Raquel Welch: The Pill caused the decline of marriage

Raquel Welch, arguably the sexiest woman in America in the 1970s, wishes we could go back to before that era of wife-swapping and growing sexual freedoms. In fact, she wants to basically turn the clock back to the Dark Ages.

"The growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values," she tells an interview on the 50th anniversary of the pill.

But has it? Was there a sea change in moral values or have we just naturally evolved? And is Welch's point, which the Telegraph thinks is to blame the pill "for the decline of the institution of marriage," close to the mark? 

Perhaps the lack of birth control and the fear of disgrace for getting someone pregnant used to drive some guys to propose, but is that really what's causing all these problems in the institution of marriage?

"As I've grown older over the past five decades and lived through this revolutionary period in female sexuality, I've seen how it has altered American society for better or worse," she said.

A positive consequence of the Pill was that it had "made it easier for a woman to choose to delay having children until after she established herself in a career", she said.

But a "significant and enduring" effect on women was the idea that they could have sexual intercourse "without any consequences" with the result that fewer today saw marriage as "a viable option". [Telegraph, via CNN]

All right, discuss.

Commentarium (8 Comments)

May 11 10 - 10:28am

I see her point, but I think I disagree. It's almost like saying the invention of the hammer has increased the amount of deaths with hammers. It's not about what the thing is (in this case, the pill), it's about the people responsible for it. The pill doesn't cause a decline of marriage, people do.

May 11 10 - 11:12am

The demographics changed. People moved to cities. Women entered the workforce (largely because of the pill). If it hadn't been the pill, it would have been condoms. People delay marriage in order to go to school longer. When the demographics change, people respond.

May 11 10 - 11:13am

I also happen to think that's a bit unfair what she's suggesting. The pill allows women to take control of their body and choose when and when not to have children. It's a great relief knowing you have that sort of freedom.

But it seems to me what Raquel is suggesting here is that women should be, in a way, forced to have children after their career has been established. And that by having children it is forcing a woman have stronger reasons to stay in a marriage. So what if the husbands a bastard who beats you? Think of the children!

I have seen many of my friends get married at a young age. Most between 18-22. And many of them filed for divorce only a few years later. They were too young and had changed as people during their marriages, people who no longer saw eye to eye or wanted the same things as their partners. I think that's the reason many marriages fail.

May 11 10 - 11:24am

Ugh. There needs to be an interview-rundown with these people where they are forced to skip to the end. The interviewer could brusquely asked, "Alright, let's take your constipated, doctrinaire reasoning-train as understood and skip to the end: Do you intend to ban birth control and/or institute arranged marriages? No? Then shut up because nothing you criticize will ever change. Good night!"

May 11 10 - 1:20pm

I thought we were supposed to discuss her hotness. Which was supreme.

May 11 10 - 2:30pm

She posits that a tie of sex to family and family to marriage led to dedication and commitment, and the removal of that first tie is what has caused a decline in the latter links. As an accidental child of divorced parents who both love me, I disagree that the sex tie (the threat of ME) was really what was holding things together. Cheers!

Feb 11 11 - 7:12pm

too many young marriages end.. I think its absolutely insane to get married before the age of 25 and actually believe 30 to be closer to the ideal. You may be madly in love during the high school years or even the college years or just your early twenties, but we change so much throughout our 20's that life goals, desires, politics, values, morals, life/career path all can change so drastically throughout our 20's that it's not wonder so many young marriages end in divorce.. But there are some people who are truly in love and find a way to make it work, not everyone is capable of this though..and not all relationships are capable of finding a middle ground to meet upon.

Mar 15 12 - 10:12pm
fundie Nerve reader

Since I was a student at the time and desiring a career as well, I wouldn't have agreed to get married if it wasn't for the pill. Because of the pill, I could marry my husband and still finish my degree, work, and plan our family on a sane schedule. So from my perspective, the pill facilitates marriage. We would have a lot more unmarried church women if marriage still meant babies within a year.