Friday, January 21, 2011

Good news for us lonely, frumpy single Trads...

Religious girls in long skirts luckier in love?

That's what Pravda says.

Religious women in strict clothes would be laughed at and used as a subject for countless jokes during the beginning of the 1990s. Their secular friends and colleagues did not even want to believe that young women wearing long skirts and handkerchiefs could arrange their private lives successfully. However, as experience shows, girls in handkerchiefs enjoy special demand.

The TV series and two motion pictures Sex and the City has earned global popularity for one simple reason. The lives of its main characters are very similar to the fates of millions of lonely woman all over the world. They are successful, attractive and stylish, but single. How can one explain the paradox?

It seems that those women, who do not use cosmetics, wear plain clothes, cover their heads with kerchiefs and follow religious rules, are no competition to fashionable and liberated women when it comes to love affairs. Real life proves the opposite, though. Religious women get married one after another and celebrate the joy of motherhood. The prototypes of Sex and the City women keep meeting each other in restaurants and cafes to sip cocktails and complain to each other of their failures in relationships with men.

I think there's another aspect to this that people might miss. Religious people are usually connected to a large community of other religious people, a church or other religious group, sometimes an entire subculture. This makes a person much more accountable for his actions in life. The secular world has no internal social order. In the religious subcultures, there is a social order which puts checks on behaviour, but also supports people and keeps them connected to other people.

For people just living their secular lives, one of the biggest characteristics is isolation. Seculars are by nature atomised. They are not accountable to a group, their lives are lived, especially if they are not married, entirely according to their own personal whims and ideas, and in most cases, they live far away either physically or socially from their families of origin.

They are also entirely on their own in the project of finding a mate, and secular people often have great difficulty defining their values and personal wishes because of this lack of a cultural context. In a religious group, the value system is well defined (even if not always appreciated in every instance) and generally accepted. There's a "norm" for behaviour and values that is shared with a stable group of other people.
This creates a pool of potential mates that makes marriage a lot easier to find and to maintain.

Religious people have networks, even if they don't have families of their own to help, that can make finding a mate much easier and much more safe. Where secular people are reduced to the bar scene (or whatever it is they do) meeting strangers and taking huge chances. A religious person meets a potential mate at the parish after-Mass tea and snacks and in five minutes knows exactly what he's about, who his friends and family are, probably where he went to school and what he does for a living.

Religion, in short, creates social cohesion in the midst of a secular environment that is a wasteland of moral confusion, social isolation and risky encounters.

This bit was pretty good too:
Men become attracted to religious women because they create personality cult in their families. An emancipated woman perceives her husband just as a partner, whom she can compete with. A religious woman sees her husband as the head of her family. A man is a ruler in traditional families.

"She serves him dinner and she bows to him, she is completely crazy"...
...says the emancipated modern woman...

Oh, and...

Pravda! Who knew those guys were still around?!



Gregory said...

Ocean large. Full of water.

KimP said...

Hi Hilary, first time reading your blog! I like your observation that religious women live in community, making dating more about marriage than sheer entertainment. I will say though that I didn't meet my current BF in Catholic circles though. I actually (strangely enough) met him on an internet dating site. But what grabbed me about his profile was that he wrote about the importance of his relationship with God. He wasn't Catholic, but this coming Sunday he'll be received into the Church by Confirmation and first Communion.

One observation I'll make about traditional, religious women - they cook. I know this seems trivial and sterotypical, but I think men look at women who cook as wife material. Nothing is more basic, more fundamental, than feeding people. You are fulfilling a primal need when you cook - everyone needs to eat. And I think men feel cared for when you cook them a meal.