F**king the patriarchy (without f**king over your patriarch…)
*It’s yet another Two Post Tuesday – don’t forget to check out this morning’s post with some amazing input from the AOW community on combining your finances*
This post is just the very heart of why Any Other Wedding came about. It absolutely sums up one of the reasons that I created AOW – there are a lot of hard choices to be made when wedding planning (and no, I don’t mean which colour napkins to have) and I wanted to create a space where we could all work through these decisions. I am incredibly lucky to have been joined in this by my two batshit wonderful co-conspirators, but also by all of you who keep sending in posts that challenge and educate us, and those of you who comment with your wisdom and advice.
This post is written by Lorna (of Ask AOW – the Budget Edition) and it really spoke to me when it landed in our inbox.
Weddings traditionally have a lot of anti-feminist baggage around them, and as modern women we have to wade through a lot of this baggage to decide what is important to us, and what we know deep inside isn’t right for us. And then be prepared to have it all challenged. And that’s exactly what Lorna is going to talk about today…
Iam an unashamed, unabashed ardent feminist. I like my legs hairy (well, I don’talways shave them the first day that I should – that’s the same thing, right?)and my party guests slightly embarrassed by my ravings about equal pay. So whenit came to wedding planning, I was going to do it the feminist way:independent, empowered by my choices, strong and, y’know, feminist-y.
Thismeant banishing traditions that upheld the concept of the patriarchy. I wouldnot have speeches whilst I sat silent, like some sort of mute princess. I hatewedding speeches, personally. I always get up and go to the toilet during them.I can’t listen to them for the same reason I can’t watch The Office- I have anactual, real life physical reaction to cringe-y events. It makes my eyeballsitch or my heart squirm or other things of this nature. My wedding was havingno speeches. Boyfriend agreed, because I had ‘fiery eyes’ when I said it.
Iwas also not going to be ‘given away’ because that is ridiculous. I don’tbelong to anyone but myself. The line ‘who gives this woman…’ raises a sort ofangry bile in my throat at other people’s weddings, never mind the reaction Iwould have at my own. It makes me SO angry, I would probably march out leavingpoor Boyfriend at the altar, a bit confused but mostly regretting asking such acrazy person to marry him in the first place. My solution to this particularproblem was to have both parents walk me down the aisle (I’m not doing it alonebecause I will need someone to remind me I don’t actually need to pee right now,it’s just nerves.) By having both parents, I hoped that everyone would get themessage that I was not another pawn in the patriarchal game, but someone who operatedby her own rules. I felt invincible- a badass feminist, challenging conceptionsand generally being awesome.
Thenmy mum phoned. My dad was hurt. Properly hurt. I’d basically written all hisbits, the bits where he gets to feelawesome and badass, right out of the wedding. This was not a good feeling. SureI had f**ked the patriarchy well and good, but I’d f**ked over my very ownpatriarch, who has feelings and is lovely in the process. Bad times. My dad haseven gone to the trouble of getting a kilt, which is something he hadpreviously said would happen ‘over his cold, dead, rotting body’ (we’re allquite dramatic in our family…)
So,as with so many things in weddings and life, I’ve had to compromise. My dadwill walk WITH me down the aisle, not to give me away, but because of the peething. The priest will not be asking ‘who gives this women…’ (my dad agreedthis is not acceptable, he’s a bit of a feminist too) and dad will thankeveryone for coming in the only speech of the evening.
WhenI talked to him about the speech, I explained how the traditional ‘my daughteris fabulous’ speech bothered me as it promoted the concept that the bride issomehow still being sold in some way- like he’s saying ‘honestly, you got areally good deal, she’s only done 10,000 miles (I’ve probably done nearer50,000…) Instead, I asked him to talk about how he and my mum have made theirmarriage work over the last 27 years. He was excited about it.
Isthis foolproof? Probably not. I will inevitably hurt someone, somewhere in theprocess, but I think I’ve just about managed to make this compromise work forus all. I’m still being a badass feminist, just one who’s nice to her dad. Ihad long ago decided that I didn’t want to change my name, but I didn’t want tohave a different surname from my kids, so double-barrelling was the bestcompromise. In effect, I’ve double-barrelled my wedding. Win-win all round.