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Discussion Starter #1
I was recently informed of this article in Reader's Digest that I thought INTPs might find interesting. It demonstrates how engagement rings were essentially intended to be more or less virginity insurance which dispels the whole romantic notion of why men give diamond rings to women.

(If too lazy to read article then feel free to just answer the question below).

Why do men buy diamond rings for our fiancées? There's the emotional story. We enjoy making grand gestures of commitment to the people we love. Behind that, there's the marketing story. DeBeers' historic ad campaign, crafted by the real-life mad men at N.W. Ayers, convinced generations of lovers that diamond bands were synonymous with eternal devotion. But behind that, there is economic story that is just as important and fascinating.

***

Once upon a time, diamond rings weren't just gifts. They were, frankly, virginity insurance.

A now-obsolete law called the "Breach of Promise to Marry" once allowed women to sue men for breaking off an engagement. Back then, there was a high premium on women being virgins when they married -- or at least when they got engaged. Surveys from the 1940s show that roughly half of engaged couples reported being intimate before the big day. If the groom-to-be walked out after he and the bride-to-be had sex, that left her in a precarious position. From a social angle, she had been permanently "damaged." From an economic angle, she had lost her market value. So Breach of Promise to Marry was born.

But in the 1930s, states began striking down the "Breach of Promise to Marry" law. By 1945, 16 states representing nearly half of the nation's population had made Breach of Promise a historical relic. At the same time, the diamond engagement ring began its transformation from decorative to de rigueur. Legal scholar Margaret Brinig doesn't think that's a coincidence, and she has the math to prove it. Regressing the percent of people living in states without Breach of Promise against a handful of other variables -- including advertising, per capita income and the price of diamonds -- Brinig found that this legal change was actually the most significant factor in the rise of the diamond engagement ring. It's historically plausible. The initial mini-surge in diamond imports came in 1935, four years before DeBeers launched its celebrated advertising campaign. What's going on here?

Let's think like an economist. An engaged couple aren't all that different from a borrower and a lender. The woman is lending her hand in marriage to the man, who promises to tie the knot at a later date. In the days of Breach of Promise, the woman would do this on an unsecured basis -- that is, the man didn't have to pledge any collateral -- because the law provided her something akin to bankruptcy protection. Put simply, if the man didn't fulfill his obligation to marry, the woman had legal recourse. This calculus changed once the law changed. Suddenly, women wanted an upfront financial assurance from their men. Basically, collateral. That way, if the couple never made it down the aisle, she'd at least be left with something. And that something was almost always small and shiny. The diamond ring was insurance.

So, should a jilted bride give back the engagement ring? Today, the answer is often yes. But back when rings first came into vogue, part of the point was that she wouldn't. It was a security against a default on the engagement. The good news is that this seems so alien to us today. Women have their own careers. They earn more degrees. And, for the younger generation, they out-earn men. More importantly, the stigma against premarital sex has disappeared. A broken engagement isn't a lasting financial disaster for a woman like it was before. The diamond engagement ring has itself undergone a transformation. It's no longer a security. It's just about signaling nowadays. It's anachronistic. But don't try telling your girlfriend that.
I was curious if anyone else has examples where the modern meaning behind something is completely antithetical from what was originally intended.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd like to think that at some point between the two time periods it was actually about committing yourself to someone that you care for deeply instead of using each other in some way.

Ha, faith in society... what am I thinking.
Ha, that kind of made me think of this: the bigger the diamond ring, the more the man feels he could get away with, and the less compelled he is to commit. It's almost like a ring or jewelry is collateral for all of the future wrongs that will be committed. Or it is used as restitution when a wrong has been committed (Kobe Bryant buying his wife a one million dollar diamond when he got accused of rape comes to mind).
 

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Sticking to the wedding theme... we use a white dress as a symbol of the bride's purity on her wedding day... but it's just some thing some queen did that was so fashionable, everyone started doing it.
 
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Ha, that kind of made me think of this: the bigger the diamond ring, the more the man feels he could get away with, and the less compelled he is to commit. It's almost like a ring or jewelry is collateral for all of the future wrongs that will be committed. Or it is used as restitution when a wrong has been committed (Kobe Bryant buying his wife a one million dollar diamond when he got accused of rape comes to mind).
That seems depressingly accurate. People are so sleazy in their using each other... the part that baffles me is when the receiving end of it actually accepts the compensation because they're so desperate for material goods they trick themselves into thinking it's okay. *insert government corruption rant here* There's examples of it in every form of relationship and human interaction... such as wealthy parents thinking they're meeting the standards of their children's needs by buying them every materialistic object under the sun while leaving them emotionally neglected and with a cocaine problem...

Apologies for getting off topic.
 

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Hahahaha ... funny.
Welp! They don't mean 'virginity assurance' anymore!
That's for sure.
Go society. Way to be accurate! :)
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Sticking to the wedding theme... we use a white dress as a symbol of the bride's purity on her wedding day... but it's just some thing some queen did that was so fashionable, everyone started doing it.
Here's some other interesting history about wedding traditions (was from a website):

Bridesmaids
Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

Another legend states that it was once common for the bride, her groom and all their friends to walk together to the church on the morning of the wedding. Afraid that someone, maybe a rejected suitor, would spot the happy couple and put a curse on them. The groom's friends wore clothes almost identical to his, and the women costumed themselves like the bride. These disguises tricked evil wishers into letting the real bride and groom live happily ever after.

The Bestman
Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Another legend is that during ancient times when women were in short supply, the groom captured his bride-to-be from a neighboring village. The future bridegroom, accompanied by a male companion, seized any young girl who had strayed from the safety of her parental home. Our custom of a "best man" is a relic of that two-man, strong-armed tactic; for such an important task, only the best man would do.

A best man around AD 200 carried more than a ring. Since there remained the real threat of the bride's family attempting to forcibly gain her return, the best man stayed by the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and armed. He also might serve as a sentry outside the newlyweds' home. Of course, much of this is German folklore, but it is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. For instance, the threat of recapture by the bride's family was perceived as so genuine that beneath the church altars of many early peoples -including the Huns, the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals - lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears.
 

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Here's some other interesting history about wedding traditions (was from a website):

Bridesmaids
Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

Another legend states that it was once common for the bride, her groom and all their friends to walk together to the church on the morning of the wedding. Afraid that someone, maybe a rejected suitor, would spot the happy couple and put a curse on them. The groom's friends wore clothes almost identical to his, and the women costumed themselves like the bride. These disguises tricked evil wishers into letting the real bride and groom live happily ever after.

The Bestman
Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Another legend is that during ancient times when women were in short supply, the groom captured his bride-to-be from a neighboring village. The future bridegroom, accompanied by a male companion, seized any young girl who had strayed from the safety of her parental home. Our custom of a "best man" is a relic of that two-man, strong-armed tactic; for such an important task, only the best man would do.

A best man around AD 200 carried more than a ring. Since there remained the real threat of the bride's family attempting to forcibly gain her return, the best man stayed by the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and armed. He also might serve as a sentry outside the newlyweds' home. Of course, much of this is German folklore, but it is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. For instance, the threat of recapture by the bride's family was perceived as so genuine that beneath the church altars of many early peoples -including the Huns, the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals - lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears.
How sexy. Nothing hotter than being dragged off by your beau's prize fighter.
 
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Here's some other interesting history about wedding traditions (was from a website):

Bridesmaids
Inviting women to be members of your bridal party dates back to ancient times. One Roman custom was to dress the bridesmaids in a fashion similar to the bride's to confuse evil spirits trying to kidnap the bride. Bridesmaids also had the role of fending off unsuitable suitors, leaving the bride for her groom. Although the specific functions of being a bridesmaid have changed over time, being the brides support system, confident, defender and friend hasn't.

Another legend states that it was once common for the bride, her groom and all their friends to walk together to the church on the morning of the wedding. Afraid that someone, maybe a rejected suitor, would spot the happy couple and put a curse on them. The groom's friends wore clothes almost identical to his, and the women costumed themselves like the bride. These disguises tricked evil wishers into letting the real bride and groom live happily ever after.

The Bestman
Many centuries ago, before the women's rights movement, men who had decided upon a wife often had to forcefully take her with him (or kidnap her) if her family did not approve of him. The groom-to-be would sometimes face resistance from her male family members or from competing suitors who would fight him off. The groom would therefore bring along his "best men" to help him fight for the woman. Today the best man and ushers are honorary positions.

Another legend is that during ancient times when women were in short supply, the groom captured his bride-to-be from a neighboring village. The future bridegroom, accompanied by a male companion, seized any young girl who had strayed from the safety of her parental home. Our custom of a "best man" is a relic of that two-man, strong-armed tactic; for such an important task, only the best man would do.

A best man around AD 200 carried more than a ring. Since there remained the real threat of the bride's family attempting to forcibly gain her return, the best man stayed by the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and armed. He also might serve as a sentry outside the newlyweds' home. Of course, much of this is German folklore, but it is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. For instance, the threat of recapture by the bride's family was perceived as so genuine that beneath the church altars of many early peoples -including the Huns, the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals - lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears.

HA! Oh man, history is funny.
 

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黐線 ~Chiseen~
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If I go around telling people this now, they'd be saying I'm such a bullshitter. Now what am I going to do with this knowledge?

I know.. file it for future reference.... (if at all ever)
 

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I've also read that diamonds aren't actually scarce enough to be as valuable as they are, but Debeers has such a monopolistic control over diamond production, they have been able to artificially inflate their value.
 

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Interesting... so a diamond ring was collateral or maybe a down payment. :tongue:

Who knows the story behind lipstick?
 

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LOLOL omg this was epic! all the bs people make up for the social traditions....
Speaking of social traditions, I wonder what the SJ's would think about the actual stories behind some of them.
 

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Maid of Time
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I'd like to think that at some point between the two time periods it was actually about committing yourself to someone that you care for deeply instead of using each other in some way. Ha, faith in society... what am I thinking.
Actually, that is more like you viewing marriage as an emotional connection, where for many cultures and many time periods that is explicitly not what a marriage was. It was instead a business arrangement meant to create a secure setting for both the marriage partners and the raising of children. Not that the two people didn't like each other, and often they grew to love each other, but that's simply not what it was about. It had economic, political, social, and survival aspects to it. ANd I think the 'business' aspect of marriage has been given a terrible name by self-centered jerks who would exploit such a bond without concern for the marriage partner (such as the kind of dichotomy we see in a movie like "Titanic"), just viewing them totally as a means to an end.

It is still this way this way in some countries. I worked with an Indian fellow a few years back, who had undergone an arranged marriage with a distant cousin. They met, they talked for about an hour, decided they could build a life together, and any affection came later. They are stable and happily married years later... but the marriage (not the emotions) came first.

How sexy. Nothing hotter than being dragged off by your beau's prize fighter.
... and by the hair, hopefully!

Speaking of social traditions, I wonder what the SJ's would think about the actual stories behind some of them.
it reminds me of that story about the woman who would always lop off and toss the ends of the ham before cooking it just because her mom did... then found out years later her mom only had done that because her mom's pan back in the day was too short to hold the entire ham. I fell for the same thing when I first cooked with mushrooms -- my friends peeled them and discarded the stem, so I thought that's what I had to do, but later I realized I could just slice them.

Hilarious.
 

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Actually, that is more like you viewing marriage as an emotional connection, where for many cultures and many time periods that is explicitly not what a marriage was. It was instead a business arrangement meant to create a secure setting for both the marriage partners and the raising of children. Not that the two people didn't like each other, and often they grew to love each other, but that's simply not what it was about. It had economic, political, social, and survival aspects to it. ANd I think the 'business' aspect of marriage has been given a terrible name by self-centered jerks who would exploit such a bond without concern for the marriage partner (such as the kind of dichotomy we see in a movie like "Titanic"), just viewing them totally as a means to an end.

It is still this way this way in some countries. I worked with an Indian fellow a few years back, who had undergone an arranged marriage with a distant cousin. They met, they talked for about an hour, decided they could build a life together, and any affection came later. They are stable and happily married years later... but the marriage (not the emotions) came first.
Yes, many cultures do view marriage as a business arrangement. I don't see how that's relevant to current stance of marriage in the United States, however, in which the original post referred. My post was in response to good ol' modern USA, and times before for that matter, when marriage is/was often viewed as a symbol of securing a life long commitment to a loved one - when in turn, at it's most genuine definition, is only but a business arrangement. Use each other for money, cars, homes, whatever miserable material goods you can come up with, that's fine with me, but don't put on an act like you're in love if you're not.
 

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Maid of Time
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Yes, many cultures do view marriage as a business arrangement. I don't see how that's relevant to current stance of marriage in the United States, however, in which the original post referred. My post was in response to good ol' modern USA, and times before for that matter, when marriage is/was often viewed as a symbol of securing a life long commitment to a loved one - when in turn, at it's most genuine definition, is only but a business arrangement.
I think that's exactly what the USA was, until the last 50 years, so it's entirely relevant to highlight that in a thread about how a custom has changed its meaning over the last 50 years or so.

Maybe I've just entirely not followed you.

Use each other for money, cars, homes, whatever miserable material goods you can come up with, that's fine with me, but don't put on an act like you're in love if you're not.
I agree with that. Let's call a spade a spade, and be honest about what exactly we're doing in a relationship, instead of confusing the matter....
 

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I find the whole concept of marriage to be retarded in the first place. I do not see how it validates a relationship in anyway. Weddings are one of the most arrogant events I can think of. Why should I waste my day acknowledging the fact that two people plan on living life together for the rest of their lives, go to some lame ass party with a shitty band or DJ, and spend my money on a gift? The nerve of some people.
 

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I think that's exactly what the USA was, until the last 50 years, so it's entirely relevant to highlight that in a thread about how a custom has changed its meaning over the last 50 years or so.

Maybe I've just entirely not followed you.
Yeah, I can be hard to follow in my incoherent rants. I now see where it went wrong but there's no point in explaining.
 
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