Manifesto! 1/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Introduction

So both my readings last week went exceptionally well. I got a bunch of compliments on my prose piece and am going to submit it somewhere this week and despite my fear the Manifesto reading went swimmingly. The audience got what I was saying and was whooping and hollering in agreement. In fact after the reading I had a few people come up to me and ask if they could find it online or if it was posted anywhere. I had been on the fence about putting it up online simply because it is pretty radical and the blogosphere is a very different environment than the very radical space I was in for the reading. I’m not up for some of the comments I’ll inevitably get but having folks ask me if they could find it online made me realize that if no one sees or hears a manifesto what is the freaking point?!

So my Manifesto, Not The Marrying Kind will be going up in five parts this week. I’m breaking it up, not to make more posts out of it (or at least not just because of that) but because it’s the way I wrote it – in a series of chunks – and I like the idea of it being experienced in that way. In fact at the reading since we had interruptions from the audience they got it broken into sections as well and I think it worked very well, allowing folks to take in the previous points before moving on. Keep in mind that this is an early iteration of the work and it may grow, shrink, shift during any future re-writes however the core of it will not alter.

Not The Marrying Kind: Intro

There are a lot of people who’d like to blame the things I say in this manifesto and my beliefs on marriage in general on the dissolution of my parent’s marriage when I was a toddler. They would just label me a disaffected child of a broken home and ignore the things I have to say as bitterness. Which is not to say that I’m not disaffected or bitter but not as a result of my parents divorce. In truth their divorce was not at all a traumatizing act for me and while I’m sure it planted a distrust of marriage in my mind it would be foolish  to assume that everything I believe sprouts from one incident in my youth. It is true that somewhere in my youth, around age twelve, I began to view the institution of marriage as distasteful and prison-like.

As I started to write this manifesto I realized there were three things that  solidified my opinions about marriage:
1. Reading a lot of second wave feminism in high school crystallized the idea of marriage as a tool for the oppression of women.
2. Sex and the City – and yes I’m aware of the irony of name checking a piece of media that professes to be radical while reinforcing traditional values and gender roles – but there’s a specific scene where one of the characters is listing off all the acknowledgements, gifts and celebrations that come with marriage and children in comparison to the absence of anything comparable for single people which highlighted all the praises that society gives to the married.
3. Proposition 8 and it’s aftermath – the expectations of support by the queer community without laying any real groundwork, the reaction from those who were against it when the vote didn’t go their way. The cries for “Rights! Rights!” and the response from opponents that the community was/is asking for special rights, and as I thought about it realized they were, because marriage is a special right, codified by law, for everyone not just queer folks.
So it all slotted into place, the unequal power structure for women within the bounds of marriage, the way marriage – and to a lesser but similar degree a monogamous two-partner relationship – is privileged over everyone else and finally the way the government is fully aware of this and sanctions it. Not The Marrying Kind is a distillation of some of my ideas on marriage in general and the push for marriage equality from the queer community specifically.
Because what I’ve truly come to understand is that marriage is a system of oppression and like every other system of oppression we have to do everything in our power to tear it down.

3 responses to “Manifesto! 1/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Introduction

  1. I’m really sad I missed your readings this weekend, but selfishly glad I can still read some of them online! Very looking forward to more of this.

  2. Kate Elliott

    Augh. I shouldn’t have started reading this before you had the whole thing up!!! Am now awaiting parts 3 – 5.

  3. Pingback: Marriage As Inequality « Words From The Center, Words From The Edge

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