I really wonder if we've ruined marriage in America. Do romantic comedies and porn make it impossible to have a successful, realistic marriage that isn't expected to be a non-stop, sex-filled travelogue with few money problems and, occasionally, perfect, rosy-cheeked children? According to some recent threads I've read on two very disparate websites, in which women were basically reviled as money-grubbing, duplicitous, lazy opportunists who want nothing more than to be validated by men who they then try to trap into marriages of misery and failure, the only type of happy man is one who is living the life seen only in those two kinds of movies. The wife is supposed to be a fit, cheerful, sports-loving, sex-crazed executive who only needs the perfect average Joe to make her life complete. There's no responsibility on the part of the man to elevate himself to the perfection of this mythological woman. She's supposed to be merely grateful for his attention. And, on the other end of the spectrum, girls who were raised in environments where they were denigrated in value because of their gender, given fewer opportunities than their brothers and taught that their only asset was their ability to put out, are treated as disposable commodities, not worthy of respect or consideration because feminism has supposedly given them the opportunity to choose this type of self-destructive behavior.
Awareness is a tricky thing, self-awareness even more so. How do you teach people what is realistic and what is not? I read an article recently in the NY Times that discusses how the current culture of non-criticism has left an entire generation without the ability to recognize their own limitations. So, now, we have marriages that are expected to follow a profoundly unrealistic blueprint that doesn't allow for personal difficulties or preferences to muddle the perfect construct or be deemed a failure coupled with a generation who has been taught that everything they do or want is what should be. And it's apparent to me that, at least regarding the people who read the types of sites listed above and comment on them and who seem to be of this no-fault generation, that those who don't fit in that construct must have chosen to do so without any cultural or familial influences on their decisions. It's the laughable idea that anyone is truly free to make their own decisions, free from the influence of their society and upbringing that I see trumpeted in these threads. My favorite comment from both was "Sluts will slut." Such absolute knowledge from someone who most likely was taught that everything they did was perfect and worthy of praise and who never wanted for approval or validation. So little sympathy, so little understanding, so little hope.