Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Hoax With The Most

We all suspected was a hoax -- at least, I know we all hoped it was (though with movements like QuiverFull it’s hard to know).

Now Newsweek has interviewed the creator of the site. Yes it is a hoax--sort of:
As it turns out, Ordover’s intentions go deeper than poking fun. He says he was hired by a group of women from a local support group who'd been married out in similar fashions—and wanted to draw attention to a very real problem. Marriage laws vary by state in the U.S. and are often in conflict with statutory-rape laws, he says—meaning that, with parental permission, it's not uncommon to find girls as young as 13 married with children in states where the legal age of sexual consent is more like 17. "This is an issue that people are extremely complacent about, and I said, 'I think I can find a way to get people to care, or at least start talking about it'," Ordover says. He hopes the site will generate controversy and spur outraged readers to pressure their local legislators to elevate the marriage age.

The MarryOurDaughter site received 60 million hits in one week, according to the article; what’s truly creepy is the real e-mails the site received, like this one:

“Darling Makayla, Seeing your bright smile among the other girls on this site was a joy among joys—to see someone so obviously full of life and laughter made me keep coming back to your profile,” writes one suitor, who identifies himself as Mark B. “I want to provide you with everything you need, I want to have a partnership that will last a lifetime. You love to laugh, and I would love to make you laugh for the rest of our lives ... Please consider me as a husband.”

Makayla is the 15-year-old whose “bride’s price” was $24,995.

And then there's this e-mail:

Someone who appears to be a mother signing up her daughter writes that her 16-year-old, Elizabeth, is “uppity but very pretty, and says she wants to work for the United Nation when she grows up. She's a liberal, and extremely smart and needs a strong, Christian man to help guide her.” Her bride price: $45,000—set high, she says, “because we see this as an investment."

Of course, there’s no way of knowing if these e-mails are hoax responses, but I suspect at least a few are not.

There’s something truly wrong with a culture that still, after all this time, views women as property, incapable of making their own decisions, needing “guidance.” Baby's still got a long way to go.