Part III, February 11, 2016
Traditional marriage, for a long time coming, has needed a re-articulation, a re-definition. This re-definition is necessary because the institution of marriage has been stuck, as alluded to above, in an archaic understanding of men and women, and has suffered the subtractive legacies of patriarchy, and the power plays politically that men have enacted over time to control women, most specifically, their bodies, their sexuality, which extends to the reproductive rights of women as well. Witch trials have often been an extension of this, even when they have been coupled with or gathered among other impulses and drives quite distinct from socio-political control and repression. Marriage has always maintained this element of male control over women.
All midwives would have managed induced miscarriages and thus left themselves opened to the accusation of witchcraft, even if induced miscarriage could always be made to look like accidental miscarriage, and thus be a boon for a man who did not want to have another mouth to feed. The presumption here is that men have understood exactly what was happening, but all social masquerades mirror the masks we wear by nature in the form of personality or variegation of personality, and an extension of everyone’s many-selves Self. Men have always played hop-scotch around miscarriage, induced or not.
The traditional conception of the miracle of birth has left birthing and managing birth opened to a great many superstitions and superstitious responses or backlashes, particularly where women have been concerned, either as the birth-mother or the mid-wife. How men have used birth and birthing against women repeatedly over time in the history of misogyny has been documented in witch trials. At this very moment in El Salvador, a woman having had a miscarriage is suspected of having had an abortion and might be arrested and imprisoned.
The issue of Gay Marriage and the issue of a woman’s right to choose are both part of a larger human rights issue which will become apparent as we progress in this essay. Now, a revision of what marriage was, what the expectations were, and how it fit into the mentality of ages past, was necessary centuries ago, and had even been broached by Mary Wollestencraft in her seminal treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was (is) in the later treatise that Ms. Wollestencraft sought to “effect a revolution in female manners . . . and make them as a part of the human species,” for woman had been considered in her time, and for centuries prior, as a sub-species of man, a thing of modified personhood, someone sent into the world, “half made up,’ if you will. And perhaps we can better understand the associations of woman and her make-up if we pay closer attention to the ways women have been expected to present themselves socially or in the bed room; and the ways men have rhetorically carved her up.
The ways our traditions of marriage have been managed by patriarchy and patriarchal control of women and their bodies is part of the opposition, albeit unconscious motivation, to Gay Marriage. But are we to persist in keeping marriage corralled by an archaic mentality. This objection here extends to the use by gay men and women of the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife.’ More on these upcoming.