On the Metra up to the Chicago History Museum this Tuesday I dipped my toes back into the Stephanie Coontz book, “Marriage A History”. It seems as though marriage had become a political struggle manifesting itself into s series of power plays. It has been difficult for me to read about the role women played in the past. My feminist thoughts (which I rarely have) are accompanied by an thought that has been plaguing my brain. As Stephanie Coontz builds a historical background for marriage through the ages she leaves it up to the reader to compare what used to be to what is now. With out providing any recent proof of the modernity that is marriage (at this point in the book at least). The reader who is subject to their own bias is now comparing or even finding similarities with the past forms and meanings assigned to marriage. I think it would be wise to take notice as I continue my research of what the present state of marriage is and always seek to compare/contrast the data rather than allow people to take and glean what they see fit from the history lesson that Miss Coontz aims to provide.
That being said, I could not be happier that I am doing research at the Chicago History Museum to get a feel of the roles of men and women and the ideas behind marriage over the last six decades. I really want to establish a baseline for modern marriage so that there is always something to make comparisons. The greatest challenge will be to define marriage in 2014 that accounts for all forms of marriage and includes demographic deviations (which didn’t exist in the historical time period that is captured in the first seven chapters of the book.
Hopefully I will be able to anchor myself as I delve deeper into the idea that marriage constitutes adulthood as well as sexual experiences and even relationships (to what degree they are considered serious and how they change and individual’s world views/perspectives). Still more to come as I embark on yet another journey back in time to visit Ann Landers. Come this Friday I will visit the sixties. Stay tuned!