Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The academic relevance of Jezebel

So my dissertation's basically about this, but in 19th century France. Seriously.


PG said...

Stories like that to me excuse a lot of what would be otherwise-inexplicable desire to marry within one's religious tradition despite not actually being religious oneself. I eat a burger when I feel like it and haven't been to temple in years, but I can imagine flipping out if my husband and I reproduced, divorced and his way of screwing with me was to bring our daughter (especially a daughter) into Catholicism, Islam or similarly conservative faith. At least if you marry within your religious tradition, certain outcomes become a lot less likely.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


What if your own faith has sects that are a bit shall we say out-there? Because there are branches of Judaism I'd be much less comfortable with than Christmas-tree-only Christianity. But more to the point, by choosing a partner from outside your religious community, you and your partner are perhaps selecting for someone apathetic about religion generally. Obviously this changes when conversion's involved. But in cases where it's not, this is because neither party cares enough either way. Whereas with marrying in, the fact that you're the same religion as your spouse could well have been part of what made your spouse consider you acceptable, suggesting some at least latent religiosity, even if you yourself didn't care either way.

PG said...

I guess because there aren't terribly out-there sects of my religious tradition, I don't worry about that as much (I consider whatever it is the Hare Krishnas are not to be an actual part of Hinduism, and I think this is a consensus position among Hindus). At worst my hypothetical co-religionist husband could screw with me post-divorce by insisting that when with him, our kids eat vegan, learn Sanskrit and chant Vedic scriptures -- things to which I'm not opposed, just not personally interested in.

The worst aspects of my ethnic background that can be inflicted on children in the U.S. are more cultural and political than truly religious (e.g. teaching the kids to hate Pakistanis/Muslims or having them join a Shiv Sena youth group -- actually the latter would only make sense if I married a Mumbai guy, since Shiv Sena are hyper-regionalist and would hate me too).

So long as we're under U.S. law, he can't marry off our daughters at puberty nor insist that they throw themselves in a funeral pyre upon becoming widowed. If he wants to give them a dowry, I won't interfere.