Posted by Cassia on March 18, 1998 at 16:17:56:
In response to Unmarried mothers, written by Caroline on March 18, 1998 at 12:51:18
] What caught my attention about Cassia's original statement about their being so few women married is the fact that in order for the statement to be true, surely there must also be so many unmarried men! If that were really true, then historical documents and literature in general would be full of them, surely? However, I reserve judgement until I've actually read the thing- it should be fun!!
] Of course, there are instances of women choosing to be single parents rather than marry. I recently read a biography of Robert Burns which made the point that his first "girlfriend" who was pregnant (and not necessarily by him) turned him down. I think amongst the poorer people this kind of thing was possibly more common.
Quite. Which is why all those people in the Sixties were always going on about marriage being a middle class institution. So, if you think about the large number of poor people who did not have the means to marry, a 30% marriage rate seems just about right. Another writer I read on this topic suggested that amoung farmer labourers and other working class people family structures were very like the Navajo and other matrelinial (sp?) cultures, that is, the children carried the name of the mother's family and were raised by her family. Which in a way makes good sense when all poor relief is based on the parish of birth, it is after all much easier for a woman to prove materity than for a man to prove paternity. Also, it means that men of the working class didn't have children, in the sense that they weren't responsible for providing a living for their children. Which is how I became interested in the topic in the first place when I was working in child support enforcement.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.