Summary of Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian’s Work
In their article “Marriage: The Good, the Bad, and the Greedy”, Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian discuss the idea of marriage in its relation to the concepts of community and social ties. Thus, the authors’ main idea is that marriage contributes to diminishing the pairs’ connections or ties to their relatives and friends as well as to the other representatives of the community. Gerstel and Sarkisian develop their argument subsequently, focusing on the evidence to support the main idea of the work and to provide effective counterarguments.
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The central points of the article are based on the idea that marriage can guarantee definite benefits for the married people, and marriage can also be the cause for different kinds of oppression and discrimination within the family. To defend the role of marriage for people, the authors refer to the opinions of such researchers as David Popenoe and Linda Waite who perform as advocates of the marriage idea because it provides people with the feeling of stability and contributes to their material and social status and physical and emotional health.
However, the authors also state that the opinions on the role of marriage are different, and there are many opponents to the idea who state that marriage expands the women’s duties, thus, it can be discussed as oppressive for women but beneficial for men. Despite the variety of opinions, the researchers agree with references to the national surveys’ results that marriage is ‘greedy’ because it is based on the companionship between partners, but social ties become loose.
To refer to the idea of the family more broadly, it is possible to use the authors’ discussion on the problem of division of roles in a married couple and the issue of relations between a family and a community. Thus, if the division of duties within the family is unequal, persons can feel the oppressive character of marriage. Furthermore, the specifics of relations between a family and a community depend on diminishing all the social ties and connections with friends and relatives, although the status of a married man contributes to establishing social contacts. Thus, the significant emotional involvement within the family influences the social life of a pair and the level of dependence on social ties.
Questions to Discuss
- How can the level of emotional involvement within the family affect the development of people’s social interactions?
- Is it possible to state clearly about marriage as an advantageous or disadvantageous choice for people who love each other?