26 December 2007

Marriage

Courtesy of www.chicago-smile-makeovers.com


Marriage has probably been once of the most difficult areas for me to come to terms with as a feminist. Although to a certain extent, I have always felt that women are underrepresented in Parliament, in business and in academia, to give a few examples, and I was aware of other inequalities, I only started to actively identify as 'feminist' a few years ago. Until I did that, I had always imagined that I wanted a white wedding, not necessarily large, but definitely with a big white dress, and in a church.

Then I became a feminist, and I started to think about the traditions which surround weddings. I read interesting articles like this, this, and this. I began to wonder about the overtones of ownership, transfer of property, virginity, as well as more modern traditions, for example, the way that the press refers to 'bridezillas'. I don't know how I fit into this. My partner had a very traditional upbringing, and, although he is sympathetic to feminist values, would like to get married one day. Deep down, I would too. I went to a wedding at the weekend, and it was an interesting experience for me. I haven't been to a wedding since I started to identify as a feminist. It was in a church, and I was even more convinced that that sort of wedding was not for me. I hate the idea of being given away by my father; I am not a piece of property to be handed over! I don't believe in God, and so all of the references to God within the service would be meaningless to me. I don't want a significant part of my wedding ceremony to be either meaningless or offensive to me. I want every word to have significance. I want it to be personal. I want it to reflect me, my partner, and our relationship. So I guess a church wedding is out then!

But there were things which I felt that I do want to have one day. I would like to be legally and emotionally unified with my partner by going through a ceremony which is meaningful to both of us. I would like to show my family and friends the commitment which I have to him, and which he has to me. I would like to have the same last name (more to come on that later!).

Will I wear a white dress? I don't know. I have very mixed feelings about it. I don't like the overtones of purity and virginity, which it is intended to imply. However, I don't want to remove all tradition from my day, so that it is not recognisable as a wedding. Also, I love dresses, and I like the idea of wearing a beautiful white dress - I'll only get the opportunity once after all!

I expect that I will make a speech at the reception. The day is about me and my partner - I should be able to have a say! I will not throw my bouquet. If women attending my wedding want to get married, then they should ask their partners themselves, rather than relying on antiquated traditions to try to get their partners to propose to them!

I imagine that we will double-barrel our names. My name is quite unusual, and it is so much a part of me, and how I define myself, that I cannot imagine being without it. My partner's is very common, and will go well with mine. I think this is a wonderful way for us to show our commitment to one another. It is symbolic of how we intend to keep our own identities, but also how our lives will become unified, by keeping our own names, but also gaining the name of the other. I am a 'Ms' now, and I expect that that will not change.

As for the proposal, engagement rings etc, I guess I'll wait and see how it pans out. I would certainly not rule out proposing to him, but I won't say definitely whether or not I will because he reads this blog! If he proposed with an engagement ring, I would be happy. I love all jewelry, and I am a complete magpie when it comes to shiny things like diamonds. He knows this, and I suppose as long as he understands the terms on which I would wear such a ring, then I would be able to wear it happily.

This was a bit of a stream of consciousness post, but it is helpful to get these things written down. I often find that writing things down helps me to clarify my stance on various issues. I suppose what I want most is a day that my partner and I can look back on happily, and which fits in with our worldview and values system.

1 comment:

Issa said...

Im living in the Czech Republic for a year, 1 of the first language rules I learnt is that married women and all women have a ´kova´ or ´Ah´ at the end of their name, the Kova in women means ´belongs to´ and that disturbed me, I´ve realised its no different to taking on your husbands name. Again theres links to slavery and the way ownership was forced on then, taking away their names alongside their native language and histories.
I grew up knowing I was gay, so the idea of children and white weddings was, with no questions asked thrown away in the bin for me and I havent cared since. There are ways to show commitment, but what your talking about, weddings and giving up a huge part of your identity -your surname, ur legacy- is ownership. Are your lives not unified now, that you are not married or ─║egally ´commited´ to each other. I respect your preference and I really do hope things pan out how you´ve hoped they would, but whilst your asking for something that isn´t full of the traditional. Thats exactly what you´ve described.
All the best