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Can you get married and still be a feminist?

By admin on July 22nd, 2008 0 comments yet. Be the First

bridalwave.JPGOur foremothers have won amazing battles on our behalf and we’ve continued to fight for equality in almost every aspect of our lives, so is it unfeminist to have a traditional wedding? That’s the question Gary Nunn at The Guardian’s Comment is Free poses.

Gunn says, “In 2008, the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage, it’s breathtaking that any couple invite people to witness this display of patriarchal symbolism. It’s more archaic than the penny-farthing.” Nunn cites the following as examples of how women haven’t found equality in weddings: there’s the ‘giving away’ by a man to another man, taking a man’s name and “…man expecting to erase a woman’s surname and impose his own is just the tip of a glass shard. When a man knows he can have a woman “given away” to him, have all the ceremony’s speeches made by men whilst women remain silent, and have his bride wear white to signify virginity and purity.”

But isn’t it all innocent, romantic fun? Nunn would argue against that, saying, “[it is] equally important we reject all conventions that degrade our future wives. Those who insist white weddings represent innocent symbolism are the same hypocritical commentators who wagged fingers when Prince Harry donned a swastika to a fancy dress party. Sometimes symbols are more damaging than people are prepared to accept.”

But isn’t the fundamental tenet of feminism that women should be able to express themselves however they see fit, be it as corporate boss or at-home-mother, white wedding dress bride or purple frock statement dresser? Shouldn’t we celebrate that we have these choices whilst so many women throughout the world have none? Or is the whole wedding tradition far more sinister than we ever contemplated? I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

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