Family,  Religion

Wedding sexism

It is interesting for me to see how much I’ve changed over the years. During the wedding rehearsal on Friday I kept sputtering to myself about the sexism in the service. No one seemed to find it odd but me. In fact the bridesmaid next to me seemed very offended that I was offended so after my first involuntary outburst I kept my comments inside.

It started with the end of the ceremony. We all got lined up on stage and then practiced the recessional first so we knew our order. The pastor said, “Then I’ll say I now introduce Mr. and Mrs. (My brother’s name). Cue music.” I involuntarily mutter, “And all your feminism goes out the door.” That was the start of the bridesmaid next to me keeping a wary eye on me all weekend.

At my wedding we skipped that because of the titles. I don’t care if people use my title but if they are going to use a title with me it better be the right one. Mr. and Dr. sounds like I am trying to make a point so we were introduced by our first names.

I had recovered from that bout of righteous indigination by the time we practiced the processional. Then the bride and her dad came in. They met my brother at the bottom of the aisle and the pastor started this speech about how since she was born my SIL was cared for totally by her father and now he was giving her to her husband and it was his job to care for her every need. I was in full uproar again. (But silently for the benefit of other people.) The SIL is very educated and has a job and has lived on her own. Right then she was living with her parents but she definately wasn’t sitting around waiting for her prince to show up and provide for her every need.

After rehearsal I started ranting to the husband. He humored me since there was nothing to do about it. No one else seemed mortified.

So the day of the wedding comes. They get to the anti-feminist rant part (as I was calling it by now to the husband). The pastor modified it somewhat to acknowledge the fact that her mother was somewhat involved in the SIL’s raising too. The husband was shooting me amused, significant glances from his side of the stage. I thought they were meant to tell me to be paying attention to the parts about respecting and supporting your husband. He said later that he thought that mentioning the SIL’s mother made it not quite so much of an anti-feminist rant. Sorry, no.

While we were on the trolley-bus waiting to be taken to the reception we got into the discussion again. We were talking to each other but no one around us seemed to have any clue what we were talking about. I don’t know that I would have noticed the sexism while I was still Christian. I’ve never watched my wedding video. It might be interesting to go back and see just what I agreed to. Probably not a good idea though. It would just get me upset.


  • Leslie

    There are still a lot of people out there that want the traditional weddings, but I’ve done several that were quite unique. Most people are satisfied, though, with leaving out the ‘obey’ thing. When my mother was married the second time, the nervous young minister, doing is first wedding, left the obey phrase in. There was almost a riot among the women in the church. Mom was so happy she didn’t even notice!

  • Birdsong

    We just attended a wonderful wedding Sunday, designed by the bride and groom, who asked a friend to officiate (here in CA., you can get a “short-term” permit to do this). The bride walked herself in, thank you very much, wearing a bright orange dress she had designed and made, with her hair dyed to match. Much of the ceremony was written and/or edited to agree with their outlook on life, and the “officiator” (can’t call him a preacher) mused on how the two came to meet each other and fall in love, as well as read a bit on love and relationships. It was one of the most peaceful weddings I have attended, even though the bride’s friends, groom’s friends, and their families were all quite distinctly different from each other, I think because their assertion of their own values prevailed.

  • Nio

    When I was getting married, my father’s mother asked me who was going to give me away. I said that Wolf and I were going to walk down the “isle” together, that no one was going to give me away (she wanted one of my uncles or my *younger* brother because my dad would not be at the wedding). She told me it wasn’t a real wedding unless someone gave me away. I told her I wasn’t property and wouldn’t be treated as such. She told me I was “too modern.”

    Then I eloped.

  • Jessica

    Our culture’s traditional style of wedding comes from when women were treated as property. I had a Unitarian Universalist wedding. I was pleased with the minister because he came out at the beginning and said he’d refuse to do the tradiational vow of the girl obeying the guy. We of course would not have done that, either. It was very equal and I we were very pleased. He also refused to do “I now declare you man and wife” because that again went back to ownership days. He instead did “husband and wife” if I remember correctly.

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