Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Here we are again, another Fourth of July, another three day weekend during which we drink beer, lay in the sun, and celebrate what it means to be Truly American.

My pal Mark Regnerus has a piece in the New York Times about the "institution of marriage" and the "peril" it's in. This comes on the heels of the long form article about my hero Dan Savage that was printed in the NYT Magazine this week detailing Dan's approach to saving marriage: eliminating obligatory monogamy in favor of an approach that allows couples to actually do what works for them. Which, for some married couples, might mean lifelong monogamy. But, for many others, successful marriage looks different. Like a tweeted picture of a boxer-clad boner, for instance.

But really, who cares what married people are doing behind closed doors? Why is it anyone's business whether Bill and Hillary have an open marriage or not, as long as their marriage functions for them? When we see examples of people like the Clintons [allegedly] flouting social norms--and #winning in spite of it--people get pissed because marriage is supposed to be a monogamous, Sisyphean life course. Women are supposed to save sex for marriage and, failing that, to sell at the high price of a relationship [women don't like sex for pleasure, obvs]. Children are supposed to be conceived in marriage because, dammit, well, that's what we think.

But what if we're wrong? Our social norms are more about protecting the patriarchy and the rights of men to collectively dominate women and children and the so-called nuclear family is a key part of that goal. But some women like to have sex because sex is fun. Many single mothers do a bang-up job of raising kids, actually, and gay couples can be just as breeder-y as Ozzie and Harriet. So why do we care how people structure their personal lives?

This is not freedom. This is not justice. Freedom happens when consenting adults discern what will work for them, communicate about it with partners, and get what they need. Justice happens when people who want to have children can have them and raise them with respect, support, and care, regardless of what the Census says about the family structure in which they live.

So considering that here in Texas there are no fireworks today because of the risk of fire, make some fireworks of your own by supporting America and exercising your freedom in the best way you can: by fucking the shit out of someone, tonight.* Or don't. But make the choice yours.

*I'll be watching fireworks, actually. Sorry fellow Texans.