A Response-Critique of “a Marriage Agreement” by Alix Kates Shulman

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A Response-Critique of “A Marriage Agreement” by Alix Kates Shulman

Alix Kates Shulman is an author whose work includes fiction, memoirs, and essays written predominately from her perspective as a feminist. Shulman hails from Cleveland, Ohio and is best known for the novel “Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen”. She is also listed in Who’s Who in America and in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975 (Shulman, Psychology Today: Alix Kates Shulman). In 1970, Shulman’s document, “A Marriage Agreement”, was published in a feminist journal but became so popular and controversial that it was later reprinted in several other publications including Harvard University’s contract law textbook (Behrens). Shulman’s idea of introducing a concrete treaty into matrimony, above and beyond marriage vows, was completely unheard of at the time. She felt the only way her and her husband could live a more balanced family life was by following a strict contract that divvied every household responsibility equally between the two of them. Men and women typically assumed the gender roles society afforded them even when they themselves didn’t agree with the typecast standards. As Shulman and her spouse experienced, fulfilling these automatic roles can lead to a dissatisfying marriage (Shulman, A Marriage Agreement 304). Although I was too young to have been aware of the wave of feminism erupting through American history, I agree that men and women were created equal and should share the same human rights as well as household responsibilities. Although Shulman was very creative in balancing her marriage and ultimately achieving her rank amongst men in the working class, I disagree with her method. Learning the true meaning of love and marriage dissipates the need for feminism, especially in today’s society. “A Marriage Agreement” begins with Shulman’s delightful marriage to her husband before they had children. As their family grew, first with their son followed by their daughter...
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