Monday, June 15, 2009

A Feminist Wedding has gone global

Check it out!

Recently I had a long chat with a Houston Chronicle reporter about feminist weddings. Lo and behold she decided to being the article with the very loaded statement:

"Alix Sobler is getting married."

No joke. That is how it begins. The very first sentence.

Holy shit!

The article goes on to talk to many interesting women, self-designated feminists, (and non) about their experience getting married and planning a feminist wedding. I thought the article was great, but because of space requirements and other interest interviews there were many points I had made to the reporter that were not included. I think I will make some of them now.

*One of the most "feminist" things about my wedding, is that in a way, it came after my marriage. Jason and I have been together 7 (!) years. We arrived at the decision to have a wedding after we lived together, after our finances were combined, after we had all the big talks regarding family and religion, after we had shared equity, after we adopted two children of the feline persuasion...neither of us felt pressured by the other one to hurry up and commit. We truly had a marriage before a wedding, and that made the decision an easy one.

*In some ways our wedding will seem very traditional on the surface. White dress, walks down the aisle, etc. There are many hard core feminist couples who got married in hiking boots on the top of the mountain that scoff at the very notion of me calling my very Jewy, somewhat traditional wedding feminist at all. But here's the thing: In an effort NOT to make this day all about my (read: the bride's) experience, to include family and friends and relatives to whom this is an important event, (not to mention the groom,) I have had to make some concessions as well. (I was forbidden, FORBIDDEN to have an outside wedding, even with a tent by some senior members of my family. Could I have gone ahead and done it? Probably, but because this is not THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE as a woman, I realized that we should take other people's feelings into consideration. Within reason.)

* The bottom line in this. A lot of hard core feminists believe that marriage is an outdated, patriarchal institution that has no place for feminists. If that is true, then why not just say, "F it, I am already engaging in an anti-feminist ideal, why not go all the way with the veil and the doves and the whole shebang?" And I have struggled with this. But I think there needs to be room to reassign the meaning of marriage. In my experience my marriage has already been one of equality and mutual respect. We share everything from money and housekeeping to our frustrations and hopes. There is nothing "inherently patriarchal" about my marriage, and maybe that is a new option within in the last 100 years, but its true. So if we can reassign the meaning of marriage, maybe its not such a stretch to reassign the meaning behind weddings. And here is my first reassignment:

THE WHITE DRESS: For generations it has symbolized the virginity and therefore value of the bride. I love a white dress, but it was not enough for me to say, "Well, it makes me stand out." So here is my new meaning, at least partially. On the day of my wedding, my partner and I start a new. The white of my dress will signify a clean slate, a blank page, a new chance for us to write our story. Its not that all that has come before is forgotten, but lets say we are getting our chance for another fresh start, the next chapter, this time as an officially married couple.

Who's with me?

Check out the full article in The Houston Chronicle.