I have never identified myself as a feminist, personally or to others. I believe in the essential principals of those who announce themselves as feminists believe, but I have always felt partly by societal views of feminism and partly by how far some women take it, it gets a little too extreme for my taste. I also often feel judged, by friends and strangers alike, because perhaps I am not feminist enough. Or, it is not okay that I am considering taking Luke's last name as my own when we get married. Or, that I am totally cool with our gendered roles in the household. Because, dude, Luke cannot cook.
I was pretty pleased with how I defined what feminism is to me at a recent ladies night one of my gal pals hosted. I said that it shouldn't be about asserting yourself to show you can fill a typical male role just as well as a man, but that you should be comfortable and confident to do what you want and be who you are, whatever that means to you. When feminism begins to make women feel bad because they like their engagement ring, they want to have the same name, and they wouldn't mind so much if it was financially feasible to stay at home and devote attention to the kids, that's when I get irritated and I think the purpose of feminism is defeated.
Aren't we just making life harder on each other by criticizing personal choices? I understand labeling the whole name change thing as patriarchal, but what's wrong with just liking the idea of having the same last name as my partner. Luke has left that decision totally up to me. I think he even would like me to keep my name, just because it's so damn cool, but I am undecided on that one. I actually wish he had an opinion, that might make it a little easier for me. I am trying to convince him we should both take my name- because it is so much cooler- but I think he's worried that would rock the paternal boat a little too much.
Then there is the dress issue. Apparently even a somewhat traditional dress is wrong even if its ivory, not white. I am stoked about my dress. It's not too puffy, it flatters my big ass and suits my quirky style of classic/offbeat/vintage. Plus I will have funky blue shoes if I can find some, does that count? And as for my engagement ring- when we first started talking engagement, I suggested a simple ring with a sapphire. Cheaper, blue (our favorite color) and his birthstone. But he went and surprised me with something a bit more sparkly. How could I refuse that?
I realize I am being a little melodramatic, but being a few months away from getting married and subscribing to perhaps too many blogs (wedding and non wedding related), I feel inundated by opinions that if you are not offbeat enough or non traditional enough, you are not okay. It's actually these feminist and non traditional folks at times that have made me feel more uncomfortable about our wedding decisions than the traditional wedding industry. Because, as Luke would say, "We do what we likes and we likes what we do." We won't include anything just because some one tells us we have to. That's why I have tried to consolidate the blog roll and keep it to writers I appreciate and respect, such as Sara at 2000 Dollar Budget Wedding, Meg at A Practical Wedding, and Ariel at Offbeat Bride, among a few others. That although some may feel things like favors are ridiculous, for others there is a practicality or special meaning and value behind them. As Meg says in this post, "If instead, we strive to create a wedding that reflects who we are and what we value, we will, without trying, create details that will form an indelible impression in our guests minds, details that will be a gift."
I really did not think I would ever meet someone I was compatible with enough to marry and think I could commit to spending the rest of my life with him. I found in Luke a partner who understands, appreciates and supports me better than anyone I have ever known. I am lucky to have the legal opportunity to bind our commitment in marriage. I know that my friends who are homosexual would not want me to abstain from celebrating that opportunity because they can't yet. I definitely have had some moments of getting caught up in the wedding industry. In fact, if I had it to do over again I may have tried to find us a simpler outdoor venue than the one we have. (It's hard being atheists and trying to find a place to have a whole wedding event outside, harder than one might think.)
But, in the end, we will have a wedding outside, we will hopefully have many people that love us there to celebrate with us, the details of our ceremony and reception will speak to who we are, we will have fans that some might consider favors (but, damn it, it will be hot out there!), and you know my side of the family. . . we value a kick ass party. So it should hopefully be a good time had by all.
I think what all pending brides, those who may judge us for being too traditional or not traditional enough need to keep in mind are these mantras:
(from 2000 Dollar Budget Bride)
- No matter what happens, we'll still be married in the end.
- Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
- A wedding is about community, connection, commitment, and fun--not ________ [insert any number of trivial and inconsequential items that the Wedding Industrial Complex claims are absolutely essential].
- Our relationship/marriage is more important than our wedding.