Emily Witt talks about the non-conformist marriage

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com


In the book, you also write about your friends getting married but trying to divest themselves of the traditional patriarchal signifiers of marriage. This is such an “educated person” trend in marriage, the idea that a couple is going to engage in this really traditional institution in an untraditional way…

It’s a whole generational thing, to not be conformists.

You seem very wary of the claim that you can sever the institution from its history.

A lot of people will probably criticize that, probably. It goes back to something that I read by Simone de Beauvoir in her memoir, The Prime of Life, about why she never moved in with Sartre and why she never had kids. When you put yourself into these institutions, there are so many roles that have historically prescribed for you, that you end of doing them, you end up doing the dishes or whatever, and if you don’t do them, you’re resisting and engaging a constant battle of equality.

I think that a lot of feminism got really bound up with how to be equal in a marriage. I’m not sure that feminism should be about sticking to that institution or to reinvent it. Obviously, for some people marriage represents routine and comfort. But for me, I came out of this book wondering if that was a place I could feel like myself.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t want long relationships that have commitment, I’d just like to express commitment in a different way.