The Life of Marriage & Farming
Maggie M. Stewart
Introduction to Sociology 1006 A
St. Thomas University
MARRIAGE & FARMING 2
The Life of Marriage & Farming
When it comes to marrying a farmer it does not just come with marriage. The wife is committing her life to not only him, but she is also entering an entirely different social, economic and political lifestyle. The lifestyles between marrying a farmer are very different from an average urban marriage. The husband and wives roles are dramatically altered. In fact, women whom “marry farmers” (Machum, 2002, pg. 133) take all roles as to an urban lifestyle. The wives are head of the “household” (Machum, 2002, pg. 133), the “support” (Machum, 2002, pg. 133) of the family, and are “responsible” (Machum, 2002, pg. 133) for the childcare. In this paper it will elaborate more on the farming lifestyle and the role of genders. It will be shown within the four sociological perspectives and there will also be a focus on the capitalist market system.
Majority of people see farm women as the mother of the family that traditionally does the cooking, and cleaning, the same as any urban household family. When a woman commits their lives and marry a farmer, they also “marry the farm” (Machum, 2002, pg. 134). A farm wife has a very busy lifestyle, they have majority of the responsibilities in the home and on the farm. In fact, compared to their urban lifestyle their workload is triple (Machum, 2002, ph. 134) the amount of work. Their work consists of off-farm work, on-farm work, and domestic work which covers all work within a family farm. With all work combined many women says that the “farm comes first” (Machum, 2002, pg. 147). As with any wives focus would be more focused on the household tasks, they were always “secondary” (Machum, 2002, pg. 147) concerns within the home and the farm. Wives have most concern about the survival and stabilization of the family
MARRIAGE & FARMING 3 and when you own a farm your concerns are on the “well-being” of the family and the “survival” (Machum, 2002, pg. 147) of the farm.
When people look at farmers they see them as hard workers, which they are. However, most people don’t realize most work also comes from the wife and they don’t even get credit for their hard work. In fact these women that are working “extraordinarily hard” (Machum, 2002, pg. 134) don’t get any benefits for their work. Other than the fact that farm women do the cooking, cleaning, looking after the children, doing on-farm and off-farm work these women don’t ever see the “worth” (Machum, 2002, pg. 135) of doing all this hard work. They are basically working without pay, which they work by choice when they married the farmer. Their work is “undervalued” and “taken for granted” (Machum, 2002, pg. 135) by not only their own family, but the courts, the Canadian government, and agribusiness. These farm women worked hard and never got credit, and over everything their children came before they ever did when it came to ownership of the farm. For instance, if the farmer/husband of the farm passed the children would receive “two-thirds” (Machum, 2002, pg. 135) of the property. She would also face many obstacles if she chose to still run the farm after his death. Even running the farm years after his death she was still only entitled one-third of the property. In the view of Irene Murdoch, she took her case to the Supreme Court of Canada and still had denial after her and her husband both developed the farm for “25 years” (Machum, 2002, pg. 136) of their marriage. Since their divorce the Courts denied her share because they say she had only done “what any ranch wife would do” (Machum, 2002, pg. 136). For a property she helped “improve” (Machum, 2002, pg. 136) and accumulate in the end of her case she had only received an award, and maintained the household as a…