Birdcage of Love
Interactive Digital Furniture
Copyright ©1994 magiamma All rights reserved
“I’m goin’ to the chapel and I’m gonna get married. Goin’ to the Chapel of Love.” Loudspeakers blare this 19050’s pop tune. I wonder. Marriage — myth or reality? Sleeping beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, are all still waiting for Prince Charming. Not only do fairy tales paint rosy futures for little girls, they’ll see it every Saturday in cartoons, hear about it continuously in pop music and find it pervasively throughout the media. But we are never told what happens after marriage. Why is this? Does it end there? We somehow “know” as young children that we will grow up, fall in love, get married and have a family. What is marriage anyway?
Marriage as we have known it over the last 2000 years was defined by the Roman Catholic church. It is one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic church. Although it lost is status as a sacrament with the Protestants, It is still blessed and held divine by Protestants.
Religious leaders have used marriage to manipulate women. In the Mormon religion, Joseph Smith defined celestial marriage, a marriage where you marry your mate for eternity. For a woman to enter heaven she must be married and to go the highest of the three levels of heaven she needs to be marred to a leader of the Church. Joseph Smith had twenty-seven wives. Brigam Young had over seventy wives.
The role of women has been dictated by the church and politicians have used this dogma to define the lower cast of women. We have moved from a father patriarchy where the father is in control of his wife and who his daughters marry to a husband patriarchy, where women are free to choose partner but once married become property of their husband. Women and children were considered property of husbands in out culture until the early 1900’s. We are in the process of moving towards a public patriarchy, where modern industrial states control women’s physical and mental health and biological reproduction as well as exploit the mother’s unpaid childrearing labor.
Women lose their economic standing because of divorce and are forced to shoulder the double burden of bread winning and child rearing. Of the 64,000 children in 1990 divorces, 14,000 lived only with their mothers and 2,000 lived only with their fathers. Over one half of the poor families are headed by women. One women in six live sin poverty, compared to one man in eight. How does this happen?
Mrs. Loews, 36, mother of three in Stamford, Conn., fell from middle-class living into poverty when she was separated from her husband last year. When she had to buy sneakers for her children, she did not have enough money left over for food. Last year the number of poor families headed by women accounted for nearly two-third of poor families. Women have greater power over their sexuality and their children at the expense of less economic support from men, husbands and fathers. Children have become an economic and social liability. Women are freer to choose and earn money but with class disadvantages.