Section One: Introduction – The Issue at Hand
In America, our society seems to have a growing social problem when dealing with gender attitudes and marriage. The institution of marriage itself is at serious risk. The current divorce rate in America is estimated to be around 40-50%, meaning that almost half of all marriages end up as divorces. In a study done by Divorce Magazine, it was found that 10% of the US population is divorced. Ten percent may not seem to be a large number, but when one takes out children and all those who have not been marriage, that is a decent-sized figure. Another interesting statistic was discovered by Jennifer Baker from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield. She found that a first marriage has a 45% to 50% chance to end in divorce, while a third marriage has a 70% to 73% chance (“Divorce Statistics”). This may be due to the idea that if a person has already divorced previously in their life, they are more likely to call it quits when the next marriage(s) comes along. Over 40% of first marriages end within 13 years, and over 20% of first marriages end within 5 years. Interestingly enough, women are the first to file for divorce 65% of the time (“Divorce Rates”). Why is this? Also, the website Divorce.com found that since 1970, divorces have increased 40%. Since that same date, marriages have declined 30% (“Divorce Statistics”). With less people getting married and divorces still happening at a high level, it makes one wonder about the potential cause of this predicament. What could be the issue? If one takes a look at modern society, an interesting thought comes to mind. Is marriage less vital in society because men and women do not agree on gender roles anymore? Could this be the potential factor?
Section 2: Literature Review
Two experts who can shed light on the subject of marriage and gender issues are Lucy Hawke from the College of DuPage and the research team Emiko Katsurada and Yoko Sugihara. They both agreed that marriage is still vital in today’s society even though women and men sometimes no longer agree on gender roles. Each expert’s research tackled a different area under the subject of marriage and gender issues though. Hawke looked at American history and the actual changed roles, while Katsurada and Sugihara studied how people’s views on roles affected when they wanted to marry.
Lucy Hawke from the College of DuPage argued that changing gender roles in America are due to the feminist movement of the late 19th and continuing 20th and 21st century. She wrote out it has been a positive thing, and felt that there is even more room to grow in the changing roles. She felt that because of this change, men are allowed to love their children more. They also have the option of being a “Stay-At-Home” dad instead of the mother, which is how it traditionally has been. Hawke also stated that now women can have careers outside the home. Labor in the household is also spilt between the woman and the man, instead of the man being the breadwinner and the woman managing the household. Hawke fully supported the fact that gender roles are no longer constrained to outdated traditional views. She did admit though changing gender roles could possibly weaken a marriage, because roles are unclear. She fully believed though a couple can overcome this and end up stronger (Hawke, 73-74). Through her article, it can be determined that she feels marriage is still vital in American society even though some men and women do not agree on traditional gender roles anymore.
A team comprised of two researchers called Emiko Katsurada and Yoko Sugihara conducted a study using Japanese college students as the subjects to look into how gender roles affect people’s idea of marriage. They found a difference with how each gender views their role in marriage, and even a difference within...