American University of Beirut
Spring 2012 - 2013
Response to "Marriage and Love" by Emma Goldman
"Marriage and Love", an article by Emma Goldman tackles the issue of marriage and the notion of free motherhood. Goldman argues that "love" and "marriage" are two concepts that simply can't go together. She states that love has the ability to liberate its subject, empower him. However, marriage does quite the opposite; it’s an "economic arrangement", an "insurance pact", which traps the women and reduces their role to simply being objects owned by their husbands. According to Goldman, marriage is an institution condemned to failure. It's born out of traditions, convenience and public opinion; certainly not out of love. Once married, women lose any control over their lives and become reliant on their husband. She goes on to say that Motherhood should not be necessarily associated with marriage; children should be the result of love and free choice, not of an obligation implemented by marriage. I agree with the author that marriage, in certain cases, diminishes the status of women and imprisons them in their own houses. However, I don’t believe that all marriages are destined to fail and that extreme notions such as free motherhood should be adopted.
The author makes a strong point by stating that marriage is no more than an "economic arrangement". She immediately eliminated any room for love in this arrangement. Actually, this has been lived and witnessed by many people over time. Marriage can, sometimes, become an entirely objective deal. It takes the form of a convenient proposal where the woman is more interested in how much her future husband earns in a month? Where is she going to live? What is the quality of life that he can guarantee for her? In exchange, she gives him her freedom, her privacy, herself. Love is not present in this kind of marriage. Goldman states that it’s very similar to living with a stranger, to whom she raises her children....
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