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Katie van Schaijik

Megan McArdle on marriage

Apr. 23, 2010, at 4:56pm

A year or so ago feminist Lori Gottleib generated a lot of buzz with an Atlantic Magazine article urging women to settle for “Mr. Good Enough.” Now she’s published a book on the theme. I haven’t read it, but I did read an engaging blog post about it by Megan McArdle. (Hat tip Maggie Gallagher.)

I’m busy trying to prepare a talk, so I can’t give the topic the time I’d like to. But these lines caught my personalist attention:

Feminists are no less prone than other women to resist thinking of romantic choices as pragmatic. Maybe more so, even, because relationships are supposed to be about self-actualization, not the prosaic projects of economic security and diaper-changing. Gottlieb’s straying a little too close to Jane Austen territory . . . and even for her own time, Austen was overly brutal.

I’m against that pragmatic approach to marriage too—as if courtship were a matter of weighing practical advantages against disadvantages and settling for the best available option. But self-actualization? Is that the contrast?  Is that really what relationships are supposed to be about?  What about self-giving? What about love?


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