The Feminist Bride returns as a guest on the Bridechilla Podcast to discuss the wedding tradition of name change (Ep #226). Host Aleisha McCormack asks (and I answer) why do women change their name? Should they? What other options are there? How come men don’t? There’s a whole lot to consider than just your personal motivations – seriously, they might shock you. If you’re a feminist bride (or groom) grappling with whether or not this tradition is for you, I highly recommend you give it a listen (which you can do on iTunes, Android or by downloading the bridechilla app!
And if you missed The Feminist Bride’s first guest spot on the podcast, check out Episode 169, where I discuss the traditions in most need of feminism and the obsolete and sexist symbolism imbedded in them.
Jenny’s Wedding (2015): When I saw Katherine Heigl in yet another wedding/rom com movie, I rolled my eyes. What other type of Wedding Industrial Complex and women-are-only-valuable-if-they’re-in-a-relationship shenanigans is she getting into this time?
If you didn’t have enough reason to get all Leslie Knope on Joe Biden, the Vice President got temporarily ordained by the District of Columbia in order to marry two White House staffers…in a same-sex wedding…at his personal house. Swoon!
Brian Mosteller, Director of Oval Office Operations married Joe Mahshie, a trip coordinator for Michelle Obama at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington in front of their immediate family. It’s the VAWA founder’s first wedding as an officiant, though there’s no indication as to whether he plans to marry more deserving couples after his stint as Veep (maybe he should!). In a time when a certain potential presidential candidate drives people with fear and loathing, it’s nice to know there are those politicians out there who still understand that love and support is how you lead by example. Dr. Biden put it best!
Congrats to Mahshie and Mosteller; may your marriage be blessed by the rays of Biden’s winning smile with years of happiness and love.
Is the start of your summer filled with nothing but weddings? There’s a long history explaining why so many fall in this month. Most of it stems from ancient Roman times and is tied to nature’s seasonal cycles. With mankind being agrarian for most of human history there are some traditions that are just harder to break, even if we get our food from Whole Foods now. Here’s a list of a few possible explanations.
Every wonder why wedding cake is a tradition? Here’s a fun lecture I did at Tufts University on The Origins of the Wedding Cake and in my own wedding dress to boot! The origins is just a small part in my full lecture of “The Sexy and Sexist Layers of the Wedding Cake” for the Women’s Center 2nd Annual Symposium.
What does it take to be a truly modern and feminist bride? I come across a lot of proud brides proclaiming to me how forward thinking they are. For example, a bride might explain how she explored all the equitable options before taking her husband’s surname…but forgot to ask him to consider taking hers. Or a bride will explain how she is going to trash the dress to stick it to the wedding industrial complex not realizing the wedding industrial complex doesn’t care because it already got her $1,500 for the designer gown.
Super excited to be interviewed on the #1 wedding podcast, Save The Date. It was really fun sitting down with the host, Aleisha McCormack to talk about some of the most sexist wedding traditions out there and what “bridechillas”‘ and “groomchillas” (bride/grooms who are chill) can do to make them more feminist and respectful for all. So please check out and listen to Episode 169, which by the way, is a totally appropriate number considering how much we discussed the role of sex in wedding traditions! To all the feminist brides (and grooms) out there, I hope it’s an eye opening listen and as fun for you as it was for me in recording it!
Sweet justice has been served! The Colorado State Supreme Court ruled that a public-facing business cannot refuse service to customers on religious grounds under the state’s anti-discrimination law,. The law stops businesses from discriminating against people on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or sexual orientation.
Some people use their astrological signs to describe their personality – preordained by time and chance according to the alignment of the stars. Some attribute their character based on their parents or environment; access to money or lack thereof. There are many internal and external factors that help create you, and it’s nice to think that identity, to some extent, is something we can choose. After a short lifetime of making those critical choices or being products of our genetics or childhood, when it’s time to ring the wedding bells do we still have that personal choice to choose “who am I – as a bride?”
What if finding the perfect wedding dress had a lot more to do with how it impacted the world than it did in just making someone feel and look like a bride? The Feminist Bride aims to help fiancés bring more meaning to their wedding through better social practices, so when I met founder, Marcie Muehlke at (un)convention Brooklyn last fall I had to share what amazing things her wedding dress company, Celia Grace was doing. Celia Grace is a women-led wedding dress company that helps impoverished women abroad (fair trade) and brings handmade, environmentally friendly and sustainable gowns to the wedding industry. If brides want to really wow guests on their wedding day, a Celia Grace dress adds an extra layer of eco-feminist thoughtfulness, empowerment and compassion that is hard to come by in the wedding dress industry.
There is a wedding tradition that states women are only allowed to propose to men on February 29th, Leap Day. That’s once for twenty-four hours every four years and that’s if she’s in a relationship that’s ready to move to the next step. Having such an opportunity is almost as rare as Donald Trump telling the truth or acting humble. The question is where does such nonsense come from?
Can’t wait to become the new “Mrs. His Name?” Ever think about why men never change their title of “Mr.” when they get married, ever stop to consider what it means for women to only change her title?
Discrimination against women is a global crisis. There is not one place in the world where women experience complete equality. The belief that women should access education, which leads to better physical and financial health, intellectual fulfillment and professional opportunities is not evenly held across the globe either. A lot of this has to do with the idea that a women’s place is only in the home and not as an outside member of the community. This is why many individuals in certain countries have practiced sex-selected abortions or infanticide if they find out they are having a girl (and for the record, while the video below focuses on India and China, those are not the only two places where these practices exist). Boys are socially allowed to get educations and be income earners and therefore can contribute to the family unlike women, who are not given the same opportunities or social stature. This is why many cultures see men are the more valued gender.
Hollywood reporter, Camille Paglia is taking umbrage against Taylor Swift’s girl squad, which she describes as a “Nazi-Barbie routine.” Paglia reflects on Swift’s appropriation of girl power squads from the 1990s, e.g. The Spice Girls, Def Squad, to promote a sense of women-empowered camaraderie through social media, in-person staged appearances and the pervasive selfie. After reading her fair but also pretty scathing review where she ultimately describes Swift as a “fascist blonde,” I can’t help wonder if there are lots of similarities between Swift’s posse power and bridal parties?
Nothing is better and sexier than a feminist burlesque dance. Here’s why…
UK comedian, Nadia Kamil does a perfect job of showing how awesome a feminist burlesque can be. Her routine is inspired by a Margaret Thatcher burlesque act, and thought she could one-up the Iron Lady and her patriot pubes. (By the way, doesn’t Kamil look like Tina Fey and Molly Shannon’s long lost British sister?) So next time you’re looking to book a bachelor or bachelorette party think about tracking down a feminist burlesque show, you will never regret it.
Debating between getting married or paying off your debt can be extremely difficult. The little financial advisor that magically appears on your shoulder will insist, “Don’t do it! Be fiscally responsible so you can properly take care of your beloved,” but the idealistic mini-bride or groom on your other shoulder will say, “Follow your heart! People get married so they can take care of each other.” While it feels better to give into matters of the heart, being money-wise is critical to a healthy relationship too; after all, money woes are the number one cause of divorce. So to live happily ever after, what’s a cash-strapped lover to do?
Everyone’s favorite breakfast shop and jeweler, Tiffany & Co. has just released a new engagement ring ad, “Will you?” featuring a real life same-sex couple. Like an engagement, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate when a company diversifies its ad campaigns to include more than just white heterosexuals. J. Crew, The Gap, JC Penny and Ray-Ban are just a few of the companies that are starting to cater to the LGBT market. However, before we pop that champagne there’s still plenty to consider.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an important Nigerian novelist and gave an inspiring lecture at Tedx in 2013 called “We Should All Be Feminists.” It explores her own personal interactions and observations regarding gender in Nigeria. She shares her thoughts on these moments as they relate to feminism, power, equality and culture, but what was most powerful is how she described how gender roles in marriage often shape women and men’s equality. Here are some amazingly insightful quotes from the talk and some Feminist Bride reflections on them. I also strongly recommend watching the talk in its entirety too.
Obama in the State of the Union (#SOTU) hit some unprecedented markers when it comes to civil rights. He spoke of same-sex marriage as a civil right and he spoke of the protection of those in the LGBT community, a first for SOTU. What’s even more exciting is that 2015 could make the final mile for same-sex marriage approval. Here’s a quick breakdown of milestones in the quest for marriage equality and its current status in terms of social and political approval.
Most of us learn about wedding culture from our parents, peers, religion, businesses, media and pop culture. It’s very easy to feel like experts on the subjects since we’re inundated with lessons of how to buy the perfect wedding dress, get him to propose, what to say during the wedding ceremony, how to pick out a flawless diamond ring and how women can easily change their last name to his. When it comes to weddings and marriage, people have always been told what, when, where, how, but few ever think for themselves - ‘why?’
What it means to be a bridesmaid these days has run amuck. Once upon an ancient to Victorian time, a bridesmaid’s main job was to dress like the bride as a divergence to evil demons who wished to dispel bad luck on the bride (think how Pippa Middleton diverted everyone’s attention). Nowadays, the duties of a bridesmaid are endless. It includes being a shoulder to cry on, party planner, envelope licker, penis paraphernalia collector, moral compass, yes-woman, Mother of the Bride interference runner, 24/7 on-call support, mind reader, errand girl, attention giver and wine supplier at every occasion. And to boot bridesmaids get to buy their boss multiple presents, spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on travel and buy their own work uniform that they will wear once.
Happy Feminist Fashion Friday! You are about to discover the wonderful and edgy web-comedy, Modern Women by Chelsea Devantez and Emily Walker! Coming to us via The Second City Network, Chelsea and Emily navigate how complicated it is to dress whatever way you want – while not getting street harassed – while honoring that feminist class from college you took. Watch and enjoy!
Stop for a minute and ask yourself these questions: Do you have an egalitarian relationship? Are you on the path to achieve your career goals? Have you ever put your guy’s career before your own? And does he put forth as much effort as you in the home? Your honest answers, not your ideal ones, are important. (And for the record, no, this article is not about how to ride the coattails of your hubby, as if…)
A Harvard Business School study reports that both male and female HSB graduates, who believe in parity in the workforce and in relationships…don’t actually practice it. This is an incredibly important discrepancy because it negatively impacts women’s professional achievements, particularly in top management positions. That’s why answering honestly was so important, most of us believe we have egalitarian relationships, but per the study that’s not really the case.
Ladies, if your best friend is your brother, or that awkward college guy who naively explained that Beirut is a place, not a beer game, or your male coworker who loves afternoon Hot Pockets almost just as much as you and you’re getting married to…someone else, why not put that best friend in your wedding party?
Gentlemen, if your best friend is your sister, or cousin who encouraged you to embrace your affinity for knitting infinity scarves, or your former high school prom date who danced so awkwardly to House of Pain’s Jump Around that you found a platonic, kindred spirit and you are also marrying someone else? Then you, too, should feel free to put them in your wedding party.
I know that by saying I’d rather be a groomsman over a bridesmaid, it sounds like I’m confirming the old Freudian theory that feminism is nothing more than penis envy. Don’t worry Freud, this has nothing to do with penises or mommy issues. I’m merely trying to bring attention to that fact that the role and responsibility of being a bridesmaid has completely turned to the dark side. Bridesmaids used to enjoy the minimal involvement that groomsmen experience today. Nowadays the difference in the responsibilities of the two are a lot like the wage gap; both sexes enjoy the same status and title but bridesmaids are expected to do a hell of a lot more for the same job! I’m campaigning that bridesmaids and groomsmen responsibilities be on par with each other.
I winced when I heard Ms. Amal Alamuddin was changing her name to Mrs. George Clooney. She became yet another example of a women choosing for her identity to be represented by a man’s after marrying. Here’s how her decision, one shared by the majority of women, is vastly more complicated than it seems.
Tired of winking at people online? Starting to wonder why you’re friends with some people if their other friends are the duds they keep setting you up with? Finding yourself starring over to the kitchen, wondering what type of hors d’ oeuvres they’ll be serving after the wedding ceremony? Focused on your career, grad school or the number of dates you have lined up? Thinking you can have it all and NOT be married? Or are you just holding out for the perfect one and the perfect conditions?
On other non-bridal news… Earlier this year, comedian and actor, Louis CK took the SNL main stage. His opening monologue covered women’s vote, women in religion and how awful it is to name a t-shirt affectionately after the act of wife beating.
I’m happy that Louis CK took it upon himself to talk about real issues facing women like his daughters and me – and with humor. It is a funny and absurd observation that some people in this country are older than women’s ability to vote! But I’m confused at the feminist undertones of his SNL bit. Didn’t he tell The Daily Show, when discussing the Daniel Tosh’s controversial rape ‘joke,’ “[it’s] a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies, because stereotypically feminists can’t take a joke, and comedians…can’t take big criticism and are big pussies.
Princesses are yelling “Fuck No, I Won’t Let It Go!” when it comes to inequality. Nor should they! FCKH8.com, a “for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart and a passionate social change mission” that focuses on anti-discrimination, is using f-bombs yielding princesses to talk about women’s inequality. Aside from the over the top acting, it sends a powerful message that shows how sexism affects women of all ages. I especially loved the ending when they talked about how gender roles hurt men too; and I fell over laughing when one princess was making it rain in the swear jar. They totally put it into perspective when the video asked, “What’s more offensive: a little girl saying ‘fuck’ or the evil fucking sexist ways society treats girls and women?”
Ever find yourself jelly over someone’s massive diamond engagement ring? Covet not my friend, because two dudes from Emory University did an online economic study of 3,000 married individuals (from mTurk) to see if the size of an engagement is a correlated to divorce rates. Seems it is…
Comedian Eliza Skinner has some wickedly awesome sage advice about how to tell the different between a sexy halloween costume and a slutty one. So as you ponder this year’s halloween costume, consider that it’s the women underneath that makes a difference and the person who calls her slutty – is probably going home alone on October 31st. #BanSlutoween
What if men had to go through the same hoops as women to get birth control? Check out this feminist role-reversal video that highlights what double standards women go through regarding medical insurance, pharmacy prescriptions policies and attitudes from men. I bet men would be upset too!
“Being a bridesmaid has always been a coveted spot for women. It’s right up there with the titular role of BFF. But what if I told you being called a bridesmaid was really the linguistic equivalent of frenemy? It’s hard to believe, but hear me out.”
Grab a box of tissues. This is probably the most heartwarming, poetic video I’ve ever seen about couples, relationships and families, and even better it highlights the beauty of same-sex ones. The video is courtesy of Freedom to Marry and Richard Blanco, the 2012 presidential inaugural poet, wrote the poem “Until We Could.” Blanco’s poem was commissioned to mark the 10-year anniversary since Massachusetts granted same-sex couples the right to wed,” The Dailey Beast.
Thank goodness for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the people at hitRECord for stepping up to the plate for feminism! JGL is one of those rare instances of men coming forward and identifying as a feminist. (Sorry ladies, there’s no real word on whether Ryan Gosling is an actual feminist. The Feminist Ryan Gosling memes were made as study notecards.)
Not only is JGL explaining why he thinks it’s just plain common sense as to why he’s a feminist and why the world needs it, he’s calling out others who feel like they don’t (#WhyIDon’tNeedFeminism). He also wants to encourage other feminists to come forward and share their ideas on the topic or any topic on their minds really.
hitRECords is a new type of production company that looks to connect thought-provocateurs, writers, artists, musicians or anyone else looking for a creative outlet to team up and create art! If I know feminists, I know we have a lot to say and we definitely love having conversations and collaborating with people on it. So watch the video below and find how you can get involved!
Emma Watson’s impassioned United Nation’s speech seeking both sexes to peacefully unite in order to achieve women’s equality has touched a nerve. Inaugurating the HeForShe campaign, Watson went on to explain that fundamental feminism “… by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
I never know what to make of Betsey Johnson. She’s kinda like your great Aunt that’s a total wild card, who curiously resembles your thirteen year old niece, who’s currently finding herself by defying convention. When it comes to fashion, she’s a great reminder of how far fashion can go and how much you don’t have to give a hoot about other people’s opinions so long as you’re happy.
Everyone’s favorite onscreen child-doctor prodigy and drug-addled womanizer, Neil Patrick Harris got married over the weekend in Italy. He tied the knot with longtime boyfriend, David Burtka according to Twitter. Time.com reports they’ve been partners for 10 years and are raising twins together. How do you say pass the celebration kush in Italian?
Taking your first steps as a child are a big deal, so are the ones you and your spouse take together as newlyweds. Who wouldn’t want to step off on the right foot into a lifetime of marital bliss? It’s not the actual steps one takes at the reception that matters (though knowing how to walk in high heels under layers of tulle is a feat unto itself); it’s how the Master of Ceremonies introduces the couple that makes a big difference.
Playboy, an unlikely ally in women’s quest to end street harassment, especially because they’ve made millions and millions off encouraging men to ogle at women, has done something wonderfully feminist. Hugh Hefner has even claimed we are living in a post-feminist world before, meaning that a chart like this shouldn’t even be necessary. But here we, feminists, are in agreement with Playboy’s work for once. Hell just froze over.
Playboy and graphic designer Shea Strauss have designed an excellent explanatory flowchart (click to see full chart) that answers when it’s okay to catcall a woman. In a sort of choose-your-own adventure game, guys can follow the line that represents his libido and male entitlement the best with options like, “Are you sexually frustrated?” if yes, proceed to “Yeah, I wanna yell sex stuff at people.” It eventually all flows down to “Nope, don’t do it,” and “Yeah, go for it.” There’s a real educative twist to help folks understand that the only case where it’s okay to catcall is when there’s mutual consent (and even then they make clear heckling is an equal opportunity for both sexes) and when it’s an actually kitty. For everyone other instance, it’s not cool.
This chart comes in the wake of other great devices to battle street harassment. There’s the bell Hooks hotline, which provides women a fake number to give to strangers who ask for it. The idea (unfortunately, this reasoning exists) is to safeguard women “because we’re [women] raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.”
There’s also the Cards Against Harassment, which are business cards that anyone can get and hand out to street harassers to explain how their actions negatively affect women. And Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s art project, Stop Telling Women to Smile attempts to combat harassment directly on the streets too.
While this great flowchart doesn’t get Playboy out of the doghouse for its years of misogyny, objectification, exploitation and body issues, it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Ladies, it’s been a tough year for us. I feel your pain, not in an our-periods-are-synchronized way, but in a “This-is-2014, but-it-feels-like-the-stone-age!” sort of way. Before we celebrate Women’s Equality I think it’s imperative to review how we’ve been treated this year.
You’ve been focusing probably way too closely to the zombie apocalypse on Walking Dead and totally missed the one that was happening in your backyard (to quote the following PSA/Jezebel story) – armaGAYddon. That’s right, all these places that are paving the way to legalize same-sex marriage are opening up the door to this widespread mania. And it’s plague by really nice fancy weddings, tasty cakes and smart dress.
Finally, there’s a solution for when you don’t want to give your phone number to creepy people, but don’t want to be rude either because as the bell Hooks hotline explains, “because we’re [women] raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.”
Feminist author bell Hooks has created the Feminist Phone Intervention Hotline for anyone to use when faced with the dating dilemma of giving out your phone number to a stranger. When you’re just not that into the suitor, you can just give them the phone number (669) 221-6251.
In New York City, with a population of 8 million, there are at least 600 people who can’t find a mate worthy of marriage. What’s their solution (or last resort) to this conundrum in the dating digital age? An “extreme social experiment” hosted by FYI TV (part of the A&E network) where four highly educated and trained professionals will match them up with the soul mate they couldn’t find independently. Sounds like a really high end dating service, right? Not quite, the catch is you can only meet this soul mate if you’re willing to marry them sight unseen.
From Suffragette to Bachelorette, believe it or not, but Rochester, New York is where you can have the most feminist bachelorette party imaginable. It’s true. Ranked as one of the US cities with the best quality of life, it is also home to the women’s rights movement. Any bachelorette party can be feminist because a b-party is really just about women congregating together to celebrate a sister and womanhood in general, but with so many special women’s activities and locations this is the quintessential one. Having always known of Rochester, I was overwhelmingly impressed with the city during my first visit. From its adorable Victorian era neighborhoods to the Genesee River High Falls, from the preserved architecture to the plethora of museums and the general geniality of the city and the super wealth of American history, needless to say, I have never fallen in love with a city so quickly (then I remembered how cold it gets in the winter and immediately reconsidered my moving there). It also offers a tons of adventurous fun (I covered some options) to balance out its intellectual side – i.e. the perfect place for a feminist bachelorette party. Here’s a list of cultural, feminist and generally fun activities as ideas for your next bachelorette party (you’ll need to rent a car). As a small disclosure, I haven’t done everything but I look forward to one day!