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It looked like this:. And yet: It felt true.
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The empirical reality, as so often happens, became unmoored from the hazier human one. Ylae article seems to have lodged itself permanently in the national psyche.
That makes some sense. The Newsweek story, to be sure, was framed as an attempt to quell—or at least to put anecdotes and data behind—anxieties about marriage and biological-clock-ism that had long run rampant in the mqrried.
It continues:. Her mother got the bad news via a radio talk show later that afternoon. So by the time Harvard graduate Carol Owens, 23, sat down to a family dinner in Boston, the discussion of the man shortage had reached a feverish pitch. With six unmarried daughters, Carol's said Yale OK married but looking mother was sounding an alarm.
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By the age of 35 the odds drop to 5 percent. Forty-year-olds are more likely to be killed by a terrorist: Yale OK married but looking have mardied minuscule 2. For years bright young women single-mindedly pursued their careers, assuming that when it was time for a husband they could pencil one in. They were wrong.
So did the story itself, as it delved into the details that formed the meat of the article: It presented a single and unpublished statistical analysis under the guise of Yale OK married but looking determinism.
And panic, being what it is, has a way of proving itself. What happened post-publication was a pre-web form of viral spread: Its ideas and insinuations made their way to pop culture, whose own products were reckoning with the same phenomena the journalistic media were.
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All of which helped that single article to extend far beyond Because, gah, it felt true! Not in terms of the debunked stats themselves, or of the women quoted in the article many of whom, Yale OK married but looking Wall Street Journal reportedwent on to get marriedbut rather in the subtler, stickier elements of the article.
Its vaguely accusatory tone. Its framing of marriage and career as being fundamentally at odds with each other.
Its insinuation that single women have been, essentially, undermining their romantic goals by focusing on their professional ones. Yale OK married but looking piece, though it made passing reference to women who choose to remain single, pretty much took it for granted that marriage is not just a social institution or an economic arrangement or the atomic bond at the center of the Yale OK married but looking family, but something broader and more aspirational: It assumed a cultural attitude that remains with us, today, in news accounts and the products of pop culture: That to be married is to choose, but also to have been chosen.
That matrimony is, on top of everything else, a social status that can be conferred only when another person willingly weaves their life to yours.
Marriage equality is Yale OK married but looking law of the land. Sex and the City famously featured an episode in which Carrie, fed up with all the money she had been required to spend on gifts for friends who had gotten engaged and married and pregnant, married herself.
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All of that amounts to a good, and indeed a liberating, development: The culture is increasingly treating marriage, for so long the default social arrangement, as a choice rather than a fact Yale OK married but looking life. The culture was already doing that in It assumed that despite it all, despite feminism and gender parity and everything else, biology would step in both to make women want marriage, and to make marriage less possible for them as they aged.
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That helps to explain why later editions of the Sex and the City franchise—the films—found Carrie reversing her declarations of satisfied Yale OK married but looking to marry her boyfriend. So the stress of it all shows up on our faces, making us look matried We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic.
Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlanticwhere she covers culture. Twitter Email.