"Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage." Sheila Cronan
"The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands..." Declaration of Feminism.
"...feminists invoked contract as a model for equality in marriage, counterposing it to bondage." From bondage to contract: wage labor, marriage, and the market in the age of... By Amy Dru Stanley
Many of us likely do not agree. Perhaps most of us. But some people do and prefer to cohabit.
Comparative arguments like these - whether you agree or disagree - create lively and thoughtful discussion and debate.
In my first book, The Dark Side (1988) I compared birthmother to Vietnam Vets. That did not in any way imply that birthmothers were subjected to or at risk of anything near the physical assaults of one in war. It simply compared the issue of being deceived into thinking that you were doing good and many later realizing they were duped and feeling anger and depression and PTSD.
No one objected to that comparison even though it is pretty far-fetched!
Many of us have debated whether adoption is abandonment or not. For many adoptees it feels that way, and some mothers may have felt that they were abandoning their babies. Others - myself included - did not. I was completely brainwashed to believe that what I was doing was best, not wrong. I fully recognize adoptees to express their abandonment feelings, though it is not my reality. I respect that it is theirs and no e can tell another how or what to feel.
So, why then if some adoptees, or mothers, identify with the story of Jaycee's adoption - in any way whatsoever - would we not openly discuss in what ways adoption is like kidnapping?
Interestingly, one mother I quoted in The Dark Side in 1988 compared adoption to a life sentence in prison and to MURDER...infanticide to be exact, saying:
". . . It is a life sentence with no parole. Birth-mothers are consigned to a special level of hell, where we burn forever in a frozen flame that tortures, but does not consume, and gives no light. . . (Adoption) is an institutionalized form of symbolic infanticide, with all the horror, revulsion and guilt intact. . . We feel like murderers because we ARE murderers—but we killed with a pen, not a gun . . . Adoption does not kill the body, but it surely kills a large part of the soul, both of the mother and of the child." Mary Anne Cohen, The Dark Side of Adoption , p 71That seems a bit more dramatic and harsh than allowing adoptees or mothers to think about in what ways adoption resembles being kidnapped....which I STILL claim is merely a legal difference.
Other mothers have compared the loss of their child to an amputation or to themselves being aborted. Those are their comparisons; the analogies and symbolism they see and feel when they try to find to express their pain and loss.
Some of us put this symbolism into poems or artwork or film or dance. Others just simply state that that is how they feel. Each of us has that right to free expression and disagreements - when done respectfully - are part of how we learn and grow.
It is unfair and unkind, however, to simply shut someone -- or a discussion -- down by stating that their comparison is WRONG, or inaccurate, or a stretch. It may be that for you, but it may be totally different for another.
For the happily married person, comparing marriage to slavery is preposterous. And yet that be another's reality of their life's experience.