Thursday, August 13, 2009

A “feminist wedding” is an oxymoron

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Summer is the most popular time for weddings. Driving by a church on a Saturday afternoon will most often mean watching a bride and groom pose for pictures while families smile with what is in some cases constructed glee. Though many mainstream feminists claim to have thrown off the mantle of princess, when the white dress and alter call it all comes rushing back in a wave of bad bridesmaid dresses and tacky dances at the reception. How many have done the Macarena at a reception, forcing a smile, while desperately counting how many more of these “celebratory” events were left on the calendar for the year?

No matter what conventions we change, a wedding will always be a wedding, even though reclamation is very popular in progressive circles. Many have also worked hard to reclaim words like “b*tch” and “slut,” but show me one woman that is happy to be called either name and I’ll show you a woman so drunk on patriarchal values that a polyester turtleneck in the middle of July seems like a good idea.

Can we just be honest between us girls? No matter how committed we are to feminist ideals, each day in small ways we collude with patriarchy to maintain male hegemony.

We could burn every single bra we own, throw all of our makeup out, grow hair on our bodies until we can braid it, and purchase stock in Birkenstocks, but by choosing to live in society we cannot avoid acting in ways which support the subordination of women. To lead a totally feminist existence, we would have to move to some deserted island and lead a subsistence-geared life, solely in the company of our fellow eschewers of the great phallus. Since I cannot think of any modern tribes of Amazons, it is safe to assume that despite our best intentions as womanists/feminists, we daily collude with patriarchy.

Reading the writings of progressive women it is clear that we watch movies like “40-Year Old Virgin” and television shows like “Big Love” even though we know that they contain an anti-woman message. In our less guarded moments, we might even admit to laughing when we know damn well we should be shaking our fists with rage. Some of us will even secretly say “but I’m a girl” to avoid doing something gross like taking out the garbage or rescuing a mouse that our cat caught, yet when it comes to admitting that participating in a ceremony that has its foundation in treating women like property, the blinders come out faster than you can say something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

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