MMFBD #8 Why Such Changes?

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  • Why Such Changes?
    • Fear of divorce:
      • With rising divorce rates, some may be put off marrying as they see the increased likelihood of marriage ending in divorce.
    • Changing attitudes to marriage:
      • There is less pressure to marry and more freedom for individuals to choose the type of relationship they want
    • Changes in the position of women:
      • With better educational and career prospects, many women are now less economically dependant on men
      • The growing impact of the feminist view that marriage is an oppressive patriarchal institution may also prevent women from marrying.
    • Seculari-sation:
      • The churches are in favour of marriage, but as their influences decline, people feel freer to choose not to marry.
      • For example, only 3% of young people with no religion were married, as against up to 17% of those with a religion
    • Declining stigma attached to alternatives to marriage:
      • Cohabitation, remaining single, and having children outside of marriage are now widely regarded as acceptable, so that pregnancy would no longer lead to a "shotgun weddings"
    • Wilkinson (1994)
      • This means that many young people are postponing marriage and family life until after their careers are established.
      • She argues the young females no longer priorities marriage and children, as their mothers and grandmothers did.
      • This is supported by the supported by the statistics which shows that births of women ages between 35-39 have dramatically decreased in the last 20 years.
      • Notes that female attitudes towards marriage and family life have undergone a radical change or "gender quake".
    • Other feminists are sceptical about the value of marriage.
      • Smith (2001)
        • Argues that marriage creates unrealistic expectations about monogamy and faithfulness in a world characterised bisexual freedom. She argues that at different points in peoples life cycles, people need different things that often can only be gained from a new partner.


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