Hope for Marriage?


From a review of Kay S. Hymowitz’s book Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age, by F. Carolyn Graglia:

The urge to reproduce is hard-wired into most living beings. There is merit in what Rutgers professor of anthropology Lionel Tiger asserts in his book The Decline of Males that these girls are choosing Darwinian reproduction over Marxist market production. “I am unwilling,” he says, “to accept the notion on face value that having a baby is less valuable than acquiring a law degree or a small business. It is not self-evidently better to become a lawyer than a mother.” Perhaps some of the women who followed the feminist script would agree with Tiger insofar as they enjoy market success but face an ever-diminishing chance of marrying and bearing children. In her essay “The End of Herstory,” Hymowitz observes that “there are no Feminists in the throes of fertility anxiety” and that an increasing number of mothers are opting out of the workplace to return home. The older career woman, who sacrificed her marital and maternal prospects, and the baby mama in the ‘hood, each responded to the message of her subculture. But both the baby mama and the single woman who uses a sperm donor to achieve motherhood are acting selfishly, treating babies as commodities to satisfy their own needs while denying them a marital home with two biological parents.

Revival of a marriage culture depends on convincing women on both sides of the divide that marriage should precede childbirth and that children need their biological fathers at home. This culture would re-stigmatize illegitimacy, reform divorce laws, and enforce mores that uphold sexual intercourse as the reward of marriage. Citing evidence of disgust with the sexual revolution and the determination of children victimized by divorce to do better than their parents, Hymowitz concludes that Americans are now “earnestly knitting up their unraveled culture.