Monday, April 15, 2024

Thought: Jodie Turner-Smith is being honest about her divorce

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Actors Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson split up in October. They have a three-year-old daughter together. This week, an interview with Turner-Smith was published in The Times, a UK-based newspaper. The “Queen & Slim” actor talked about her divorce from Jackson, the former star of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Fringe,” saying, “Sometimes things we really want to work just don’t end up working.” She emphasized that it’s essential to choose what’s healthiest for oneself, family, and especially children.

Turner-Smith highlighted the moments in life where people need to ask themselves if they’re staying true to who they are. If the answer is no, she believes it’s crucial to make a move. She pointed out the visible scars from staying in unhealthy places, affecting not only oneself but everyone around. She acknowledged that she’s not alone in going through a divorce, as millions of people worldwide are experiencing similar situations.

Her perspective on maintaining a healthy mindset during divorce, without shame, is important. Her celebrity status might help spread this message to a broader audience.

In the United States, divorce is common but still carries stigma. Nearly 40% of marriages end in divorce, and despite the decline over the years, many still view it as a failure. Turner-Smith’s comments about her experience offer a refreshing perspective.

Society doesn’t want to encourage divorce, given its challenges. However, policies and norms could reduce divorce risks and stigma, reframing it as a transition rather than a failure. Divorce isn’t always a negative outcome; it can be a necessary acknowledgment that a marriage has reached its end, allowing individuals to say yes to a new chapter in life.

Historically, divorce has disproportionately affected women, especially financially. As more women work and the gender pay gap narrows, the impact of divorce on women may decrease. A feminist view of marriage as a partnership between equals can lead to longer-lasting and more stable unions. States with lower marriage ages and gender inequality tend to have higher divorce rates, while liberal states show the opposite trend.

Conservatives advocating for traditional gender roles and early marriage may not contribute to lasting marriages. Some states are even targeting no-fault divorce, further stigmatizing the process.

Stigma creates shame, hindering rational and generous behavior during divorce. A supportive cultural and policy landscape can help divorcing couples navigate this challenging transition with calm and rationality.

People should not fear losing essential resources like health insurance, retirement savings, or housing for children due to divorce. Creating a culture that views divorce as a necessary transition rather than a failure, along with policy changes in healthcare, gender equality, and support for the poor and aging, can lead to better, fairer, and less traumatic divorces. It’s about shifting towards seeing divorce as a dignified conclusion to one chapter in life’s complicated and often wonderful story.

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