Sunday, December 11, 2005

Subjugation of Women: the Shidduch Way

Michelle over at her In My Humble Jewish Opinion blog writes a post about her concerns regarding the "Shidduch Crisis" where the average age for married girls has been falling to around the 18 year mark. See here.

My response was:

The "crisis" is part and parcel of the whole effort to keep girls from engaging in serious business and academic pursuits. If the girl's goal in life is to get married, then she won't even think about getting any advanced degrees and there's definitely no time to do anything substantial if there's a baby on the way the following year.

Getting girls married when they're still young and dependent is a perfect method for subjugating women. It's that simple.


Frum Singles said...

I have a great Shidduch for you!

This happens to me all the time. Someone will come over to me and "red" me "great" "attractive" girl etc. I think you get the drift. When I ask if (s)he has seen the girl (or a picture of her) the inevitible response is no.

Now frankly, this is arguably chutzpa and at a minimum a total lack of consideration. Basically, what I am being asked is to gamble my emotions, energy, time (and some money) so that this person may be a "winner" and be able to say that (s)he made a shiduch (and then get a brokerage fee a/k/a "shadchanuus") to boot.

If you you don't know how to cook, you don't belong in the kitchen. If you're not a doctor, you shouldn't have a medical office. If you're not a lawyer, you shouldn't hang out a shingle. AND IF YOU ARE NOT A SHADCHAN, DON"T ACT AS ONE !!!!

Orthoprax said...


At the very least, you should rely on common friends to set you up. Though the only girls I've ever gone out with were those who I knew personally. I have never gone on any blind dates or set-ups.

alex said...

On the way-opposite flip side (not to knock your views), my friend's wife is a psychiatrist who has just way too many regretful patients who are women who got caught up in their careers and found it pretty much too late to get married.

Orthoprax said...


As in most things, there is a happy middle ground.

Pragmatician said...

It's true that if girls get married young and conceive easily then the chance they'll get out and get a decent education is almost non-existant.

Mar Gavriel said...


my bald sheitel said...

There is something to be said for marrying young and "growing up together." As someone who married "later in life" I can honestly tell you that the longer you spend on your own, the more independent you become and the less you need someone. This is good in that you can take care of yourself, but it has a major downside and is why a lot of frum girls who wait a while to get married have issues with it.

onionsoupmix said...

pragmatician, my life refutes your generalization. Ambition and perseverance.

The cry of crisis is also an effort by the religious community to address the "unacceptable" intermingling between the sexes that is also known as "frying out".

Sarah said...

You make it sound as though it's a deliberate thing, which I don't think it is.

I know plenty of girls who are pursuing careers who really want to get married - many don't want a life where they have a career if they don't have a family to build that career around, and I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing. Marriage shouldn't be something that just happens, it should be something you want.

At the same time, I definitely agree that the pressure to get married is ridiculous, and there's no reason why a 20 year old girl at a secular college should be made to feel like an old maid (I speak from experience, clearly ...)

Orthoprax said...


I do believe that in some places this rush to marriage is intended for just that reason. Maybe not maliciously, but with the general background idea that women cannot support themselves, cannot stay at home forever, and so therefore it is best to have them married and out of tati's house earlier than later.

Other people see early marriage simply as the "erlicha" thing to do and promote it for that reason alone. But still, the mentality floating around in the background is that a) women cannot care for themselves or b) it's wrong for women to be self-sufficient.

Of course, for the kinds of girls that are generally already going to places like NYU, their families are already somewhat out of the "heimishe" mold.

Sarah said...

I think you're seeing a simplified version of a much more nuanced issue.

I have more friends at nyu who are married, engaged, or about to be engaged than i do anywhere else ... and i have a lot more friends outside nyu than in, so it's not a statistical issue. so the q is: why are all these motivated girls who are on their way to leading successful lives so intent on getting married ASAP?

i agree that the whole idea of getting married early is definitely an outgrowth of the idea that women can't/shouldn't be alone - but the reason that it works is that women don't _want_ to be alone. In addition, it may be a myth, but there's a definite idea floating around that there's many more orthodox girls than guys out there, and most girls are simply terrified that if they don't find someone earlier, all the guys will be snapped up and they'll be left alone. It's the idea that they want to get married at some point, and the practical fact that if they don't find it now, they may never.

Orthoprax said...


You're right. I have been simplifying a complex phenomenon. Sociology is a rather grey science and each individual has their own reasons for acting even while there may be a main dominating idea behind it all that they may not even be aware of. I think I've identified at least one of the main directors for what's going on.

Anonymous said...

I'd say shmirat negiya plays a role for both men and women in encouraging marriage at a young age. it's the only way to get any.