Kat Rosenfield: Glamorizing a Marital Split is Narcissism Disguised as Feminism

Does Divorce Make You Hotter?

Kat Rosenfield at The Free Press: Five years ago, all my girlfriends suddenly decided to abandon their husbands en masse.

That is how it seemed at the time, at least. It all started when one woman blew up her marriage with one of those affairs so indiscreet that getting found out seemed like not just a risk but the entire point—then landed on her feet with generous alimony and a new boyfriend who was a 24-year-old fitness influencer. A few others, perhaps hoping to replicate her results, followed suit.

I lost touch with these women during the pandemic, so whether it all worked out for them, I couldn’t say; all I remember is that shortly after the last of the breakups, the new divorcées threw a Halloween party at which I was the only woman not wearing lingerie as a costume, and also the only one accompanied by a husband (what can I say? I’ve always liked him). I spent the evening feeling excruciatingly frumpy and middle-aged and also, absurdly, a little left out.

I’ve been thinking lately of that party, those women, the husbands they jettisoned like so much dead weight in a mimetic frenzy of best-life-living. Maybe the men were bad and deserved it, but it strikes me that nobody ever said so. My friends didn’t talk about being unhappily married; they just thought they’d be happier divorced, and no wonder. Even as divorce has retreated from the oft-cited peak rate of 50 percent, its place in the culture has all the urgency and incandescence of a current thing.

This year, we’ve already had a glut of divorce memoirs from authors celebrity and non; a much-hyped “divorce album” from Ariana Grande; a buzzy debut novel called The Divorcées, which is set on a ’50s “divorce ranch” in Reno; a piece in The Cut, on Valentine’s Day no less, entitled “The Lure of Divorce”; and a New York Times feature about how Emily Ratajkowski has set off a booming new market for “divorce rings,” refashioned from the wearer’s old wedding band. One of them is engraved with the word badass, a detail I would have found absolutely impossible to believe had it not been accompanied by photographic evidence.

Is it badass to get divorced? Perhaps it was in the ’50s, when women had to schlep to Nevada to free themselves of their abusive husbands—or the ’70s, when women fought for the liberatory institution of no-fault divorce…

More here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.