Comments on: An Alphabet of Feminism #13: M is for Marriage /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/ A feminist pop culture adventure Sat, 15 Jan 2011 11:30:11 +0000 hourly 1 By: Pet Jeffery /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-537 Sat, 15 Jan 2011 11:30:11 +0000 Channel 4 is running a series I’m not sure I could bear to watch called “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings”. I quote from this week’s Radio Times:

Liverpool dressmaker Thelma Madine is the travellers’ designer of choice. “From the minute these girls can walk and talk all they’re thinking about is getting married and getting the dress of their dreams,” she says. “And they all want their dresses to be the biggest.”

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-536 Sat, 15 Jan 2011 11:22:06 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

I hadn’t previously even heard of that T-shirt. For the first time, I’m glad that nowhere I visit regularly has a market.

By: Miranda /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-535 Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:49:01 +0000 In reply to Hodge.

I can regretfully confirm that I *have* seen that shirt on a fair few passers by and passing acquaintances, although thankfully not on any closer friends. Criiiinge.

By: Hodge /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-534 Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:35:53 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

Yeah, like that T-shirt I have (mercifully) never actually seen anyone wear, but which has a certain ubiquity in market stalls:

I think it must go back to the idea that women want commitment and men want sex, hence no groom’s big day (he’s already had sex, and doesn’t want commitment). With the silent woman, I think a lot of the ‘blushing bride’ stereotype is ultimately originally the idea of feminine delicacy about the wedding night: in Sir Charles Grandison, Harriet Byron (engaged) cannot even bring herself to name the wedding day, for fear of seeming too forward.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-533 Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:01:04 +0000 I’m struck by the degree to which weddings focus upon (are for) the bride. I’ve heard them called “bride’s big day”, but never heard even a humorous reference to the “groom’s big day”. A lot of money is usually lavished directly on the bride, who gets to wear the dress (while the groom’s wedding clothes are usually downright dull). BBC3’s series “Don’t Tell the Bride” seems based on the idea that weddings are for the brides. I feel that this level of focus on the woman should please the feminist in me, but it doesn’t. I recall my own wedding (conducted, I’m pleased to add, in a registry office). At the reception, a significant number of people were clearly shocked that the bride insisted on making a speech. Many wedding dresses resemble meringues, and meringues are silent (at least until someone crunches on them).

By: Hodge /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-532 Mon, 10 Jan 2011 23:42:28 +0000 In reply to Simon.

Ah man, I did that in my Special Classes at skool, always wanted to hunt it down again one day…

By: Hodge /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-531 Mon, 10 Jan 2011 23:38:20 +0000 In reply to Rachel.

Ooh, silent readers coming out of the shadows! Thanks for your comment – I’m sure was a particularly thrilling link. I was rather hoping to spread the word about The Marriage of Maria Braun though – a very strange film all round.

Incidentally, re: P&P, one of the things I’ve always found really interesting about Austen’s perception of the marriage market is how she seems to consider the men as much a part of the great bartering scheme as the women – what are Wickham and Willoughby doing, after all, other than trying to get the best financial reward off their looks and charm?

By: Simon /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-530 Mon, 10 Jan 2011 22:18:26 +0000 This comes to mind, I think its a brilliantly subtle
exploration of what Churches – and by extension marriage (sorry,
it’s not quite directly relevant) – could still mean, which avoids
quite endorsing either side of the argument:

By: Rachel /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-529 Mon, 10 Jan 2011 21:51:46 +0000 I’ve enjoyed all of the Alphabet posts so far, but I think
this was the best one yet and I’ve really enjoyed reading through
all the links. This might be because I just finished re-reading
Pride & Prejudice and am seeing everything through its
lens. Thank you, Hodge!

By: Hodge /2011/01/10/an-alphabet-of-femininism-13-m-is-for-marriage/#comment-528 Mon, 10 Jan 2011 16:06:17 +0000 In reply to Lizzie B.

I think a lot of what we now think of as the ‘traditional wedding’ may be American in origin (the US is, after all, the country that spends the most on weddings): I read an article somewhere (might have been the guardian) positing the theory that modern day weddings are getting ever-more elaborate because the institution itself is no longer the terrifying unknown it was before people started ‘fornicating’ as a matter of course and living together pre-marriage. Therefore, couples need something to panic about in its place.

The laziness of the CoE is absolutely right – so many people seem to get married in church to keep some aged relation happy. I suppose in those kind of cases, you’re using the weight of your family’s opinion as the real ‘witness’ to your vows. A sort of God by proxy…