founder Jessica Valenti approached her impending nuptials determined to avoid the sexist traditions so often associated with marriage
. But she was surprised by the strong reactions from her friends, fans and anonymous commenters who called her a "ball-cutting cybersuccubus."
Some think Valenti is trying to have her (wedding) cake and eat it, too, while others say, "What, feminists can't get married?" In fact, our own staff agrees to disagree. After the jump, two Lemondroppers present their cases.Julie, Associate Editor:
As a hardcore feminist, I'm often on the extreme (extreme!) left on issues (pro-choice, anti-gun -- you get the idea). But when it comes to marriage, not so much.
Yes, marriage is a hetero-sexist tradition fraught with tons of sexist ideals (women having to "obey" their husbands, for one, and losing their personhood into the terminology of "man and wife" for another). But! That doesn't mean that it's a tradition completely without merit. The deep bond and commitment that marriage signifies is deeply appealing.
I believe that feminism should be less about developing stringent rules for women and more about honoring women's freedom to choose how you want to live your life. If traditional marriage makes you happy, then you shouldn't have to worry about losing entry into the feminist party. Feminism should be multifaceted enough to welcome women who want to marry, and those who don't without judging or punishing anyone. Emily, Contributing Editor:
Look, I believe in the kind of kinder, gentler feminism that allows for happy homemaking and kinky sex practices, but I'm not sure there's any such thing as a sexism-free wedding.
Even if you manage to eliminate all the overtly sexist traditions like promising to "obey" and taking your husband's last name, you can't escape the fact that the institution itself was created and built on inequality. You can scrub away the part of the wedding where the bride's father "gives her away" to the groom, but you can't change the history of the institution.
And today, studies show marriage is still less beneficial for women, who report poorer mental and physical health in marriage than men
, and continue to take on the lion's share of housework and parenting duties in the marital home
. Whether you wear a white dress or not, it won't change the fact that marriage doesn't exist in society to benefit women -- it's set up to benefit men.
For those reasons, I'm afraid "feminist wedding" is still an oxymoron.Tell us! Are wedding inherently sexist?
Amelia at The Frisky
has some strong feelings on Jessica's situation, too: "Jessica, this is your wedding, not the feminist movement's wedding. You're getting married. You have nothing to be sorry for. Your wedding is about you, and him, and your family and friends, and you're fighting an uphill battle..." click here to read the rest