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(77,056 posts)
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 09:52 AM Feb 20

"A man will say he's a feminist but he doesn't wipe the counters": Lyz Lenz on the beauty of divorce [View all]

"A man will say he's a feminist but he doesn't wipe the counters": Lyz Lenz on the beauty of divorce
In "This American Ex-Wife," Lenz celebrates the freedom — and free time — women get from ditching their husbands

Senior Writer

(Salon) The public discourse right now is being hijacked by one of those periodic temper tantrums over the existence of unmarried women. Mainstream media churns out a seemingly endless number of articles complaining that women allegedly refuse to get married, and pitying men left alone by those stubbornly single ladies. Republicans have started to question the longstanding tolerance of no-fault divorce laws, arguing that it's wrong to let women end marriages because they're unhappy. Pop star Taylor Swift has become a hate object on the right simply by being publicly happy while single in her 30s.

So there's no better time for a book like "This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life," by feminist author Lyz Lenz. In this breezy but thought-provoking book, Lenz demolishes the standard view that divorce is a tragedy, especially for women. Instead, she shares the dirty little secret many ex-wives come to know: Divorce can be freedom. The harried and sexless divorced mother stereotype is used to scare women, Lenz argues, but for many, reality looks much different with more free time, more control over life, and, blessedly, a cleaner house.


The timing on your book is fortuitous because we're in the middle of a media pressure campaign, demanding that more women get married. Even the Washington Post editorial board begged women to get married, even to men who voted for Donald Trump.

....There are a lot of cultural factors at play here. This isn't the first time, right? You can go back to Jimmy Carter and the Moynihan report. Even in the 1920s, there were high-profile flapper divorces and, everybody's like, oh my God, society is crumbling. Women just need to get married. We've been here before. If forcing women to get married solved our social problems, we wouldn't be here again. But there are a growing number of women opting out of marriage altogether, and even opting out of the dating pool. It's highly destabilizing to people who make policy and look at trends. And it's like, my dude, just fund a social safety net.

One of the biggest segments of divorce is gray divorce. All these retirees who were told if you just stick it out, then you'll be happy in the end. They're getting to the end and they're not happy. They're saying, this is not how I'm gonna spend my one wild and precious life. We were also forced to see it in the pandemic. All those Rube Goldberg contraptions we used to make our marriages equal, like hiring a house cleaner, the nanny, and family who lives close by, were stripped away. All of a sudden women were forced to stay in their homes with their kids and their partner who supposedly loved them. But he was like locking himself in the office, doing Zoom work, while you're doing homeschooling and managing the kids and, like, also doing your own work and also cooking for everybody. ..................(more)


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