Life as an Extreme Sport

In one paragraph, sexism returns well and alive

As I’ve probably made transparent by now, I’m rather a fan of Neil Gaiman, and part of that fandom includes reading his blog. Today’s blog refers to a Times article talking about Helen Hope/Hope Mirrless, which is well and good – but does so in the context of marriage, its declining permanence, and the lack of reproduction within marriage. The article concludes with the ever charming statement:

I agree with Talmadge and Alec Waugh that the reasons people get married do not change very much (economic imperatives aside), for the summer wedding season is here, and couples are still touchingly compelled to share ceremonies, be seen as units and nest in rows. Why else would gay couples want to marry? And maybe there will be a backlash against what Bennett called the loosening of the “bonds of marriage”. Since independence of spirit, education and self-respect are surely now hardwired into the female gene ”” who knows? ”” perhaps girls in their twenties will feel chilled enough to choose fidelity to the conjugal vows, raising children as a vocation and working together as equals to turn marriage back into that “respected institution” which I still believe can be the bedrock. Or at least, a long-term source of contentment. Plus ça change . .

Aaah, rampant sexism. Of course it should be the young women who will choose fidelity to marriage, and raising children as their vocation – and of course, that vocation is, as everyone knows, a full time job! Heaven forbid we note young men needing to observe the sanctity of the union, or suggest that perhaps they might prefer being primary caregivers. Nope, let’s sink right back into stereotypes and misogyny.

Now where’d I put my pearls and vacuum?