Getting married should be a joyous time in your life, but it often leads to a lot of stress for women. Trust me, I know. I’m getting married at the end of 2017 and couldn’t possibly be more excited to be uniting my life with my partner. But somehow, even for small and fairly casual weddings like mine, women are burdened with having to do all of the planning and consequently all of the stressing out. Seriously, why is that?
Besides this extremely gendered separation of duties during wedding planning, the truth of the matter is that there are plenty of other sexist traditions that happen during weddings. As a lifelong feminist, some wedding traditions never really made sense to me (like the whole “asking permission” to marry you thing) and others I later realized were really unfair (like the bride’s family being solely financially responsible for the wedding).
While planning a wedding is different for everyone (just like the decision to have kids or even get married in the first place), there are some traditions that you’re probably not on board with if you’re a feminist or just, you know, a proud, independent Latina. Here are 12 traditions that feminists struggle with… And while it’s totally okay to have some of these at your wedding, it’s important to be aware of the choices you’re making too.
Having your papi “give you away”.
While some women wait for this moment, the reality is that it’s steeped in the old school, very anti-feminist tradition of your father transferring ownership of you from himself to your new husband. Um, nobody owns anybody these days. No, thanks!
Whether or not you should take your husband’s last name.
No matter how you put it, taking your husband’s last name is another claim of ownership. Although this is a deeply personal choice, there are plenty of alternatives. You can instead keep your last name, each take each other’s last names, your husband can take YOUR name for a chance or you can even come up with a whole new last name together.
Wearing an engagement ring.
Engagement rings are really pricey, and why? Primarily, it’s the fault of the diamond industry for promoting this whole “a diamond is forever” mentality in the 1930s and 40s. Plus, wearing a ring before marriage (while your fiancé wears none) is extremely gendered and problematic.
Being introduced as “Mrs. X” only.
After you’re married, you should probably expect a lot of mail that says “Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s Full Name.” Um, what?! Since when does getting married mean that you cease to exist as a person? It feels especially insulting when the woman has a higher title (such as “doctor”) than her husband but the introduction is still “Mrs. Whatever.”
At the end of the ceremony, being named “man and wife.”
I’m sorry, but… “man and wife” is just the implication that the male partner in the relationship remains a man – he remains himself while the woman (you) is now a “wife.” You’re no longer a woman, apparently, but only seen by this label.
Throwing a bouquet and wearing a garter.
Throwing a bouquet at the end of the night is one of the most anti-feminist things you can do. You’re basically asking your single friends to fight for who gets married next, as if the only thing that matters in this world is putting a rock on your finger. Yuck!
Dieting and exercising like a madwoman until the Big Day.
How many women practically kill themselves with a rigorous diet and exercise program before their wedding? And why, exactly? The obligation to look your best on your wedding day is ridiculous, since your groom definitely already knows and loves you for just how you are already.
The “13 gold coins” ceremony.
This tradition in many Latino households involves the groom giving his bride 13 gold coins as a symbol of his promise to always be the provider and her acceptance symbolizes that she will take care of the money. This doesn’t at all take into account that, today, typically both husband and wife work and should (at least in theory) both be financially responsible for their lives together.
That the financial responsibility is on YOUR parents only.
Whether or not you want a huge wedding, the tradition that the bride’s family pays for the wedding is again all about the whole “ownership” thing. Don’t go there. Plus, it’s completely unfair for one side of the family to be shelling out the money when two people are uniting their lives together. Instead, either plan to split the costs between families or you and your future hubby handle it yourselves.
The obligation to wear a white wedding dress and veil.
Did you know that back in the day the reason brides wear a veil is to hide their faces from their grooms, in case they change their minds? This was back when arranged marriages were the thing. And don’t even get me started on that whole “white dress equals virginity” thing. Wear what you want, chica.
Your groom giving a speech and you being left out.
I’ve never been to a wedding where the bride gave a speech, not ONE! How weird is that? Instead, it is seen as the groom’s responsibility to stand up at the end of the night and thank all of the guests for coming. Clearly, what you must do here is make sure you both get speaking time at the end of the evening.
Asking for “permission” to marry you.
Ah yes, the one that started it all. Many fathers-of-the-bride still see this one as a “must” but have you ever sat down to think about what this says about you? Just as with walking you down the aisle, this is the biggest display of “your father owns you, then your husband owns you” BS that I have ever seen. As I told my fiancé before we got engaged: If you even attempt to do this, I will NOT be saying “yes” to a proposal.