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Disciplining Marriage: Gender, Power and Resistance
Unformatted Document Text:  Weadock 1 This paper looks at how issues of feminism, marriage, resistance, and power are interrelated. Understanding marriage as it is discussed in the feminist literature as a patriarchal structure of oppression problematizes the fact that feminists continue to participate in this structure. In exploring the resistance strategies used by feminists to negotiate the power of patriarchy within marriage, I have first aimed to explore how feminists understand their marriages. Secondly, I uncover how feminists make sense of their simultaneous location within marital discourse and feminist discourse of resistance. Within marital discourse, I look at the specific means of resistance feminists employ while remaining married. Finally, I discuss whether we need a new conception of marriage or if marriage continues to operate as a patriarchal structure of oppression. Marriage is conceptualized as a patriarchal structure. Within this conception a number of assumptions are made about the structure of society. Men are conceptualized as the provider operating in the public sphere while women are conceptualized as the caregivers operating within the private sphere. I argue that feminists conceptualize and experience marriage in a different way. The conception of feminist marriage includes the idea that household labor and childcare is not divided according to traditional gender roles, but instead based on time, interest and talents. Likewise, working in the paid labor market is a complex issue decided based on earning power as it relates to child care costs, importance of retaining ties to the paid labor market, and importance of feeling like an individual outside the marriage. In the literature, egalitarian marriage refers not to the emotional relationship between people but to the partnership itself. Egalitarianism is exhibited by a commitment to full equality within the household – equal sharing of family labor including childcare; equal respect paid to each partner’s paid labor activities; mutual decisions about career advancement and potential relocations to allow for advancement; each partner has equal input into decision-making and each feels that their views are considered with equal weight. Women and men in egalitarian marriages typically report that there is sharing of housework and breadwinning but that childcare is still predominantly performed by the

Authors: Weadock, Briana.
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Weadock 1
This paper looks at how issues of feminism, marriage, resistance, and power are interrelated.
Understanding marriage as it is discussed in the feminist literature as a patriarchal structure of
oppression problematizes the fact that feminists continue to participate in this structure. In exploring
the resistance strategies used by feminists to negotiate the power of patriarchy within marriage, I have
first aimed to explore how feminists understand their marriages. Secondly, I uncover how feminists
make sense of their simultaneous location within marital discourse and feminist discourse of
resistance. Within marital discourse, I look at the specific means of resistance feminists employ while
remaining married. Finally, I discuss whether we need a new conception of marriage or if marriage
continues to operate as a patriarchal structure of oppression.
Marriage is conceptualized as a patriarchal structure. Within this conception a number of
assumptions are made about the structure of society. Men are conceptualized as the provider operating
in the public sphere while women are conceptualized as the caregivers operating within the private
sphere. I argue that feminists conceptualize and experience marriage in a different way. The
conception of feminist marriage includes the idea that household labor and childcare is not divided
according to traditional gender roles, but instead based on time, interest and talents. Likewise,
working in the paid labor market is a complex issue decided based on earning power as it relates to
child care costs, importance of retaining ties to the paid labor market, and importance of feeling like an
individual outside the marriage.
In the literature, egalitarian marriage refers not to the emotional relationship between people
but to the partnership itself. Egalitarianism is exhibited by a commitment to full equality within the
household – equal sharing of family labor including childcare; equal respect paid to each partner’s paid
labor activities; mutual decisions about career advancement and potential relocations to allow for
advancement; each partner has equal input into decision-making and each feels that their views are
considered with equal weight. Women and men in egalitarian marriages typically report that there is
sharing of housework and breadwinning but that childcare is still predominantly performed by the


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