I got engaged last month to The Man of My Dreams, and have since been working on planning a June 2009 wedding. However, I never expected the large volume of traditional dudely dominance issues that I would encounter along the way. No matter how hard I try, the ceremony always seems to be reduced to some kind of enraging woman-ownership festival designed to celebrate my willing entrance into a life of servitude and imprisonment. What's a feminist writer to do? Here are some of the situations I've encountered thus far.
1) Creepy patriarchal ministers. I'm Taoist and my fiance is Catholic, so we're going to have a nondenominational Christian ceremony. The only thing I'm worried about is being married by one of those eerie old-school reverends that turns your ceremony into an opportunity to advertise for the inherent submissiveness of wives. No thanks, bucko! I've circumvented this issue by securing a female minister to marry us, and I'm planning on discussing my beliefs with her before the ceremony to ensure there are no sneaky allusions to female slavery included in the service.
2) Snippets from women-hating literature. Wedding ceremonies always seem to include readings from the paramount canon of misogynist literature, the Bible. My fiance wanted to have some Bible verses featured in the ceremony readings, and he assured me that they wouldn't have anything to do with how much women suck. I felt a little bad about it, but I had to veto the idea on principle. It would be like a Christian allowing readings from The Satanic Verses in their wedding. Luckily, the fiance seems to understand and is fine with including women-friendly readings from The Prophet instead.
3) The concept of "giving me away." My father, the family patriarch who apparently currently owns me, is supposed to "give" me to my husband, who will subsequently become my new owner. WTF? I'm not sure what I can do about this one, though. It seems like it's important to my dad.
4) People telling me how to plan my wedding. Okay, I know that everyone gives you their 2 cents about your wedding whether you're a man or a woman, but as an independent and headstrong feminist, I take special offense to it. People, and especially family members, seem to get so caught up in all the material aspects of the wedding ("What?! You have to have centerpieces!!"), when I'm trying my hardest to make it about celebrating love and happiness. The world will NOT come to an end if we don't serve a three-course dinner, so get over it everyone.
5) Bridal garb. According to tradition, I'm supposed to wear a veil over my face, and a 20-pound white contraption that isn't in the least bit comfortable, in order to symbolize my virginity and purity. The jig is up people, I'm crazy about sex and have absolutely no interest in hiding that fact. Now get that crap away from me!
As you can see, I'm doing my best to keep the evil forces of oppression at bay. I think our wedding should be a reflection of the true nature of our relationship, which is completely equal and free of dominance, instead of adhering to annoying women-hating traditions. Websites like Offbeat Bride have been a great help, as have the support of my various married female friends who have endured all this crap already. Now keep your bias off my gender, society!