Sunday, July 23, 2023


Just for fun and because I find AI interesting. I asked the following question to OpenAI's CharGPT:

Write a magazine length article on early feminist thoughts and writings advocating for the elimination of alimony.

Here is ChatGPT's answer:

Title: Redefining Equality: Early Feminist Thoughts on Alimony and its Elimination


The feminist movement has witnessed a remarkable evolution throughout history, with women tirelessly fighting for their rights and gender equality. Among the various issues that early feminists addressed, the topic of alimony emerged as a particularly contentious and complex matter. Alimony, traditionally awarded to financially dependent spouses after divorce or separation, was seen by some feminists as perpetuating gender inequalities and reinforcing traditional gender roles. This article delves into the early feminist thoughts and writings that advocated for the elimination of alimony and explored the ramifications of this proposal on women's empowerment.

  • The Roots of Alimony

Historically, alimony emerged from English common law as a means to ensure the financial support of wives who were left economically vulnerable after divorce or separation. In patriarchal societies, women were often financially dependent on their husbands due to limited opportunities for employment and property ownership. Alimony was intended to compensate for this economic disparity, albeit reinforcing traditional gender roles and perpetuating women's dependence on men.

  • Early Feminist Critiques

Early feminist thinkers recognized the inherent inequality embedded in the alimony system. They argued that alimony perpetuated the notion that women were inherently incapable of financial independence, reinforcing the notion that women's primary role was that of a homemaker and caregiver. This perspective conflicted with the feminist ideals of gender equality and challenged the traditional belief that women's financial well-being was solely dependent on their husbands.

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Economics of Divorce

One of the pioneers of early feminist thought, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, challenged the notion of alimony in her seminal work "Women and Economics" (1898). Gilman argued that alimony created a financial incentive for women to remain married, regardless of their happiness or the presence of abuse in the relationship. By promoting economic dependence, the alimony system hindered women's ability to seek independence and live fulfilling lives outside traditional marital confines.

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Radical Propositions

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a key figure in the first-wave feminist movement, went even further by advocating for the complete abolition of alimony. Stanton believed that the alimony system not only hindered women's progress but also perpetuated the idea that marriage was primarily an economic contract. In her landmark "The Woman's Bible" (1895), Stanton argued that alimony undermined the true essence of marriage based on love, mutual respect, and equality. By eliminating alimony, she believed that women could pursue financial independence without fear of being trapped in unhappy marriages.

  • Challenges and Opposition

The proposals for eliminating alimony were met with significant opposition from traditionalists who feared that it would disrupt the sanctity of marriage and exacerbate the financial burden on men. Critics argued that alimony was necessary to protect women from economic hardship in cases of divorce or separation. They contended that, without alimony, many women would be left destitute, especially in a society with limited employment opportunities for women.

  • A Step Towards Gender Equality

The debate surrounding alimony provided an opportunity for early feminists to redefine gender roles and advocate for greater financial independence for women. While the immediate elimination of alimony faced resistance, the discussions prompted legal reforms that aimed to ensure a fairer distribution of assets and financial support during divorce proceedings.

  • Legacy and Contemporary Relevance

The early feminist writings advocating for the elimination of alimony set the stage for ongoing discussions on gender equality within the legal system. In modern times, many jurisdictions have reformed their divorce laws to promote equitable distribution of assets and spousal support, regardless of gender. The focus has shifted from providing alimony based on gender to assessing individual financial needs and contributions during marriage.


The early feminist thoughts and writings on the elimination of alimony marked a critical milestone in the ongoing struggle for gender equality. While their radical propositions were not immediately embraced, they laid the groundwork for significant changes in divorce laws and challenged societal norms regarding the role of women in marriage. Today, the pursuit of gender equality continues, with the legacy of these pioneering feminists guiding the way towards a more just and equitable future.

Interesting answer. Also informative. I have certainly read a bit about early feminist arguments against alimony (early on NOW formally sought to end the practice) but don't recall Elizabeth Cady Stanton arguing against it.

As a sidebar, I am one of those people who believes AI is tool not a threat. At least no more of a threat than the invention of the Internet, the Industrial Revolution, or the Gutenberg's printing press. I may have to play around with it more but don't worry, I am still me and the musings on this site will be all mine. 

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