For the record: the fact that this might seem like a contradiction of values coming from a polyamorous identified blogger does NOT escape me.
So, I had the radio on and the new Beyoncé hit came on… you know the one, “If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.” Suddenly, I was transported to a memory of last Sunday as I was walking down oneof the avenues on my way to Instigate! at the LGBT Center here in NYC. As I was walking down one of the avenues, I passed these two boys who looked me up and down as I passed. As I continued, they shouted at me, “I’d put a ring on it, baby…” which I knew was a reference to the song, but supposed to be a flirtacious pick-up. But, It wasn’t until now that it dawned on me… if we’re using marriage and commitment as an enticement to others, means of attraction, and way to show that we’re interested, what does that mean about our values and views of marriage? (Nevermind the fact that it isn’t available to all… that’s a whole other issue and not one I’m tackling here.)
It struck me today about how it shows our diminshed value for marriage and wondered what that means for us. With reality TV and their marry a millionaire shows and divorce rates being as high as they are, it shouldn’t surprise me that people are seeing marriage as an outmoded and flawed system. I get it. Really, I do… however, I DO have an issue with people FLIRTING by saying that they’d marry someone. Call me crazy but that strikes a nerve. Okay, it makes me twitch almost to convulsions, but whatever.
The fact that we are willing to cheapen marriage and the idea of committment (regardless of how many partners we choose to make said committments to) just makes me sad and angry. Have we no concept of loyalty? Are we so self-centered and disillusioned about relationships that we no longer even see it as a viable option? Or, have we just gotten to a point in our culture and desperation for connection that we see dangling the idea of a pretty ring and ceremony as effective flirting? Seriously, does that work? Are there women out there that have self-esteem so low that the thought of someone wanting or being willing to marry them is enough to flatter and make them want to date? I’m sure that the line has worked for at least someone… but, I think that’s what is even more deplorable. My guess is thus… this is a result of the vast separation between who values marriage, the expectations of our culture to get married, severe lack of self-esteem among women, and pervasive sex-objectification messages which stress sex-appeal as a source of acceptance, worth, and beauty.