Carol Platt Liebau: The "M Word"

Friday, December 01, 2006

The "M Word"

This Wall Street Journal piece discusses the absence of the concept of "marriage" when young girls are told to delay childbearing. Apparently, authority figures have no problem instructing young women to finish their education before having babies, but no one's bothering to tell them to get married.

That's a disaster -- not just for the women themselves, who are most often consigned to a life of hard work and unremitting poverty, but for the children themselves, who are raised in unstable homes without the benefit of fathers.

Interestingly, the piece -- which cites the Manhattan Institute's Kay Hymowitz -- points out:

Ms. Hymowitz doesn't advocate trying to revive stigma. There's a better, more positive way. "We haven't appealed to people's rational self-interest," she says. "They don't know that they're . . . limiting the prosperity of their children's future."

I hope Ms. Hymowitz (whose work is outstanding) is right. But it strikes me that there may need to be a stick, as well as a carrot, in the whole process. That's because many of these young girls (themselves raised without fathers) have been imbued with a kind of faux feminist attitude -- "Men: What are they good for?" (And unfortunately, given what we sometimes see, in some cases, they're right). It may not be enough for girls to figure they could give their children better lives if they're married, so long as the girls already think their children will have "good enough" lives.

What's more, it strikes me that a lot of the marriage training needs to take place among the boys, as well. Too often, too many boys (especially those who have, themselves, been raised without fathers) see women as nothing more than potential sex partners. That needs to change, too.


Blogger Marshall Art said...

By all means, instruct the boys as well as the girls. But the teachers may need the training as well.

12:51 AM  

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