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After MarriageRethinking Marital Relationships$
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Elizabeth Brake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190205072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Equality and Non-hierarchy in Marriage

Equality and Non-hierarchy in Marriage

What Do Feminists Really Want?

(p.100) 5 Equality and Non-hierarchy in Marriage
After Marriage

Elizabeth Brake

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends the continuing relevance of feminist critiques of marriage. It sketches how power inequality, or hierarchy, arises within different-sex marriage against a background of social pressures, injustice, and gendered violence. It then argues that hierarchy in any intimate relationship is wrong in itself, as the ongoing alienation of decision-making power over the activities of a shared life constitutes a harm and fails to respect autonomy. Finally, it argues that friendship is the best model for a non-hierarchical intimate relationship, suggesting that law should treat marriage more like friendship than a traditional union. While emerging from a comprehensive ethical view, this argument dovetails with the author’s previous liberal argument for “minimal marriage.”

Keywords:   feminism, equality, hierarchy, marriage, gender equality, housework, gender roles, friendship, marriage reform

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