked their spouses to today when marriage is consensual. The Chauncey article focuses on gay marriage and compares it to other groups who have had oppressed rights when it comes to marriages. Gay marriage is so current that it would be easier to write a paper that includes an intersectional analysis. Specifically, how race and class affect marriages for gay couples. For sources I would look at academic databases, because new articles get written about this topic every day. For example, I could look at an interview with Elton John about his wedding to David Furnish, and compare it to news articles about courthouse weddings where many same-sex marriages take place. This would be a good way to look at how class and wealth define weddings. I would also try to find two couples to interview about how their class status affects their marriage. The two couples would be of different races and economic statuses, but with the same religious perspective. This would show how couples have different marriages based on economic issues. Another good way to look at it would be to have couples of different races but the same economic statuses.
What I would do is attend both of these weddings and observe family interaction, as well as bride and groom interaction. Stephen Robertson wrote the article Making Right a Girl's Ruin where he talks about when a girl has sex before marriage (regardless of whether it was consensual) they couple would have to get married in order for the girl and her family to be accepted into society again. What I would expect to find in the forced marriage would be two families who were not happy for the occasion. Depending on race and class, they may not get a long. If the man who "ruined" the woman was of a different race than the woman and her family, it may cause even more tension during the wedding process. I think I would also find that the two families would not intermingle and get to know one another because the wedding has one purpose, and that is to "right the girls ruin" according to Stephen Robertson.
I would then contrast these findings with a marriage that is supported by both families, as well as the bride and groom. I believe I would find that the two families are excited to get to know each other and mingle a lot. I would look at this wedding in a very intersectional view, meaning that the families would act differently if the couple were not of the same race or class. Some people view certain races and inferior, and this would greatly impact how the families viewed the wedding. This varies when you move from north to south United States. In the south, they may be less accepting of interracial marriage than the north, and thus having a different opinion on the wedding whether it was consensual or not.
Many things change the viewpoint of the family when a wedding is performed. This can range from whether it was forced or voluntary, and depending on what race and class they are. All of these aspects can determine the relationships of the two individuals, as well as their families.
For a project I would first look at the typical wedding in my hometown. This would include a white heterosexual couple that gets married in a church with traditional wedding vows. I would look at their religious backgrounds, nationalities, and income. Typically they would either be Catholic or Lutheran and of the middle class. They would be of some sort of Scandinavian descent with some German mixed in there. Then I would observe another wedding in my hometown, however this time either the groom or bride would be of a different race and religion and social class. This is uncommon where I am from, yet it obviously does happen just infrequently. I think it would be interesting to first go to the typical wedding and observe the people. I know the people would be very similar to the guests on "My Big Redneck Wedding." Everyone would be socializing with one another, dancing, meeting new people and so forth. I then would go to the other wedding and observe the people again. I would expect to find, because I have personally witnessed it, a divide between the groom's side and the bride's side. For example if the bride was Indian with a Hinduism religious background and the groom was a white Lutheran male there would be a divide between the two wedding parties. It would be interesting to note everything from mood change of the wedding to what type of flowers they had.
I think observing a wedding that intersects different races, religions, and social classes, especially in a place is not use to it would be very eye opening. It would show how every single detail of the wedding is changed because the community is not used to viewing marriage that are not typical.
It would be interesting to look at homosexual identities, as well as transgender identities, and how ethnic/religious identities view gay marriage. Are some religions more against gay marriage then others? Also, how do varying cultures view gay marriage? For example, in the black community, is gay marriage viewed differently than in most white communities? Or how is gay marriage viewed in Latin, Asian, or European cultures compared to North American? There are so many different aspects to look at and many varying cultural views when the topic of gay marriage is discussed.
In my opinion, the article that stood out this week was Judy Syfers, "Marriage in the 1970s." This article was intriguing because it referred to women as typical "housewife" material. The role of women in the home should be doing the dishes, cooking, flipping the laundry, taking care of the kids, etc. In the 1970s, men and women played specific roles in the family and it was uncommon for women to have careers and be viewed as successful. As our society is changing, women are going to college and becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. The typical "housewife" is not as popular as it once was. In fact, in many families, the role has flipped (including mine). It is interesting to look at how these roles are changing and how it is transforming the role of women in society. In addition, how do these so called "roles" affect gay marriage? How are roles different, if they are, in same sex marriage? As you can see, there are hundreds of questions we could ask when discussing this topic. Marriage is a beautiful thing but unfortunately our society puts "norms" on what is acceptable and what is not. How can we change these views and not discriminate against same sex marriage?
When reviewing the articles on marriage and intersectionality, I think about the concept of "couple" and what it means to be a couple. From early teenage years through adulthood, the emphasis on being "a couple" surrounds us. Doodles on a bathroom stall, or articles in a Fashion magazine, or scenes in a movie or TV soap opera are constant reminders of the fascination of becoming a couple. But when this fascination leads to marriage, especially at a young, "teenage" age, one must question the reasoning for the marriage. For this reason, I would focus my research project on heterosexual teenage marriages. The research project would study the historical practice of "arranged" marriages where the marriage of the teenage daughter has been "arranged" between the fathers of the "lucky" couple. The research would also study the impact on the couple and their marriage when the marriage occurs to minimize embarrassment of the family name. Lastly the research project would study statistics of marriage and divorce rates of couples married as teenagers. Cultural and socio-economic aspects of the teenage marriage would be examined as part of the research as marriage at a young age carries with it many obstacles and challenges.
This research would involve a look back in history when arranged marriages of teenage children were more common. Were arranged marriages more common in a particular culture or ethnic group? How does social and economic class affect the number of arranged marriages? How prevalent are arranged marriages today of teenage children? How do one's religious views affect arranged marriages and the institution of marriage? Obstacles and challenges of the "married couple" would also be researched.
Likewise, research would be conducted on teenage marriages when they occur on account of a desire or requirement from the family head to minimize embarrassment of the family name. Reasons for such marriages and the challenges and obstacles faced by the teenagers will be researched. This research can be conducted through interviews and observations of teenage couples who marry to save the family name and keep the family from becoming disgraced. Social and economic classes will likely be a factor as will race and cultural classes. Lastly, statistics of teenage marriages to divorce rates will be studied. Utilizing available statistical information, an analysis will be made to determine a connection between race, ethnicity, social, and economic classes. Statistical information on interracial marriages will likely be limited or not available due to the fact that acceptance of interracial marriages is a more recent phenomenon.
By looking at the overall topic of intersectionality and marriage, I would look at the subject matter of blended families and marriage as a cultural critique. More specifically, I would compare and contrast the American culture to one that appears to have very different views than ours about the overall topic of blended families. Then, I would try to find specific information in order to help link and show how similar this concept is from one culture to the next. I would attempt this because I think that as a society, it is very easy to pick out the differences over the similarities of 'other' or more different cultures than your own. This would help people to come to a more concrete understanding that people are really not that different from us. More importantly, it would also help us better understand the freedoms we posses and the inequalities that emerge around the subject matter of marriage and in this case, multiple marriages experienced by one person.
The type of resources I would want to use would be marriage statistics and first-hand family interviews. I would look at records, if there are any, showing the number of divorces and marriages occurring per year in each country and the laws that go along with marriage as a whole (whether or not people are allowed to divorce; therefore, allowed to remarry, custody of children, if pre-nuptial agreements exist etc...). The interviews I would conduct would be with the people in which were re-married and all the people involved: family, friends, children, etc... I would ask these people their thoughts about getting married again versus their thoughts on their last marriage, and how the other people thought about their decision. This would show how the families of these two different cultures support or disagree with the concept of blended families.
The types of identities that I would uncover in this while doing my research would be: religion, race, gender, and the family structure. I would uncover the identities of family structures and the beliefs or religions that surround the idea of blended families of a different culture because it would allow me to answer questions like: Are certain religions 'allowed' to marry, then divorce, and re-marry over others? How much influence does the families beliefs have on the people re-marrying and are they allowed to? Are both marriages arranged by the family due to their religious backgrounds?
Also, being that race in our culture has been, historically, one of the things that have propelled the oppression of what we have seen as the 'other' I would look at the historical context of what have been the dominant race and then the two dominant races that have practiced this idea of blended families. This would allow me to uncover if and when there have been times in which certain races were not allowed to exercise such rights and if they are still unable to today.
Another identity that would be uncovered would be gender. I would see if men are more able to divorce and re-marry over women or if women have more power in this matter over men. Also, this would help me decipher which gender has more influence on the concept of marriage within that society as a whole.
The white male would be from a middle to upper class household. Both of his parents have at least a B.A. His parents were supportive of his choice of earning his B.A. they believed that the only way a person truly appreciates their accomplishments is by putting in 100% of the work involved in completing it. With no "handouts" from mom or dad, he not only had 100% of the full tuition costs to pay off, he had his degree and the pride that went along with it.
The female in this picture comes from the class known as the "working poor". This female is a single mother, with some college, but has not completed her degree. She has put her educational dreams on hold to do what she needs to support herself and child(ren) she supports on her own. She is the head of her household, she makes the financial decisions as needed, she is fulfilling the role of both parents to her child(ren)to the best of her ability. She feels proud of her ability to care for her child(ren) and herself despite her low income. Her own parents are in the same situation as her. Having jobs that sustain their needs but little to no extra income to borrow out to others. Most people in her family are married at the courthouse.
The details of a wedding could be daunting. Being that the female is frugal and does not see money being something that gets wasted may actually be happy with a smaller non-traditional wedding. Her parents would probably agree.
The males parents may have higher and more expensive expectations of what the wedding should be like. Especially the males mother(aka mother-in-law). They may feel that their identity of being well-off may be threatened if they allow their son to be married"cheaply". The males parents may have some resentment having to help pay for a more expensive wedding. Especially when their son has supported himself though college yet chose to marry someone outside of his class level. Causing a financial burden to them.
I can see where there will be areas where identity will come into play and cause conflicts between the couple. The male has been brought up to achieve a higher level of living. He has been raised to be the breadwinner and decision maker. He is the "king of the house". To be the one in control of his family.
The female, although she is treated with kindness, may not be completely accepted by his parents and other relatives.
In addition to the children she already had, they also have their own. Which is what being married is about. Procreation, having children, off-spring who will carry on the male's family name.
She becomes a homemaker since her income would be swallowed up by the high costs of childcare for the children. In doing so, she has lost her identity as one who handles the finances and supports her family. As much work as it really is to take care of the home and children as homemakers do, the recognition is pretty much invisible in the eyes of those who are the family breadwinners. Adding race to this picture I think would only complicate it more. With race comes another culture, a way of being and believing, just as those who come from different levels of class.
The Syfers article could sum up this scenario pretty well. While the Robertson article has numerous stories and statistics to back them, it is unfortunate that the men who "ruined" these young girls were given choices where the girls' were not. Who was actually a recipient of being protected and taken care of in these stories.
I think it would be interesting to look at the wedding of two people from very different economic classes from an intersectional perspective. I would preferably like to focus on two religious white people - with the woman coming from no money, and the man coming from money. I think this would be interesting because from my knowledge and experience, the bride's family is supposed to help out more economically than the grooms. I would want to interview couples and their families about the wedding and stressors. I would also want to know background information to see what values they have and what their experiences with weddings have been before.
I would focus on the class aspect of identity, but would include aspects of religion, heterosexuality and racial identity as well. It would be very easy to expand this research and contrast different weddings (or partnership formations) with one another - examining differences and similarities. For example, it would be interesting to contrast experiences of parenthood and ideas of marriage across various races and ethnicities.
In Stephen Robertson's, "Making Right a Girl's Ruin: Working - Class legal Cultures and Forced Marriage in New York City, 1890-1950" I thought his article was well researched however long to make the point of his thesis, which I believe from his conclusion was to understand the evolution of girls' -- who he classified as being under the age of 18 (the age of consent) sexual modernity in New York from 1890-1950. The title " . . . Class legal Cultures . . ." really pertains to the working class rather then any other class, although he does touch on what might happen to a middle-class girl entering the system. I assume then that little data is known about the middle-class as they kept those kinds of secrets private. He goes into great detail about the legal systems in place (criminal and civil) that were charged with regulating and interpreting whether or not a girl and consequently her family were "ruined". There were state agency's as well that took some of the burden off of the family's and courts, like the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC). Ensuring that girls got married was a way to ensure stability of society and family. To maintain the Victorian ideal of a woman's virtue, never mind that she may in many respects be exploited by men and society at large. Regardless she should maintain her role to be a good mother and wife. I guess this leads to the question of marriage, which this blog is supposed to address. I liked the perspective taken by Judy Syfers, written in 1971. She questions the production and benefit of marriage to women. She outlines all of the things she would love to be able to do if she were free. Free to pursue school, vacations, careers and even extra marital affairs without obligation or guilt to her wife. And in George Chauncey's "Why Marriage? The history shaping today's debate over gay quality" Explores the history of church doctrine over secularism as it pertains to marriage. The history is much more interesting in this article, possibly because it is more applicable to current events. I appreciate the intersectionality of his thesis too. There are many reasons to get married as outlined in the previous two articles, however here when you weigh in gay marriage it becomes a great touchstone in order to change the discourse surrounding marriage, as we know it. It challenges all of the preconceived notions about how, who and why people get married. The right to chose who you marry is a civil right that should be endowed with all the private and public benefits that we now recognize There is a certain amount of pomp and circumstance when it comes to weddings in general. I think there is pageantry about marriage that is artificial in a way. When I say artificial I mean that the ceremony itself has been co-opted by a huge commercial industry that has little to do with the commitment and ideal of marriage itself.
From an intersectional perspective, I would like to look at marriages between two different classes and races of people. Specifically between a minority working class man and a white upper class woman. I would find this interesting because it seems after reading the Ostrander article, the women from the upper class defined it as something that you must be born into. I would find it interesting to see if an upper class family would support the marriage of their daughter to a man with a working class status who is also a minority. In the Ostrander article, it explains that the upper class was homogenous and only made up of "people like themselves." I would want to examine what the white upper class family thought of their daughter marrying a man who was a minority and part of the working class. Since the upper class is generally looked at as homogenous, would it be accepted? I would find it interesting to examine how this new married couple would be looked at, and which identity they would associate themselves with. In order to conduct this research, I would first interview people with a white upper class identity and ask them questions such as "How do you see this new married couple? Do you think that because one came from a white upper class family and one from minority working class family, that they will be able to keep the upper class identity?" I would also ask the two sides of the family what they thought the new couple's future would look like and what type of jobs the married couple would pursue. Looking at the jobs would be an important aspect for each identity because the upper class identity is made up of white collar work, and the working class is made up of manual labor. It seems that women from the upper class are dependent on their husbands' work. So it would be interesting to see if the husband kept manual labor as his primary job, what the upper class woman would do. If she was dependent upon him, would she still be viewed as an upper class woman because her family is? I would do a longitudinal research study to see what field of work the husband partook in at the beginning of the marriage and as it progressed. I would also look to see if the woman had to get a job. Along with this observation, I would interview both families and see which identity they thought the man and woman fit into both at the beginning of the marriage and as it advanced.
When looking at the topic of intersectionality and marriage, I would like to focus on the topic of inter-racial heterosexual marriages. To specify even further, I would like to look more about the combining of cultures through marriage as opposed to just a joining of two races. This would be interesting because when people from two different cultures marry not only do they have the obstacle of living together while having two different personalities but they also face the challenge of bringing together two cultural lifestyles that may contradict one another.
You would have to look at closely at the culture of both the bride and the groom. This would require obtaining sources that could give background information about culture and a narrow focus on the specifics of the institution of marriage within the two separate cultures. Research into the lives of the families would be needed to determine what cultural traditions were followed and if any prejudices exist. Interviews and observations between the couple about how they conduct their day-to-day lives would be necessary, especially if they do not live together. Religious differences could be a huge source of conflict between a couple as well as cultural expectations about gender roles. Male dominated cultures could prove to be a problem if the culture of the bride is progressive and open to gender equality. Gender identities come into play in a marriage when subjectivity to a dominant partner. Different views about this are often linked to racial and cultural traditions and beliefs. Class may have minimal impact on marriage but should also be looked at. I don't see class differences as having a sizeable impact on marriage because once married, one social class status is obtained. However, if culture and class are linked, the impact on marriage will be more significant.
This week, we begin our examination of families with two readings on the history of marriage in the U.S. and one on being a wife in the 1970s. Robertson focuses on the moral aspects of marriage, Chauncey on marriage as an economic relationship, and Syfers on marital roles.
We live in a society that is fascinated by marriage and almost obsessed with weddings. Reality shows feature "bridezillas" who fanatically plan every detail of their "special day"; paparazzi are paid big bucks for sneaked photos of celebrity weddings. Wedding fairs, magazines, and stores abound. Photographs and video of the first same-sex couples marrying in various states are gushed over by sympathic news anchors.
In this week's blog post, I'd like you to imagine a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspect of weddings. What about weddings might be interesting to study from an intersectional persepctive, and why? What kinds of sources would you use and/or what research might you conduct? What sorts of identities would you foreground in your research? Keep in mind the facets of marriage that are discussed in this week's readings as you formulate this mock research project, but be creative, and do not feel compelled to address something as broad as these readings do.
As you start developing your midterm paper topics, I hope that this assignment will help you to think about the process of developing a paper topic, picking a focus, selecting sources, and utilizing an intersectional framework.