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"Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday."

I'm guessing any of my readers born after 1980 know where the title of this post comes from. (For those of you who are older or less pop culturally aware, that would be from the often-quoted Princess Bride.) You're probably doing the ridiculous voice in your head.

Being the unmarried, partnered-up, blogger-about-gender that I am, I figured I should probably weigh in on this whole controversy about Ivy League women being given the advice to find an Ivy League man while they can. My actual jumping-off-point is this NY Daily News opinion piece that criticizes feminism and the media.

What really--to use another pop culture catchphrase--grinds my gears was the way the author mocks “pushing women to define themselves by their spouses.” It's a legit gripe. Which I think she misses in complaining about feminists (whoever they are) and is what pushes this from minor issue to something I'd want to blog about. 

I'd really frame this as a side skirmish in the marriage equality battle...Cupp explicitly cites liberal defense of gay marriage but inability to defend traditional marriage as a "gotcha" though it's anything but. "Get married, don't get married, it's nothing to us." I think that would be a more accurate description of where liberals stand on the marriage issue--gay or not. 

The reason Princeton Mom got so much criticism for her advice to college women was that it seemed to be pushing women towards relationships. And nobody likes their personal worth tied to who they associate with...or don't associate with. It wasn't a strong voice of women taking on whatever role they feel comfortable...it was a voice saying "here's where the smart men are so you better pick while the pickings are good." Sure not the message I'd want to send to my daughter--that she may lose out so partner up or risk losing quality!

I really don't care if Leda brings home a truck driver, a CEO, or the guy who fixes the ball return at the bowling alley...if she's happy, she's happy. And marrying him or not marrying him should not impact her self worth. 

More to Cupp's point, getting married has value. That is very true. There's nothing wrong with getting married...but the complaint marriage is getting right now, socially, has to do with the way the government picks winners and losers in who individuals associate with. 

Ironically, my US Senator here in Illinois--Mark Kirk, who I have not really been a fan of until now--has it closer to correct. The government--nor feminists nor anybody else--should stand in the way of two people who are in love being in a civil marriage. 

"Marriage" here being the key word we're fighting over...it's a loaded word that connects the married to benefits and legal rights in a completely, yes, ridiculous way. Mawage is as arbitrary as the piece of paper which says you graduated from Princeton. A diploma is not an education. Nor is a marriage a relationship. Plenty of heterosexuals have made plenty of sham marriages to prove that. 

Speaking here as part of an unmarried couple, I can honestly say that whether the government or a church approves of my relationship is beside the point to Kelly and myself. We've already gone to great lengths to choose each other for complicated intellectual, emotional, personal and other reasons. What we'd, I think, like to emphasize is that the relationship came first. We picked it. I'd appreciate a government who recognizes it...a society, too. It's like the government only approving of people who wear sneakers or boots. All you people in sandals or slippers, we don't recognize your personal choices. 

So, there you have it...an explanation of why people are fighting for gay marriage while simultaneously kinda down on marriage in general. It's, ironically, a liberal libertarian kind of argument...that people should be free to enter into any contract of their choosing. 

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