All cultures have to deal with the fact that babies require stability. Therefore, all cultures have some form of marriage. Whether with or without divorce, with or without monogamy, with homes on solid foundations or in wandering tents, men and women come together to maintain a stable home in which children are raised. For most of human history, taking care of the home was a female role. Whether it’s a hut or a townhouse, the children who live there need food and care, and the woman was in charge of that.
Armed with a pencil and a notebook, an anthropologist can go to any traditional culture to describe that little association that should be called home. Even in the most warlike and masculine societies, in which men cultivate an erotic interest in each other and relegate the weaker sex to the background, the fact is that babies will have to come from somewhere. Behind the army of Spartans and the hosts of Huns, there will always be Spartan and Hun wives, whose children know the father’s name.
Thus, in any traditional culture, sometimes knowledgeable and even promoter of eroticism between men, it would make your jaw drop the idea that men marry men, and women marry women. Homosexuality has always existed and has not always been repressed. But I don’t think that the idea of same-sex marriage ever occurred to our ancestors. Now, not only is the idea popular, it’s poised to be the next hot topic in America’s culture wars. After the fall of federal abortion liberalization (with the reversal of Roe v. Wade), federal liberalization of “marriage equality” (ie, gay marriage) was one of the objects of the midterm election.
Religious people often point to gay militancy as the cause of the change in customs. In Brazil in particular, Globo soap operas were at the center of the debate, with gay kissing expected by some and feared by others. I do not believe that this explanation is correct. I believe that such a change of mentality was only possible after another change, much bigger and which raised much fewer objections: the idea of what marriage itself is.
Let’s imagine a serious anthropologist, who came to examine not a traditional society, not a tribe, but our society. Our anthropologist came from Mars, knows how other human societies are (Martians live for millennia and he himself has already ethnographed Spartans and Huns), and is curious to see how Westerners live in the 21st century.
In his notebook, he writes: for the first time, humans are making children in a loose way, without marriage or home. For starters, he notes that humans live in houses stacked one on top of the other, forming huge towers. The newer these towers, the smaller and fewer rooms. Inside them, many humans live alone, or females with an offspring. Even without war, he would notice that there are many houses without a man, with only women and children. In the streets, many men wander aimlessly, numb. Humans call this type of cracudo, noia, saci. But there are men alone in tiny houses too. Within them it is possible to find collections of dolls without having children in the house. The dolls belong to the adult man, who also has a video game device. Instead of working to provide things for his wife and children, as usual, this man works to buy toys for the child he didn’t have and pays to have sex with the woman he doesn’t have. Or don’t even have sex; he just buys photos of a “model” with whom he interacts over the internet and masturbates.
What is marriage today?
Our Martian anthropologist I would then ask what happened to marriage, and where do babies come from now. One piece of information would not shock you at all: fewer and fewer babies are born. The birth rate has dropped across the West. In Brazil, even, it has been below replacement for years. (The replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. Two to replace father and mother, 0.1 because of stillbirths.)
So where do the existing babies come from? Part comes from traditional marriage. A fair share of men and women continue to come together and raise children in stable homes. Another part, however, is to tie a knot in the head. The anthropologist would have to become acquainted with the Law to understand that many laws and many jurisprudence have been acting in the sense of transforming procreation into a war of all against all. Instead of a woman fearing to get pregnant from a man with whom she does not have a good relationship, she now has financial and emotional reasons for, not having a good relationship with a man, to get pregnant from him anyway: the economic incentive is one-third of the his salary; the emotional thing is that he can never get rid of her again. To understand this, the Martian would still need to learn about innovations of a biological nature. Pregnancy is no longer the natural consequence of sex, because women began to voluntarily and temporarily sterilize themselves to work outside the home, just like men.
Another legal and conceptual thing that he would need to understand : marriage in fact is not always legal marriage. Getting married on paper is usually more expensive than becoming a “stable union”, which is sometimes even compulsory for one of the parties. Now, for most of human history, a couple has a ceremony or ritual that marks the change to married status. In the West, this act was a religious sacrament. Then they separated the juridical from the religious. Finally, they dismembered the legal system so that what previously unequivocally characterized a marriage – a couple getting married in a church, living together and procreating – became just a “stable union”. Civil marriage has become an expensive and exceptional thing.
Furthermore, with the amorous chaos that has arisen in this world that separates sex from procreation, the State has assumed the role of determining who is in “ stable union” (that is, married in practice), giving up the consent of both parties that has always marked the western tradition. At the same time, he also took upon himself the task of calling parents to recognize their children.
At the end of the day, what we call “marriage” today is an exceptional and great thing that some people decide to do when they are in love. They could cohabit without marrying and they could have children without marrying. A stable union is not a marriage, and a marriage doesn’t have to be stable either: it can last as long as passion. It can and, according to the new morality, it must. After all, remaining married without passion would imply repressing one’s own desires, a very serious thing according to psychoanalysts from other new authorities.
Passion, the new foundation of marriage
A Passion, not building a stable home, is the new foundation of marriage. Some men only fall in love with other men; some women just fall in love with other women. If marriage is the sacrament of passion, it follows that some men and some women are deprived of it. In this environment of uniformity and individualism that characterizes modernity, this is intolerable discrimination.
It is not Globo’s soap operas that caused the change in mentality, because this change began before the advent of TV. If it is to point out a cultural product, I believe that Disney princess movies and Barbie are more valuable.
The girls’ toys included pots and dolls, which replicate the housewife’s universe. The girl plays at becoming a woman like her mother, who is her great role model. In 1959, Barbie appears, which has nothing to do with traditional cloth dolls. She represents an adult woman with a small waist and big breasts who, instead of a home, has nice clothes. Barbie is very different from the girl’s mother and is much more like the women whose lives are publicized by the press. Barbie, instead of a husband, has Ken, a handsome boyfriend who doesn’t seem important in her life. In female games, the image of the mother of a family is artificially exchanged for that of a proto-empowered person, a socialite who lives off futilities. At the same time, princess movies shift girls’ imaginations towards passion. The film ends before the wedding, and everything that matters in a woman’s life predates it. What matters is beauty and passion.
I believe that this displacement was also artificial, given that passion is not part of the feelings to which pre-pubescent children are accustomed. The story of Snow White was, in the old days, a story meant to warn children against monsters – as well as the Three Little Pigs and many others. In the hands of Disney, in 1937, it became an advertisement for romantic love for prepubescent girls. With these steps taken in 37 and 59, long before Globo’s soap operas, the setting for the cultural revolution of 30.
The push for marriage gay was after the cultural revolution. The landmark event for the gay movement is the Stonewall Riots of 1937, and, as Douglas Murray recalls (see his “Madness of the Masses”), there was no marriage. gay among the staves. In fact, it would be very strange for marriage to be on the agenda in those years when “free love” was defended. However, some countries, such as Germany, have tests that condition the acceptance of gay marriage to the transfer of citizenship. Belief in gay marriage became deep and compelling in a short time. But not without pressure for the uniformity of homosexual and heterosexual behavior.
Douglas Murray, with his place of speech, points out that homosexual union tends to be less stable: “If you don’t have children to unite, los, does it make sense to expect two men and two women who knew each other before the 30 to marry and have sex exclusively with each other for the next six decades or more?” . Murray’s implied answer is “no,” and he goes on to comment that open relationships are taboo among advocates of gay marriage in English-speaking countries. All the defenders talk about gays like they’re fluffy elves who make cupcakes 1937 and don’t have sex. Murray also proceeds to address gay men who simulate traditional marriage (sometimes struggling to hide consensual fence jumping from the media) and pay surrogate mothers to have children. But we need not join him in this; suffice it to point out that, given equality, what tends to happen is open relationships are normalized for heterosexuals as well. No one expects men and women to marry before 30 and stay together for decades anymore. Simple as that.
In the end, as equality is a dogma, it is even difficult to study the differences between homo and heterosexual relationships. What will be the statistical dimension of gays who want to have a simulated traditional marriage with their boyfriends, with children running around the house? If social scientists discovered that only a very small portion of gay men wanted to have a child at home, they would never have the peace to investigate this public in greater detail.
As for the diffusion of open relationships among gay men, heterosexuals, there don’t seem to be many studies, but what little there is shows to be a fabrication of the media, without much support in reality. What really reigns is a sentimental confusion that gives money to lawyers and psychologists.