The woman-led proposal is as rare as a unicorn, but no less magical. Restrictive gender norms dictate that it’s the “man’s job to propose,” to which The Feminist Bride says
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.
Many fear taking the plunge. They wonder what if he or she is not the one or if they can afford to get married or worry that if Brangelina can’t make it than who can? Four seniors from The School of Visual Arts literally dive into these questions and fears with their senior thesis film, Taking The Plunge.
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?
Every wonder why best ladies dress alike? It’s not because the bride has a twin fetish or because ordering someone what to wear is part of some sick and twisted mommy dearest game (though who knows, it could be…). It’s actually not for anal uniformity in photos either or team spirit. And would you believe it wasn’t originally so the bride would stand out among her entourage (though it has sorta become that)?
The dressing alike tradition goes all the way back to before the middle ages. It was thought that evil demons wanted to curse the bride with their bad juju. So her maids, nearest or dearest would actually dress like the bride in order to fool the mean spirits. This explains why it was kosher for Pippa Middleton to dress in white like her future-queen sister, Kate. And if you think about it, Pippa did indeed thwart any negative attention away from Kate; although in 2011 the evil spirits where more like the paparazzi and anyone with the Internet who thought it was okay to objectify Pippa’s derriere…
Best ladies are not the only ones who originally dressed like the bride; the flower girl mimics her outfit too. Although a flower girl’s goal is not to thwart the evil eye but it’s still equally superstitious. She is supposed to represent the bride’s future children, who would biologically-speaking physically resemble the bride, hence the matching uniform.
The fact that best ladies still dress alike harkens back to these ancient superstitions, though the efforts of the wedding industry and advertising has oppositely influenced the tradition. Now it’s about making the bride stand out, like a white bull’s-eye among a uniform sea of crimson cocktail dresses. This new age emphasis on the bride is what has created bridezillas, so one could argue that the me-me-me bride has indeed become infected by those demons or become one… Maybe there’s something to this dress-alike tradition after all.
The great romances of our time have always unfolded like a Greek tragedy, a Shakespearian play, a Dickinson novel or sometimes a delicious telenovela. Heloise and Abelard, Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Kennedy and Monroe, Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel, Franco and Rogen, there’s a long list of would-be lovers but none are as memorable, iconic, romantically complicated and plushy as Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.
Kermit will lament that, “it’s not easy being green;” but Miss Piggy embodies how difficult it is, loving and wanting someone – who is green. For the last 30-plus years, Miss Piggy has chased, bamboozled, coerced and sometimes karate-chopped Kermit towards marital submission. However, the slippery amphibian has continuously dodged and spurned her advances. Why after so many years of cat and mouse is marriage Miss Piggy’s pièce de résistance?
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.
We all love the wedding toast, mostly because it can either go amazingly awesome or terribly wrong. I don’t really have much to offer in the way of feminist words or suggestions, though recognizing both people and not just the bride or groom is important.
The history of the wedding toast comes courtesy of my spouse from a speech he gave as a best man once. In ancient times, when people were most likely at war with their neighbors, many would come to a truce by marrying the leaders’ children. At the banquet table, the bride’s father would be the first to drink from a communal wine pitcher to show his guests that it was not poisoned. My spouse, being a good best man promised to all the guests at the wedding his own self-sacrifice by sampling all the beer and liquor behind the bar for their safekeeping. Feel free to borrow this one, it went over well.
And speaking of toast, we call it a toast because wine was not always a tasty libation. To cure the spirit of its rancidness, a burnt piece of toast was placed in the pitcher to absorb some of the acidity. The host would also eat this piece after everyone had drunk from the vessel as a sign of graciousness to his guests.
But here’s a feminist toast – “ To friends and foes, it doesn’t matter who you know, feminists will unite, and always fight the good fight!”
Hey folks, remember that time you got married? I hope so because you’re required to keep on remembering - every year, FOREVER. Not remembering wedding anniversaries can lead to nights on the couch, even more-expensive-than-you’d-normally-buy jewelry or signing up for things you’d normally refuse to do with your spouse like Zumba lessons or using your naked body as a platter for an intimate Sunday football meal.
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.
There’s simply no reason why a groom can’t dance with his dad or the man who raised him. It doesn’t have to be with just mom because some outdated dance tradition dictates that formal dancing should be with someone of the opposite sex. So in keeping with the post, 8 Songs for a Mother-Daughter Wedding Dance (which explains the selection criteria too), here are a eight potential songs to cut a rug with dad.
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!
Even in 2016, formal dancing still reeks of gender divides (even Dancing with the Stars has yet to feature two partners of the same sex), but modern, feminist brides should feel absolutely free to dance with the woman who raised them instead of their father or next male of kin as tradition usually dictates. There’s absolutely no reason why a bride can’t dance with her mom for the parental wedding reception dance instead (or split a song so both parents can take a turn). So here are eight song suggestions to inspire the moment you cut a rug with mom.
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?
If you were left at the altar or left before you could walk down it, would you have the clarity to turn a wedding fiasco into a triumph of humanity? Dana Olsen put aside her broken heart and decided, with the help of her family, to donate her would-be-wedding to the homeless families of Seattle’s Mary’s Place emergency shelter. Guests from Mary’s Place were treated to hairdo’s and donated formal wear to wear to their special formal dinner before they arrived to the upscale Sodo Park venue. They enjoyed a catered meal and danced the night away to a live band.
In Netflix’s new docuseries, Chelsea Does, comedian and former talk-show host, Chelsea Handler does marriage in the first episode. The only problem is that Chelsea can’t find anyone to do her until death do they part. Absent groom aside, she’s not sold on the idea of a wedding and sets off to discover what the big deal is about weddings and being married.
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?
For decades adults have been traversing the perils of walking home the morning after a hook up with their makeup smeared, hair disheveled in what is classically known as The Walk of Shame. Yet, Amber Rose is taking to the streets in her clothes from last night to declare that The Walk of Shame is no more! Amber Rose with the help of Funny or Die explores what it would be like if people didn’t shame those for enjoying sex and high fived those who got their socks rocked. In their eyes, if you’re walking The Walk of Fame you’re “living your best life!”
Like everyone else, I thought my relationship was unique and unlike any others, until I saw this video by Buzzfeed… I don’t know about you, but in terms of relationship quirks, communications and habits, I’m totally busted…
Next to my tattoo of Notorious RBG will go my tattoo of Tina Fey. Though maybe I’m thinking too small and these broads need their own Mount Rushmore. Tina Fey visited David Letterman for the last time (it was her 20th appearance). (By the way, the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You has a really eye-opening episode about late night television and women. It talks about the scandal where Letterman inappropriately slept with a number of women staffers, which gives Fey’s clothing message of “Bye Dave” new meaning.) She wanted to show to him what the underworld of undergarments looks like and how she “will no longer conform to gender norms” in this way with the message #LastDressEver. And so the saucy lady from 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stripped down to her Spanx on national television to show the world the absurd lengths women go to look a certain way. It got me thinking about the ridiculous contraptions brides often wear to look “perfect” too, which is silly because the wedding dress probably already comes with corset bone ribbing…Thanks Tina Fey for bearing all and calling out the ridiculousness of women’s clothing, more like #LastCorsetEver.
Have you noticed that America’s favorite group dance after the Electric Slide to The Dougie has more or less disappeared from the wedding reception’s dance floor? The chicken dance’s armpit flapping and fingering yapping were as American as saluting and doing the wave. How could it possibly disappear from DJ’s playlists, where has our patriotism gone? What the cluck?
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?
Ever wonder what Disney princesses would be like if they were placed in their correct times in human history? This video reverses all the Princesses’ Fairy Godmother’s work and reverts them back to reality. And it turns out it ain’t all songs and furry animal sidekicks, like how Jasmine would have been a lot more covered up due to strict religious mores. The video asks, “Did they live happily ever after?” but doesn’t answer the question directly other than showing the stark reality between the women’s fantasy lives and real life ones. However, I’m reading Stephanie Coontz’s Marriage, A History and it seems unlikely that they lived happily as few women in these periods had any civil and social rights. Until the 19th century few women were allowed to get an education or retain any type of power, except over a household. And forget about their knights in shining armor, these women barely got to choose whom they married and loving them was generally out of the question. Husbands usually controlled their lives and the finances too, even if through a dowry, she was the wealthy one. They could even legally beat their wives, and cheating was generally accepted. Reality gives a glimpse as to why perhaps these princess fantasies were appealing…
There’s an urban myth that men are commitment-phobes when it comes to marriage. If this were true, then why do so many of Hollywood’s brides have cold feet? If I had to guess, it’s probably because most lead women wake up moments before walking down the aisle realizing they are about to get married in order to meet societal expectations – don’t be alone, marry for security, it’s what everyone else wants, your ticking biological clock, all your friends are doing it, it’s not cool to be a cat-lady, etc., etc. – as opposed to a bride marrying for herself and to be with a person she truly loves. I would like to think those runaway brides are sticking it the Wedding Industrial Complex or those icky societal expectations, but the reality is their journey usually ends with another relationship and less self fulfillment. Here’s a list of Hollywood’s ten classic runaway brides and what their feminist (or unfeminist) epiphany was after they said, “F%^& it, I’m running…”
No one does irreverent women’s culture better than Amy Schumer on her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer. Now we can enjoy her hutzpah on the big screen with the movie, Trainwreck (in theaters July 17). Not only did she write this film, but she’s starring in it too. Chock one up for underrepresented women in Hollywood! While it seems Trainwreck might be another chick flick rom-com, the trailer shows Amy acting more like the unattainable, detached guy which hopefully breathes some fresh air into this exhausted genre.
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.
The whole concept of the “wedding diet” is to bust your ass in the gym over a short period of time so you can look “perfect” for an even shorter period, one day. The thing is, what is perfect? Who defines at what point you can stop sweating at the gym because you’ve reached “perfection?” And why is anyone working so hard for just one day? This is why the “wedding diet” is an absurd exercise plan. It’s a Quixote quest invented by the delusions of someone else and projected onto you. It’s maddening.
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?’
Ever wonder what the deal is behind your social media friends who incessantly post about their relationships? Are they overcompensating for something else or do they really have the best boyfriend/girlfriend in the whole wide world as they claim? Are they truly happy or are the rest of us just curmudgeons and incapable of being happy for someone else’s happiness?
Allegedly, trashing the dress became a thing circa 2001 courtesy of Las Vegas wedding photographer, John Michael Cooper. Cooper may have gotten the idea as early as 1998 when he watched an episode of Sunset Beach, in which Meg Cummings threw a massive tantrum and her bridal self into the ocean after her wedding was interrupted. And from there an idea was born, “I can make this type of crazy, sexy.” With the average wedding dress costing $1,211, it’s hard to imagine why a bride would want to demolish a dress that Oscar de la Renta described as “the most important dress in the life of a woman,” so the question remains, why destroy it?
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!
Contributing Writer: Kathryn Marie Lavin
In a dimly lit theater, spending quality time with my big brother over a box of Sour Patch Kids and the soon-to-be-classic, The Wolverine, I felt what I assumed was gas. However, as the movie closed in on its predictable ending, I felt what I can only describe as the sensation of a koi fish trapped in my bowels. As my brother and I exited the movie, I thought about running my amphibious sensation by him. Normally tossing around topics like “abdominal distress” and “public farts” would be standard with my bro, but this feeling exceeded our bodily comfort zone. I felt like I had more in common with the hero of the film, a mutant.
Can’t find “the dress?” Maybe what you need is a 400-pound wedding dress.
Gail Be from Minnesota spent over 20,000 hours using nearly one million beads (500,000 glass pearls and over 400,000 crystals) to create
the ultimate wedding dress an obsessive outfit no one can realistically wear. Constructed only with beads, a 20.5-foot train and seven miles of beading wiring, the dress is fitted for a size four. The only person who might actually be physically capable of wearing and walking down the aisle is 100-lb., American Ninja Warrior finalist, Kacy Catanzaro.
As a fashionable work of art, the gown is really something to marvel at. And it’s safe to say Be sorta likes beads, considering this is what her business only does and for the likes of Lady Gaga too. It seems Be created the jeweled monstrosity out of passion (but maybe as a PR-stunt too. You win Be.), as the dress won’t be considered for the Guinness Book of World Records. As a wearable gown, we’re getting into the absurdity that is often the wedding fashion industry. However, since no one wants to be doing 400-lb. power squats on the dance floor, we most likely don’t have to worry about the later.
The only thing that is missing a beaded tuxedo to match. Get on it Be, and make sure to get into the Guinness World Records this time.
My wedding cake topper was also my “something old.” It was over 30 years old and last saw a cake at my parents’ wedding in the 70s. I spent at least an hour trying to bleach it white. Before deciding to use it, I debated between going simple with just flowers since I had been both tickled and horrified at modern cake toppers. Seriously, have you seen them lately?
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.
This short animation, Sidewalk (2013) by filmmaker, Celia Bullwinkel will touch the hearts of all the ladies out there. I thought this animation did a great job depicting the often too public stages of personal change, both physical and mental that women experience throughout their lives. And it even put its two cents in regarding street harassment. There’s a happy ending though as the heroine passes on her own life lessons of loving yourself!
Contributing Writer: Sally Pillay
Feminist Fashion Friday: With a modern twist of unique elegance, Solange Knowles and longtime boyfriend Alan Ferguson married over the weekend. Pair that with a star-studded guest list including the one and only Queen B and husband, Jay-Z, and you’ve got my attention.
Counting at least six bridal outfits through the wedding weekend, Solange started at her rehearsal dinner with a v-neck, bell sleeved dress by Ellery with golden Loeffler Randall heels. This ensemble was just a mere taste of the fashion delicacies to follow!
Prior to their wedding ceremony, Solange and Alan arrived on two white bicycles. Solange donned a sexy low cut Stéphane Rolland jumpsuit with a cape. (LOVE!) The groom sported a white Lanvin suit. (Way to make an entrance!) Now the only thing that can get me more excited than a bride bucking traditional trends is a bride in a jumpsuit and a cape. Pair that with a bicycle, and I’m speechless.
topless, post mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery on stage at New York Comedy Festival. In my personal opinion, it was a bit that rivaled her now-legendary 2012 performance at Largo and sent a powerful message about body images and acceptance. Go Tig!
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