2009-03-22

Pregnancy and Marriage




I read this story from Time the other day, indicating that 40%of all babies born are to unmarried mothers. I got me thinking, it seems that we all know the stat that 70% of black women are single and that the marriage rates for black folks in America is low, but is marriage in general on the decline? Is it an antiquated institution, or are people simply just not getting married because they aren't quite ready? Has the mantra, "I don't need a man" come true? Did feminism kill marriage, or did men decide marriage was no longer financially viable? Or are other races of men, like SOME black men say about black women, assuming most women aren't worthy of marriage? Have women's attitudes changed, or have men's?

I think one reason you see an increase in unmarried mothers is that social norms have changed. The sexual revolution made it ok to have sex outside of marriage. It isn't a stigma to be considered an unwed mother like it was in the 1950s. You also have feminism, in which now many women are making their own money, have gotten to a certain age, find themselves single, but still wanting children, and with the "You can have it all" mantra back in day, women want to have it all, family and career, with or without a man. You also see people waiting later in life to get married. My mom was 20 and my dad was 24 when they got married, and per my grandparents, my mother was an old maid getting married, she was near menopause to have me at age 23. I know I got married at 27 and felt I was still probably too young to get married. I know people holding out into their late 30s and 40s to want to settle down because they have goals and achievements they want to accomplish. Another factor is that teen pregnancy is on a slight upswing, after being on a decline for so long. I don't think abstinence only education is working. Kids are still having sex, and from all the news on television, they are having it more often, and with a lot more different partners than I could ever think to have sex with.

It makes me wonder has gender equality, and the roles and attitudes of men and women made marriage an antiquated concept in America? Obviously our divorce rate lends to the reluctance to get married, but maybe divorces are caused by the same issues?