Thursday, June 14, 2007

Weddings and Feminism

Engagement, weddings, and marriages are popping up on the blogsphere again, and whether or not it's possible to engage in a traditionally anti-feminist institution in a feminist manner. Pandagon,(with an additional follow-up) Feministe, and Hugo have some thought-provoking posts (and really interesting threads, if you ignore the trolls).

This is highly relevant to me, because I did recently get engaged, and I am worried about buying into an anti-feminist tradition. I am worried that I am going to fall into traditional gender roles, and I am worried about supporting the historical aspects of marriage that I find entirely distasteful. I am trying to mitigate the harm I may cause by getting married, but is that really enough?

And, the first link to Pandagon is starting to convince me that I cannot get away from this, because of ignorance of the traditions in the first place. This is embarrassing, and possibly a bit weird, but I was not aware that engagement rings were not exchanged. I did not know that it was just for the women: I assumed that everybody exchanged engagement rings, like they exchanged wedding rings. Not so, and they have a really horrible history.

YET, I want to say that I'm doing things differently. My ring isn't a diamond, and like I already said, we exchanged rings. I proposed, my father's permission was not (and will not) be asked, I am not wearing white, I'm having bridesmen and he's have groomsmaids, my father's not walking me down the aisle, and I'm not having it in a church. We've already agreed that we'll both work, and the theory is that our housework is going to be split evenly (and it's more or less working, so far). Are we egalitarian enough? Is it even a redeemable institution?

I want the social benefits. I want to be legally sanctioned-relationship, with all of the legal benefits. I want to be in a socially-sanctioned relationship, with all of the social benefits. But I do not want to be a wife, I want to be a "spouse". Can I have that?


At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been married 20 years.
She asked me
no engagement ring. (I gave her an engagement ring 2 months ago on our 20th)
non-traditional for sure.
however it was in a church as we had a close friend that was a pastor.

we have always wanted a 50-50 relationship....

works pretty well but you will fall into..."I always do this stuff, and she always does that stuff"...
but we try to shake it up as often as possible.

"we" can do whatever "we" want to do..which is cool.

your version of "we" can do the same.....let the others on the sidelines shake their's your life....

At 7:18 PM, Blogger LtRand said...

I think it's possible. A lot of work, sure, because you both will have days were you come home from the office and just want to sit and veg, but it's workable.

As far as engagement rings go, yeah, it's got it's ancient history, but it is what you make of it. I don't know how concerned you are with the views of others, but I personally never cared. I had two friends who were getting married that both wore engagement rings. Their parents gave them odd looks, but I just think it's like anything else, the younger generations are more egaltarian than the older generations. A sign for me of hope at least.

At 7:20 PM, Blogger LtRand said...

Sorry I forgot to mention, but I'm Bryan from pandagon. Thanks for honestly answering my question without ridicule btw.


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