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New Season of White Picket Fence Examines America’s Obsession with Marriage

In the early 2000s, politicians, social scientists, and religious leaders were in a panic. They were worried that young people weren’t getting married. It ushered in an era of marriage promotion through culture and politics — from the birth of the bachelor to welfare funds being diverted to marriage promotion initiatives. Twenty years later, we find ourselves here once again. Books like “Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization,” and pundits all across corporate media are claiming that two-parent households are necessary for happiness, financial prosperity, and giving their kids a shot at a good life. But.. is that really true?

On this season of White Picket Fence, host Julie Kohler unpacks the myths around marriage and gets to the bottom of where they come from. We speak with NY Magazine journalist Rebecca Traister about marriage promotion in the early aughts, author Lyz Lenz about American divorce in the 19th century, and American women who married Danes — the happiest people in the world — about marriage norms abroad. This season, we take a look at the past and present of American marriage to gain a deeper understanding of why our country wants us to buy into this age-old institution.

Listen to White Picket Fence wherever you get your podcasts.

White Picket Fence Trailer

Introducing Season 5

This season, we’re diving into the hallowed institution of marriage. We want to know why so many people are getting so whipped up over the ways that Americans are — or are not — forming relationships and building families. Why marriage is becoming, once again, the catch-all policy solution for all of our country’s challenges. And what becomes possible when we broaden our imaginations around what relationships can look like. We’ll go beyond the rosy sheen of love and commitment and expose the darker side to all of this marriage talk — one that we have to pay attention to, if we want to maintain our social progress in this country.


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