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Emily
4th January 2007, 00:56
I came across an article today about a new book called The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage (hence the title of this post). Needless to say, the book's name intrigued me, even though I suspected that it would not refer to husbands encouraging their wives to enjoy a Lillian Russell/Nigella Lawson-like love affair with food.

However, it turns out that the book is indeed relevant to the topic of this forum. Sure, it's a "self-help volume," and those should always be approached with skepticism. But the author's observations about marriage, about it being a celebration of interdependence and complimentary natures, and the need for a comfort level with gender differences, make a great deal of sense.

The article appears here,

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16442606/

but here's the excerpt that caught my attention. The author lists "the most frequently mentioned answers" that she received to the following question:

What do you, as a man, most admire about women in general?

1. Social skills, nurturing nature, compassion, sensitivity, listening skills, focus on relationships and bonding (friends, family, community)
2. Physical softness, sexy, curvy, beautiful, and graceful bodies
3. They will sacrifice for family, the power of creation of new life, being mothers
4. Better at details (multitasking)
5. They take the rough, hard edges off this world, they bring feelings and emotions and a sense of intimacy to us logical guys
6. They can create a home out of any environment, adding aesthetics (color, grace, beauty) to life, they make a house into a sanctuary . . . a home, homemaking
7. The positive effect a good woman can have on her husband and family
8. In femininity there is gentle power over people
Number 2 is, of course, most pertinent to this forum's theme. Note that the male responders did not say that they admire "thin bodies," (let alone "toned bodies,") but rather, an appearance of "physical softness" -- a "curvy" appearance.

The other responses are interesting as well, since the upshot is that men are attracted to women's femininity in general -- in personality, as in appearance.

This is all very good news for full-figured vixens. Not that the press will ever acknowledge this. Instead, it will keep trying to persuade plus-size women that their lives will be unbearable and lonely unless they starve and torture themselves, and become antagonistic, and masculinized.

These findings indicate the exact opposite.

Once again, the timeless ideal gets it right, and the modern media get it wrong.

HSG
5th January 2007, 02:52
Note that the male responders did not say that they admire "thin bodies," (let alone "toned bodies,") but rather, an appearance of "physical softness" -- a "curvy" appearance.
The article also excerpts the following passage from Dr. Schlessinger's book, which makes a point about fashion that is very much in tune with the theme of this forum:<p><blockquote><i>Marriages are not business arrangements of coworkers or co-owners. Marriages are the joining of two minds, bodies, souls, spirits, hopes, dreams, needs, personalities, and different genders. <strong>Unisex clothing does not erase the fact that men and women are very different creatures</strong>, and that they are each at their best in enjoying life and love when they revel in those differences with awe and respect.</i></blockquote><p>Just so. The author's comment reminds us that the androgynization of women's clothing (and concurrently, of women's figures) was one aspect of the politically-motivated, 20th-century efforts to disguse essential gender differences--and eradicate them altogether. (It's hard to argue that gender is "culturally constructed" when every living example of full, womanly beauty disproves your claim.) The legacy of this social engineering was only to fuel bitter conflict between men and women, and to undermine the timeless bonds of traditional marriage (which was exactly the political ideologues' intention, all along).

Modern films, televisions, and magazines attempt to persuade women that they should become combative workaholics, dividing their time between mindless drudgery in the office, and robotic self-torture in the gym, turning themselves into "toned" worker-drones--that this will somehow make them "sexy." But, as the author's survey reveals, this is not what men are attracted to at all. It is only what the political ideologues who reflexively hate tradition, and endeavour to engineer a socialist dystopia, want women to be (regardless of how this ruins the lives of the individual women who are duped into adopting their formulae).

Let us hope that this book is just one example of a broader cultural yearing for more natural human relationships, and for a more natural understanding of beauty.

Wyinnetka, alluringly styled, in an attractive example of the "new femininity" (from Ashley Stewart, Holiday 2006):<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/wyinnetka/as01.jpg"></center>