Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why I'm not getting married  


I remember once in a Women's Studies class of mine, someone commented that not enough feminist bloggers offer criticisms of marriage. If you share this belief, take a peek at a piece written by Renee of Womanist Musings, entitled: A 'feminist wedding' is an oxymoron. With the title alone I agree. I'm someone who refuses to get married... and if my partner can't cope with that, then I'll have to find a new one.

While the very idea of celebrating love in front of close friends and family is one that I applaud, I loathe full-on marriage for the discriminatory and patriarchal institution that it is. I will still campaign for same-sex marriage because I believe that marriage remains a choice for every person, and as long as LGBT people are denied this choice, they can never be anything more than second-class citizens. But for me personally, the most I plan to do is a commitment ceremony. You can celebrate finding your soulmate without becoming a part of an extremely problematic aspect of society. And while I believe "to each her own," I hope I can encourage some feminists to re-think the path that society has laid out in front of them. My own very feminist roommmate admitted that she herself never considered not getting married, nor did she consider abandoning the tradition of the father giving away the bride like a piece of property.

It's tough to break away from what has been implanted in our heads since birth, but hopefully we can encourage each other to seek alternative paths.

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14 comments: to “ Why I'm not getting married

  • August 13, 2009 at 4:06 PM  

    But that's not a criticism of marriage, but a criticism of traditional ceremony...

    I certainly want to get married, so that my spouse can make legal decisions for me and vice-vera; so that it is easier for us to afford to be together and so that in the event of death, the other has the rights to what we've gained together or separately.

  • August 13, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

    I'm aware that if I did marry, I could hold any type of ceremony I wanted to, but I would still be a part of an institution that I don't agree with. I could never even consider marriage until everyone else could get married. How could I become a part of an institution that denies certain people access because of their sexual orientation?

    I know there's plenty of benefits that come with marriage, but I'm not willing to forgo my beliefs for an easy life. Being a feminist and activist was never easy.

  • August 13, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

    I have always known that both my parents would walk me down the aisle. I have never wanted (at least that I can remember) my father alone to walk me.

    When it comes to marriage I am always very torn. I intend to have a very nontraditional wedding and actually have been considering ditching the ceremony altogether, but I want to get married.

    It is a very confusing topic for me because I clash with my feminist values. I dont think that it has to be all or nothing though.

  • August 13, 2009 at 7:09 PM  

    I remember you telling me you wanted your father to walk you down the aisle til I suggested that both your parents do it instead ;)

  • August 13, 2009 at 8:43 PM  

    I'm a feminist, and I'm married. It IS possible to be married without bringing religion or ideas of male ownership into it. You don't HAVE to change your name, the woman can be the "head of household" on taxes, you can file your taxes seperately, there are plently of men out there who will share the chores, etc. Your implication that anyone that gets married isn't a feminist is very, very insulting and just plain rude. If you don't want to ever get married for whatever outdated reasons, fine, but don't bash the rest of us.

  • August 13, 2009 at 8:50 PM  

    The more I think of this the angrier I get. I appreciated your blog in the past although I didn't always agree with your arguments, but this one, to me, has gone too far. You're basing your idea of "marriage" on the fucking 1950s. If you think you're so forward thinking wake up and take a look at a lot of modern marriages. Or, take a look at a feminist one - they exist and are very real. I'm not even going to bother coming back to this self-righteous spewing you've been calling a blog. >:(

  • August 14, 2009 at 12:17 AM  

    Jen... I never said that someone can't get married and be a feminist. If I implied that somehow, I certainly apologize, because I have never and will never think that. Didn't I say in the post that everyone should choose whether or not to marry?

    I purposely used "I" throughout the post to convey that I wasn't telling all feminists to not marry, but merely commenting on what I have chosen for myself and why. And if you think that sexism and patriarchal values in marriage has been left in the 1950s, then I suggest you wake up a bit. Even if you believe certain marriage traditions are outdated and irrelevant today, you cannot argue that marriage is an equal opportunity institution. It an exclusive heterosexual club, and I cannot "join" this club knowing how selective it is while still feeling good about myself. Again, this is my path.

    The institution of marriage is still severely flawed, and that's why I personally choose to abstain from it. Yes, I do believe there are many ways to mold your own marriage to fit your own beliefs, and I certainly applaud any feminist who can do that, but I'm not choosing that path for myself.

    I'm sorry you were offended. I didn't mean to make it seem like I'm bashing feminists who choose to get married. Perhaps I shouldn't have agreed with calling a feminist wedding an oxymoron, but other than that, I felt my post was quite clear in explaining that this is my choice.

    After all, feminism is largely based on choice, isn't it?

  • August 14, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

    may I ask just how old are you?

  • August 14, 2009 at 1:45 PM  

    I'm in my 20s.

  • August 14, 2009 at 5:42 PM  

    i agree.

    and i'm in my 30's...whats your point, burn?

  • August 15, 2009 at 6:02 AM  

    my point? I just want to understand the post better. Same statements made by different people have differrent meanings.

  • August 17, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

    Hi! I've read your blog for a while now, and after reading some of the other comments here, I felt that I had to say something. Personally, I support your decision not to get married. It's your own personal choice and your own reasoning, and if it works for you, then people shouldn't be telling you that you don't understand feminism or are being overly critical. As a twenty-something who's not sure of the institution of marriage herself, I can understand why you see it as a hetero-only club as well as still patriarchal in nature, even though some things have changed. I don't know if I'll swear off marriage completely, as you have, but I still enjoyed reading your thoughts on the topic and I value your reasoning. People ought to be more critical of marriage than they often are.

  • August 19, 2009 at 4:38 AM  

    Do you plan on having children?? If so do you plan on the children having a father? Feminism is about choices so you can be a single mother also. I think it's something like 40% of all births now are to single women. Men are kinda like how it is in nature because when resources are not needed to raise offspring the pair does not stay together. I don't think men really have families now or get parental rights to their kids. I mean the pretty much are just made by law to send money right? I mean they don't have parental rights by default right?

  • August 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

    Anonymous, I'm not sure what any of what you said has to do with this post.

    I'm not sure if I'm having children, and I'm not sure if the children will have a father. Maybe they will have a father, maybe they will have only me, or maybe they will have two mothers. Who knows.