It has always seemed that – aside from the perishable nature of love and conflict arising from domesticities, both the trivial and the grace – the two quite influential factors in escalating global divorce rates (particularly in the UK and America) are that of the economic hold over the individual (i.e. commitments to careers and a desire for job security which almost necessarily holds a sort of precedence over marriage), and that of Hollywood.
My latter reason, I believe, is not as completely barmy as it might at first seem.
Take these statistics:
|# 1||United States:||4.95 per 1,000 people|
|# 2||Puerto Rico:||4.47 per 1,000 people|
|# 3||Russia:||3.36 per 1,000 people|
|# 4||United Kingdom:||3.08 per 1,000 people|
|# 5||Denmark:||2.81 per 1,000 people|
|# 6||New Zealand:||2.63 per 1,000 people|
|# 7||Australia:||2.52 per 1,000 people|
|# 8||Canada:||2.46 per 1,000 people|
|# 9||Finland:||1.85 per 1,000 people|
|# 10||Barbados:||1.21 per 1,000 people|
These are the top ten countries for rates of divorce throughout the world (Divorce rate per 1,000 people). Sourced from divorceform.com and recorded in 2004 (admittedly a little outdated, but still relevant to this article).
The country with the highest divorce rate (the highest number of divorces per 1000 people) is the USA; not only the home of Hollywood, but along with Canada, the country with the highest consumer expenditure on going to the movies (see graph). In fourth is the United Kingdom; a close ally of the USA and heavily influenced by American culture. In eighth is Canada; America’s Northern neighbours, as well as sharing its ‘top cinema spending’ spot. Three other countries within the list have English as their official national language (Australia, New Zealand, Barbados) and thus lack a language barrier to Hollywood’s cinematic allure.
Of course, there are many other factors to consider here. Russia has it problems with alcoholism which are sure to account for such a high divorce rate. In Finland, an increasingly secularized view of marriage that saw it as an arrangement that could be ended if it did not satisfy its partners has often been cited for top ten position. However, a more interesting reason raised is that Finland’s gradually expanding welfare system could manage an ever greater portion of the family’s traditional tasks, and it made couples less dependent on the institution of marriage.
Undoubtedly the rights of women have had a large part to play in divorce statistics, particularly where their status in society is determined by a prevalence of religion and cultural tradition. For example: in many countries a huge stigma is attached to a woman if she divorces. Worse so are those cultures where there is not even a capacity for women to seek a divorce, where marriage is little more than female objectification.
In their favour, the above tabled countries are places where – of which the majority are deeply feminised – divorce is usually easily granted, and it is not seen as a stigma upon women if she is a divorcé. Unfortunately, this has lead many idiots of the online community to conclude that feminism is bad for marriage (where to begin with this fallacious notion?).
Anyway, back to the Hollywood theory.
With Hollywood comes the idealised romance, the wet dialogue, and misleading simplification of emotion. Millions have grown attached, through Hollywood, to the idea of marrying a man of Brad Pitt qualities and living the happy-ever-after life. Millions of teenagers are right now dreaming of the day they find their very own Robert Pattison. But of course, the reality of Love and relationships is oh-so very different.
An outlandish theory? Well, apparently not:
Recent findings by researchers at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh) have shown romantic comedies, such as Notting Hill, promote unrealistic expectations of love; resulting in an almost detrimental effect upon relationships. And not long ago, a poll in Australia found that people felt the most dissatisfied about their partners after watching romantic comedies.
Food for thought.
In The Curse of Black Gold: Lest we should forget (https://theglottalstop.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/the-curse-of-black-gold-lest-we-should-forget/) posted on the 7th of June, The Glottal Stop issued a rather poignant reminder of the dangers of trying to accommodate insatiable demands for fuel and the human and environmental costs of going further and further in the search for more black gold.
We’ll, did we forget? Remarkably, yes. Because of the demand for fuel in America, the moratorium that Obama imposed on deep drilling was always unlikely to last long; polls suggest that Americans don’t support it. But already, a court in New Orleans has declared the moratorium ‘unlawful’, paving the way for oil giants to resume their hazardous search for the last barrel. How long until the the US oil spill crisis become a distant memory; before it becomes just another blotch in the pages of history?
I wish I had foresight…
“Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills” is the tune that Obama sang as he opened up more of US waters to drilling only 18 days prior to the explosion on the BP oil rig. Granted, he’s cautious, telling us that oil rigs ‘generally’ don’t cause spills, but it is a sound bite that has come back to bight him.
The Curse of Black Gold: Lest we should forget
In 1859 a retired railway worker named Colonel Edwin Drake developed the idea that oil could be extracted from the ground using wells. At Titusville, Pennsylvania, he bored a hole to a depth of 69 feet and got the world’s first ‘gusher’. It was quickly realised that petroleum in volume could be used not just for medical reasons (for example, it was originally used in medicines for the treatment of different ailments), but could be refined into lucrative products like paraffin and kerosene.
After that discovery, Western Pennsylvania boomed inordinately. In three months the ‘Pithole city’ (as John Mcphee, author of ‘suspect terrain’, so aptly named it) went from a population of 0 to 15,000. For a while Pennsylvania had a virtual monopoly on one of the world’s most valuable resources, oil, and it was dominant also in the production of coal. Many people became colossally rich, Pennsylvania prospered, and there began the developed world’s demand for oil. A demand that grew, and grew and grew. But it soon became clear, that satisfying this demand brought its dangers, disasters and uncertainties.