What about marriage?

Iulia Craciun

For centuries, marriage played an important role in people’s lives. It was one of the things that made everybody equal, just like birth and death, and, just like birth and death, marriage had it’s own power.

In the past, family played an important part in one’s marriage. Parents were the ones who choose the suitable husband or wife for their son or daughter. A time passed, the role of the family in the marriage had diminished, and young men and women were alound to pick their partener themselves. Another thing that changed is the age when people get married. The reasons for this are diverse, but an important one is education, for both women and men. As the time spent in school increased, the age at which young adults get married increased, too.

Getting married was considered a duty, until recently. The young generation does not see the marriage as a duty but as an option, but their opinion is not shared. Young people find themselves pressured to get married and to respect the society conventions on the matter. This pressure is especially high on women, as they are expected to give up their carriers after they got married or after they have kids. In other cases, there is no job security and no paid maternity leave, so mothers have to return to work soon after they gave birth. To all this we have to add the high number of women who graduated higher education programs and we have the perfect recipe for giving up or postponing the marriage.

The article talks about low interest of Japanese people in sex. Some of the causes for this are the high developed japanese economy and the high inequality between men and women. Japanese women are expected to give up their carriers after they got married or they got pregnant, and they are pressured by the society to do so.

This phnenomenon is not unique to Japan. According to an article published by The Economist in May 2011, called The Flight from Marriage, this situation is also encountered in China South Korea and other Asian countries with Confucianist heritage. The reasons are the same as in Japan, high workplace inequality, no job security, the pressure of the society, and a high number of women with college and university degrees. This situation is not particular to the Far East, but also inthe western countries. The reasons are different, though. Here young people want to get married, but they want to be sure that they have made the correct choice, so the marriage age has increased. They also take into consideration their financials, as weddings are expensive and a lot of young people have student loans. Workplace inequality is not that proeminent, but it exists and there are countries with really poor maternity leave policies, we have to take into consideration the society pressure, too. It does not pressure married women or mothers to leave their jobs, but it does pressure young people to get married.

Society is facing the same problems, whether we are talking about American society or Japanese society. It is true that these problems are more severe for the Japanese society and other Asian societies, as this problem is quite recent. Western society registered a demographic downfall for some time now, and most European countries adopted policies to encourage childbirth.

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