Commentary: Female Liberation Can Be Found in Marriage

by Cadence McManimon


What does a fulfilling, self-focused life look like, according to liberated feminism?

Spa nights alone in a fancy apartment, perhaps. A boss babe CEO who enjoys hooking up on the weekends. Plastic surgery and perhaps a cute pet to post on Instagram.

But what else is part and parcel of this life? An epidemic of loneliness due to hookups and eternal singlehood. Financial strain and slavery to toxic jobs and bosses. Regret about missing the chance to have children.

Does this sound like our ideal version of female liberation? To be alone, stressed out, and struggling to find purpose in life?

The word liberation, however, requires us to ask two things. Liberation from what, exactly? And secondly, liberation for what purpose?

The standard feminist answer to the first question is that women need liberation from oppression. If we’re talking about child brides or forced arranged marriages, of course oppression is involved. But modern feminism would have us believe that all marriage, regardless of circumstances, is oppressive to women. The root definition of feminism hinges upon systemic discrimination against women by men.

But is marriage, freely chosen and entered, actual oppression? I don’t think so.

Despite feminism’s apparent opposition to marriage, even lifelong feminists are admitting their true desires for a “tradwife life” after spending decades claiming husbands are a necessary evil at best and slave drivers at worst. If marriage is oppressive, why do we ladies all want it so much? Why do professed liberal feminists still want a traditionalist role?

Regarding the second question about the purpose of this liberation: What purpose are women to serve after they are “liberated” from marriage? Or, more realistically stated, what are women encouraged to do with lifelong singleness? Often, we hear terms such as freedomself-fulfillment, and empowerment thrown about as the answer. These buzzwords are all different ways of saying “a woman should be free to care for herself and serve a purpose she chooses.”

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with such an answer. The problem is that feminism  pushes the narrative that a meaningful life is only focused on self, since, after all, “self” is often the default position after marriage is rejected. Anything that takes away from that self-focus, like marriage and family, is viewed as the oppressor. Nothing could be more opposed to the truth.

Since staying single offers women the least amount of responsibility, it’s often confused with fulfillment. But leisure time and a lack of external purpose in life is not where anyone finds fulfillment. As I wrote in a previous article:

The modern sense of freedom is choosing what you want to do whenever you want to do it. This does not automatically make you happy! For example, let’s look at the months of [COVID] quarantine. … How many of those endlessly free days alone turned into phone scrolling, Netflix binging, wishing for change, or desiring more things to do? All of these things result from complete ‘freedom.’ … Did any create happiness? No.

In that same vein, having obligations and responsibilities also does not make you unhappy. Think of your beloved family and friends, your hobbies, and your faith. All of them take time, commitment, and effort from us. Does this responsibility make us miserable? No. Usually, it’s just the opposite.

In contrast, what could be more empowering for a woman than to freely choose what is arguably the most important role in society: that of a loving, caring mother? Along with steadfast fathers, we create and raise the next generation. It is a huge responsibility, reflecting the pivotal importance of the role. And by pursuing this deep purpose, we find true liberation and happiness.

Of course, marriage requires us to give up the “freedom” of singleness. We trade that for something far better: carving out a life together as a family. We can’t do whatever we want, whenever we want, anymore, because we have chosen a bigger purpose, a deeper responsibility. That is why we find joy and fulfillment in marriage!

So, what does liberation in marriage look like?

Making a home with the love of our life, and getting to share it all with a husband. Weekends filled with housework, sure, but also family outings, evenings at home with children, and home-cooked meals on the kitchen table. Busy days filled with all sorts of tasks, but always alongside loved and valued family members. Bringing new life into the world and deciding exactly how we will raise our children. Stability and support from a hardworking husband. Flexibility and the chance to experience every season from newlywed life to grandparenthood.

To me, this sounds far more empowering than an eternally single life dedicated to a stressful job and a lonely apartment.

I am so blessed to be in a traditional marriage, and I can say without reservation that my married life now is far more “liberated” than my prior single one. I know I am fulfilling one of the most important roles in society by mothering and raising the next generation. Along with that, since I chose a good husband, I get to spend all my weekends and free time with my best friend. Neither of us has as much leisure time as before, but we manage to maintain our individual interests and passions. (How else could I still be writing these articles?) And the security and stability my husband and I provide for each other cannot be found in any job or career, only in the lifelong commitment we made to each other.

Does this sound like systemic oppression, or does this sound like true freedom?

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Cadence McManimon is a published author, former special education teacher, and now a wife and mother. She has too many houseplants, plenty of artsy projects, and not enough pens that work! (Doesn’t everyone?) Her novels Name Unspoken and The Lily Girl are available at her website Her favorite things include crayons, sarcasm, Sherlock Holmes, and hearing from readers!





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