Oh, look, weddings are getting more feminist, cites a new survey that Time rightly calls out as “debatable at best.” The study points to a changing tide in wedding culture as follows: Fewer women are changing their names. Fewer women are wearing virginal white. Fewer women are blinging out on blood diamonds.
You can call these decisions feminist or you can just call them consequences of our socio-political times. Name identity has been fluid for years, and is not the sticking point it used to be for feminists–and can even be a feminist act. Wedding dresses are nothing if not a fashion statement, and with serious rock stars like Gwen Stefani and Tina Turner wearing frocks like these, why wouldn’t more women choose to be individual? (p.s., super feminist gals, those two). And diamonds are an expensive extravagance most can’t entertain in these hard economic times.
The study is narrow-minded and lazy, and, in my opinion, yet another way to co-opt the word, “feminism,” and misappropriate it for media attention. And, look, it worked.
The real feminist issues with marriage are as follows:
Equality. It needs to exist in the relationship, period. Whether it’s “man and wife,” “wife and wife,” or “man and man,” a feminist union is one that divides domestic and economic responsibilities equally.
Respect. Till death do you part or whatever, but you’d better treat that person fairly every day. Every party in a couple needs to advocate this for himself or herself.
Options. The more, the merrier. Couples can commit in more ways than traditional marriage. They can live together, blend families, join in domestic partnership, and even happily just date for as long as they damn well please. And gay couples are only just exploring their options.
The Culture of “The Breadwinner”: Despite career gains by women in nearly every industry, the wage gap still exists and workplace policies tend to view men as providers, and because of that they’re paid more. When women do decide to have children, they are subject to a whole new set of prejudices. Fighting for fair family leave is a feminist issue for everybody.
Less “Me”and More “We”: Stepping back from the princess fantasy of a bride’s “big day” is a move we could use to make for the sake of feminism–not to mention reality television programming. Is it ok to wear a pretty dress and exchange jewelry? Of course. But putting all the emphasis of the wedding on the bride, making it all about what she wears, how much she spent on her shoes, and the time it took to construct her hair is the antithesis of what marriage is supposed to be about. It also reinforces the sexist notion that a woman’s worth is all tied up in her looks.
Two of my favorite people are getting married next month and their wedding is shaping up to be one of the most personalized parties ever. There will be hand-painted celebration flags and flowers in hair (her), ice cream sandwiches and moonshine (him), and everybody they love standing around eating artisan tacos and cheering on their ability to share healthcare costs and someday buy a home together. And, of course, their lasting love.