Feminists and marriage: a qualitative analysis/
Blaisure, Karen R.
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Feminist critiques have demonstrated the problematic nature of marital and family life for women. Feminism has deconstructed traditional marriage and made apparent the potential overwhelming cost to women in financial, emotional, and physical dimensions. However, the experience of feminists who choose heterosexual marriage has not been addressed through research. What is not known is the extent to which such feminists are transforming marriage into a relationship that values both spouses. This study examined the influence feminism had on the marriage of heterosexual partners who were both self-identified feminists at the time of the study and prior to marriage. The guiding focus of the research asked what happens when feminists, dedicated to equality and the valuing of both spouses, choose to marry. Thus, the following research questions were posed: How do couples describe the impact of their feminist beliefs on their marriages? To what extent do couples talk about having a double consciousness of marriage, i.e., a realization of choosing a relationship that can lead to the devaluation of the woman? How do couples describe and interpret equality and inequality in their marriages? How does gender organize the couples' marriages and lives? The conceptual framework informing this study was a combination of feminist and general systems perspectives, A general systems perspective provided concepts such as system, process, and context while a feminist perspective elaborated on these concepts to illuminate the sociohistorical and cultural contexts in which women and men live and the power differentials within marriages. A feminist postmodern perspective highlighted the social construction of relationships and gender and the diversity of women's experience while also proposing a political agenda, i.e., criteria of what is liberating for women and a critique of the gendered nature of power differentials.
- Doctoral Dissertations