Sexism in Wedding Traditions (not that anyone really cares)

I always knew there was a hint of sexism in traditional American wedding ceremonies (I mean, how can you not notice it?), but now that I’m planning my own wedding I am beginning to realize just how sexist the traditional wedding ceremony is. While most people don’t think it’s a big enough deal to care about, I do. 

To start with, having the bride’s family pay for the wedding festivities actually streams from the old custom of giving the man’s family a dowry. Almost as if to say, “Here, we’ll pay you to take her!” In other cases, the man would give livestock to the father in exchange for the daughter. Essentially, the daughter’s worth was based on how much the father could make off of her.

One of the most disturbing things I hear at weddings is when the wedding minister says, “Who gives this woman to this man?” The father proudly says, “I do.” as if she is property to be given away. This would make sense if we were living in the 1200s where fathers chose husbands for their daughters, but this is no longer the case for the most part. There is not a trade off between the father and the groom, the woman chooses for herself who she wants to marry. There really is no good reason to include this tradition anymore.

I must have come out of the womb as a feminist because this next point has troubled me for as long as I can remember. Traditionally, the woman takes the man’s last name, but this isn’t really the problem for me. The problem is when the minister announces the couple as, “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.” So now the woman completely loses her identity because she gets married? Once again, this isn’t the first century. Women are getting married because they want to, not because they must do so for survival.

Why do we romanticize something that people fought so hard to change?

It is the small things like the man standing on the right side (symbolizing the right hand of God), the veil being worn over the bride’s face, the minister saying, “You may now kiss the bride,” that make me throw up a little. Basically, the whole traditional wedding ceremony is just one big, sexist mess. This is 2015 and you should be able to have a wedding without the pressure of following these unnecessary traditions. If these traditions are what you choose, then that’s your own right, but please remember the people who fought to give you your individual status and remember that your identity doesn’t lie within a man or a marriage license.

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11 thoughts on “Sexism in Wedding Traditions (not that anyone really cares)

  1. Yes!! Love this. I’m planning my wedding right now, and I too have come across things that I’m just now starting to question. There are certain things we do only out of tradition, and I feel like nobody cares enough to step up and ask, “Why do we still do this?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m having both my parents walk me partially down the aisle…or more like I’m walking them to their seats lol I’ll walk the rest of the way alone. I wanted to walk alone, but my parents are sentimental and their feelings mean more to me than fighting the system, at least in this case. For the final kiss, we aren’t saying “You may now kiss the bride” or anything like that. We’ll have the song Kiss Me cue the kiss, and we won’t be “Introducing Mr. and Mrs. insert husbands first and last name…” or any kind of announcing at all.

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  2. I loved this! My dad walked me down the aisle because my parents are traditional and I was happy to honor him. Instead of him “giving me away,” the minister asks, “Who comes to bless this couple?” Both of our immediate families were standing in a semi-circle at the front and said, “We do.”

    I HATE HATE HATE “Mrs. Erich Steger.” HATE IT. Every single card we received from his side of the family was addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Erich Steger.” It broke my heart. I felt unseen, especially from his family. I didn’t even know if they knew my name. For a while, I was so upset by it that I considered not changing my last name. I felt like my identity had been stripped away from me in an instant. It also ticked me off that I had to go through the annoying name change process while he didn’t. I don’t actually mind taking on his last name, but I did not sign up for losing my first name.

    End rant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate “Mrs. *insert husbands name*” too. It makes my skin crawl. I’m so sorry that was your experience 😦

      I don’t know how into writing you are, but if you’re up for writing an article about your experience I’m definitely interested in having you as a guest post!

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      1. I’m pretty into writing. 😉 I’d love to guest post! I was going to write about that experience for my blog anyways, so this works out perfectly! I’ll get you the article in a couple days. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You captured my thoughts…it’s really worse in Nigeria; the woman is like a piece of meat, the traditional marriage is like a sale. The man’s family brings whatever the woman’s family demands for and there’s and exchange, what makes it really bad for me is when the church of God tells you that your marriage won’t be valid in the sight of God if this exchange is not done…. (excuse me while I go puke).
    I suffered through the entire ceremony because I absolutely love my mum (she raised 4 of us alone) and it was important to her. My husband however, loves my feminist heart and wouldn’t change it for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

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