Added: August 1, 2015 – Last updated: August 1, 2015


Author: John Henry Spiers III

Title: Breaking the Wedding Vows

Subtitle: Woman-Centered Critiques of Marriage, 1963-1982

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, Clemson University

Year: 2007

Pages: x + 163pp.

OCLC Number: 156978057 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Types: Marital Rape


Link: TigerPrints: Clemson University Digital Repository (Free Access)


Abstract: »This thesis explores woman-centered critiques of marriage during the period of second-wave feminism from 1963 to 1982. It explores the social and cultural, economic, sexual, and legal critiques of marriage that feminists posed and the messages about marriage that filtered down into a collection of popular magazines geared specifically to a female audience. It argues that feminists, operating through intersecting and diverging motives, interests, and agendas, posed numerous and wide-ranging critiques of marriage as a personal relationship and politicized institution. It asserts that while popular women's magazines were affected by the claims of feminists, these magazines generally remained conservative in the content, form, and language of the articles on marriage that they featured. This thesis provides a much needed treatment of a topic important to many feminists and an issue central to understanding women's status in American society.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. iii)
  Dedication (p. v)
  Acknowledgements (p. vii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Framework (p. 1)
    Scope and Focus (p. 3)
    Sources (p. 7)
    History of the Period (p. 9)
      Changes in the 1960s (p. 10)
      Responses (p. 18)
      Organizing and Disorganizing Feminist Movements (p. 24)
      Radical Feminism (p. 28)
      Feminists of Color, Lesbian Feminists, Working Class Feminists (p. 31)
      Cultural Feminism (p. 36)
    Conclusion (p. 37)
  Chapter 1 (p. 39)
    Psychological and Social Isolationism and Dependency (p. 39)
      Simone de Beauvoir (p. 40)
      Betty Friedan (p. 43)
      Psychological Issues (p. 47)
    Breaking with the Left (p. 49)
    Radical Feminism (p. 51)
      Sex Roles (p. 52)
      The Role of Marriage in Creating Sex Roles (p. 53)
      Protest (p. 55)
      Solutions – Singleness and Separatism (p. 56)
      Is Marriage Worth the Effort? (p. 58)
    Monogamy (p. 58)
      Lesbian Feminism and Monogamy (p. 59)
      Working Class Feminism and Monogamy (p. 60)
    African American Feminists and Issues of Race (p. 61)
    Conclusion (p. 63)
  Chapter 2 (p. 65)
    Married Women's Employment (p. 65)
    Choosing to Work (p. 67)
      Married Women Working (p. 70)
    Housework (p. 71)
      Betsy Warrior (p. 72)
      Additional Critiques of Marriage and Housework (p. 73)
      Marxism and Housework (p. 74)
      Wages for Housework (p. 76)
    Double Burden (p. 78)
      Unidirectional Gender Roles (p. 79)
      Lack of Available Institutions (p. 80)
      Qualifying the Double Burden (p. 81)
    Conclusion (p. 83)
  Chapter 3 (p. 85)
    Failure of the Sexual Revolution (p. 86)
    Sexual Bondage (p. 87)
    Wives and Prostitutes (p. 89)
    Redefining Marital Sexuality (p. 89)
      Heterosexuality (p. 90)
    Marital Rape and Domestic Violence (p. 92)
    Conclusion (p. 97)
  Chapter 4 (p. 99)
    Equal Rights Amendment (p. 101)
    Elements of Coverture (p. 104)
      Name (p. 104)
      Marriage Age (p. 106)
    Marriage Contracts (p. 106)
    Heterosexuality and Same Sex Marriages (p. 108)
    Economics and Marriage (p. 109)
      Welfare Provisions and Married Women's Employment (p. 110)
      Judicial Rulings on Social Welfare and Marriage (p. 111)
    Divorce (p. 113)
      Critiques (p. 113)
    Conclusion (p. 116)
  Chapter 5 (p. 119)
    Staying in Marriages (p. 121)
      Stability is Valued (p. 121)
      Politicizing Marriage (p. 122)
      Tensions in Marital Stability (p. 123)
      Retrenchment from Feminism (p. 125)
    Being Married Is Not So Bad (p. 126)
      Challenging Expectations (p. 127)
      Solving Problems (p. 128)
      Flux in the Mid 1970s (p. 129)
    Unhappiness - Divorce (p. 131)
    Important Social and Cultural Issues (p. 133)
      Concerns of the Feminine Mystique - Early Marriages and Mothers (p. 133)
      Gender Roles (p. 134)
      African American Women and Marriage (p. 135)
      Interracial Marriage (p. 136)
    Economic Issues (p. 139)
    Maintaining Monogamy (p. 142)
    Conclusion (p. 143)
  Conclusion (p. 147)
  Bibliography (p. 155)
    Primary Sources (p. 155)
      Feminist Periodicals (p. 157)
      Popular Magazines (p. 158)
    Secondary Sources (p. 159)

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