I’m always fascinated by traditions because I don’t get them. I mean, I get what they are and that they exist, but I don’t understand why they are so important. my mother once impatiently snapped at me, “Something being traditional doesn’t automatically make it bad!” To which I replied, “It doesn’t make it automatically good, either.” She did not like that at all.
My father has twice commented on me getting married. Once, it was whten we were at my cousin’s wedding (horrifying because she lost both her first AND her last name. And the pastor said that the most important thing for a wife is to be loved, but for a husband, it’s to bo respected. And he compared the wife to a rice cooker. AND he said that the husband should make all the decisions because he could be trusted to make the decioson that is the best for the family. After the wedding, another cousin of mine and I were talking about it. He said that if the husband loved the wife, he would make a decision that benefitted both of them. I said if that’s the case, why couldn’t the wife make all the decisions? Presuming that she loved her husband as well. He looked flummoxed and managed to sputter out, “Tradition”. Not an acceptable answer for me), and my father said that he didn’t think he could ‘give me away’. I managed to repress a full-body shudder and say evenly, “Well, I wouldn’t do that if I ever got married, so you don’t have to worry about it.” What I wanted to say was, “What makes you think you would be the person I would ask to do that if I were so inclined? Which I am not because it’s antiquated, sexist, and gross?”
The second time was after he visited a castle in Banff, Canada. Apparently, they rented out a room for weddings. I know this because my father mentioned it and said he would rent it for me if I got married. I looked at him in horror. It was as if he didn’t know me (which he did not). Again, I had to repress a shudder. A castle? What the fuck did he think I was? A princess? That was so unlike me, it actually creeped me out. The idea of me in a castle was horrifying. That was the exact opposite of my jam, and anyone who had even a rudimentary knowledge of me would realize this. But this is the same man who offered my brother a sports car if he married a Taiwanese woman, so there was that.
This is to show that his idea of weddings was sexist as fuck and very traditional. I had no desire to get married and even if I did want to get married, I would never do it in a church or a castle or anything like that. I would probably go to the Justice of the Peace and just do that. Or elope. But I have no desire to marry. I honestly don’t see the point. This is just me, and I’m disparaging other people who do want to get married.
I don’t understand how it makes the commitment greater. Especially since so many people get divorced. I know people don’t go into marriage thinking they’re going to get divorced, but it’s a big possibility. I read somewhere once someone who reviewed their vows with their partner every five years. If they agreed they were on the same page, they updated contract and agreed to review it in another five years. I get that it seems too clinical and cold for some people, but it makes sense to me.
I also don’t think relationships ending necessarily means it’s a failuure. Same with ending friendships. Some relationships just run their courses, and it’s the best for everyone involved to call it a day. I guess I just don’t understand the need to spend thousands of dollars (the wedding I mentioned above was $100,000) for one day.
I do understand about wanting to celebrate a new milestone in your life with family and friends. But I don’t get why people get so caught up in it if it’s not exactly the way they want it to be. Like, isn’t the rest of it (the marriage itself) way more important? From what I’ve heard, you don’t even remember most of the day beacuse it’s such a blur.
I read about all the people (women, mostly), who get so caught up in every little detail. There’s a reason Bridezilla is a thing. But, it’s also because women are expected to care about this kind of thing. Not just for their wedding, but in general. Women are judged so harshly for how they look. Too fat, too skinny, too hot, too dowdy. Too made-up, too granola. There is no just right because that’s the point. If you can keep women constantly trying to live up to the ideal vision of what a woman should be, well, then they may not notice the inequity or have the wherewithal to fight it.
Plus, from the time they are little, girls are told that their worth are in their looks. I have mostly stopped reading Slate’s advice columns both because the advice itself is horrific, but also because the commentariat is, well, terrible. But there was a recent letter from a man who did not want his wife to get their baby girl’s ears pierced. As in three months or so. The vast majority of the comments (including from the columnist herself) said that this was normal–having a baby’s ears pierced, I mean. I was horrified. I know there are cultures that do this, but this was mostly American people who did it ‘just because’.
It really bothered me on many levels. One, why only the girls? That’s inherently sexist. Two, it’s so needless. why not let them choose to do so when they are older? Yeah, this is partly because I have had so many piercings get infected, but there is jsut no reason for this. It’s purely decorative, and it’s not letting them have a choice as to what to do to their bodies. I was aghast at how many women (and, yes, it was mostly women) just glossed over all this. “It’s cute” is not a reason to punch holes in your baby’s ears.
They tried to defend it by saying that it was easier to keep the holes clean in a baby than make a preteen do it on her own, but that’s not the point. If that’s the case, why not give them a belly piercing and a lip piercing while you’re at it? Or tattaoo eyeliner on their eyes? I am not shocked by much, but this really, well, not shocked, but surprised the fuck out of me. It’s so…unnecessary. There is absolutely no reason to do it. I don’t think it’s the same as putting your kid in a cute dress or something. This is branding them as GIRL at an age when they can’t consent to that. And treating them as GIRL from the moment they’re born. I do not get this at all. And I don’t think it’s because I’m agender. Or maybe it is. But your kid is not your possession to be stamped with what you think is their gender.
It’s so bizarre to me that I had to read it several times to actually understand that this was an OK thing for many people. Just another way in which I am weird, but I’m fine with that.