Health

The Complete Wedding Survival Checklist

A feminist bride asked for a wedding “survival kit” list to prepare for her upcoming nuptials. Construction-BrideF2Assuming that this lady has packed for a trip before, I assumed she’d know to pack a toothbrush so her ceremony kiss would be minty fresh. But then I had a change of heart, when your heart is racing on the big day and your mind is overloaded, anything can happen and forgetfulness can ensue. Here’s the ultimate wedding to-do and to-bring list for everyone going to a wedding:

The Pros And Cons Of The #LoveYourSpouse Challenge (Bust.com)

635695324548228861-XXX-homer-marge-danceDoes posting a picture each day over seven days prove to yourself, your marriage and the Internet that you love your spouse? I take a look at the #LoveYourSpouse e-chain challenge that’s slowly taking over your newsfeed for Bust Magazine. Is this hashtag challenge all that it’s cracked up to be? What do you think?

The Power of the Penis Tiara

Artwork by Katrina Majkut, Limelight, Spotlight, G-Spot, Oil on canvas, 68x50 in., 2013Originally published on In the Powder Room. Reprinted with permission.

It’s not often that penises are appropriate outerwear. They’re weather sensitive, you never know if you’re going to pull out a turtle or v-neck, and they shrink in the wash. Occasionally, they create a pearl necklace.

For bachelorettes though, the dick diadem is standard ware for one night. When asked by a bachelorette (who opted out) why brides wear them and why they attract so much attention, I thought, “What a sizable question!”

Finding A Natural Approach to Wedding Skincare

yZdwbFgP0AqPzXzmsDKiSisx89aTuEdrNO9bP2V917cWhen Joanna Shu and I first saw The Devil Wears Prada, we agreed Anne Hathaway had it much easier than us. Our first jobs out of college were far worse, there was no free designer clothing and plenty of modern sexism to endure as two of the few women in the office. Without getting into specifics, our boss’s daily mistreatment made Meryl Streep’s character look like a sweet puppy. It’s no wonder that we forged a deep friendship as a result, and it’s definitely no wonder that both of us, almost a decade later, have set out to work for ourselves; myself as a visual artist and writer, and Shu as the founder and COO of Refresh Skin Therapy.

As The Feminist Bride, I’m always on the look out for companies that meet fiancé’s wedding needs without sucking them down the deep, dark consumerist hole that is the wedding industrial complex. I’m also interested in featuring companies that promote and support women either socially or professionally (e.g. there are way too few companies with women in leadership positions). Shu, a divorced single-mom of two and leader of this vegan skincare line, fit the bill perfectly. So I wanted to ask Ms. Shu how Refresh Skin Therapy fits into the bridal beauty industry and what sets her and her company apart from the others.

25 Signs You’re A Feminist Bride

plus-size-woman-and-small-groom-funny-wedding-topper-designWhat 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.

Colorado Rules to Protect LGBT Rights in Wedding Cake Case

dudes-e1436732604953Sweet 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.

Ben & Jerry’s: Married to Activism, Ice Cream and Civil Rights

Ben and Jerry’s founders were arrested at the U.S. capital recently protesting money in politics, this is not the first time the ice cream enthusiasts have taken political action. In 2012, the Vermont, change-the-world-one-scoop-at-a-time ice cream enthusiasts, Ben & Jerry’s is changed some of their ice cream flavors in support of gay marriage. I can count two separate instances where the company has done so, and I found one image of a personalized ice cream flavored circulating the Internet called, My Fat Greek Gay Wedding.

When Vermont allowed gay marriage they changed classic Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby for the month in September 2009. Ben & Jerry’s opted for an ice cream buffet in 2010 instead of a wedding cake to celebrate when DC decided to allow same-sex couples the right to marry too. They hosted a wedding and reception for local couple Keith Spangler-Vellios and Andreas Vellios at the Georgetown Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop.

And overseas in the UK, they are trying to encourage same-sex marriage awareness and understanding as parliament debates whether or not to legalize it with the aid of Stonewall, a gay rights organization. The activist flavor of choice in this case is Apple-y Ever After. There is also an extensive Facebook and social media campaign to help people influence government and show their support by virtually marrying each other and being able to download a letter of support to send to parliament.

In the US they are rewarding states that approve same-sex marriage with an icy, sweet treat which is wonderful, but I wonder if more campaigns like the one in the UK are more important in the long run in achieving equal marriage rights for all.

With a lot of customized ice cream flavors and monikers associated with specific causes, it is unclear via Ben & Jerry’s company reports whether buying the same-sex flavors proceeds go directly to the partnered gay organizations.

“Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of commitment to social justice, including gay rights. Its partnership with Freedom to Marry, a national leader in the movement for marriage equality, aims to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality and to encourage other states to follow the blazing trails of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Maine.”

Ben & Jerry’s Co-founder Jerry Greenfield is a sponsor of the ReligiousFreedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009.

Ben & Jerry’s has always taken corporate social responsibility to new levels and it’s great to see such a caring company dare to support a cause that could alienate other ice cream lovers. They’re putting social gain over ice cream consumption. That’s not something most companies are willing to do, even on an internal level. (In 1993, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first US companies to offer health and employment benefits to unmarried domestic partners regardless of their sexual orientation.) Their dedication to greater social causes and progressive business philosophies is just the cherry topping we all need.

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The Politics of Wedding Gown Color

Most brides would not consider anything other than a white wedding dress.; alternatives like cream, beige or winter winter doesn’t really count as breaking with tradition. While the connection between a white wedding dress and virginity is dying a slow (but rightful) death in bridal culture, there’s still plenty of people who will make making passive side remarks about the bride and her vagina like, “Looks like she decided to wear white after all.” Gone should be the days when wearing white or any other color for that matter should indicate what the bride’s sexual status is, but there’s plenty of bridal culture precedent to still work against. The politics of a white wedding dress was firmly shaped by religion, class and consumerism, though weirdly enough one of the big enforcers on such bogus color politics was poetry…which, might explain why brides stick with the white wedding dress.

There’s no “Me” in Bride

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?”

How Gender Discrimination Is Creating a Marriage Crisis in India and China

Image Caption: The Economist Video -  Why China and India face a marriage crisis

Image Caption: The Economist Video -
Why China and India face a marriage crisis

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. 

Worried about A Wasteful Wedding?

What if creating the perfect wedding included much more than a well choreographed first dance or coordinated dove release? What if the perfect wedding included a keen consciousness as to how one’s wedding celebration affected the environment around the couple? It makes sense, because how nice can a wedding be if it’s in a dump? AJ+, a global news community brings fiancés an important ecological breakdown of just how wasteful a wedding can be and how it impacts the environment. From how conflicting a diamond ring to how horrible imported flowers can be, the video gives a brief overview of how important it is to really think beyond just the happiness of the couple.

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Amber Rose’s Walk of No Shame

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!”

Image: Funny or Die

Image: Funny or Die

Tina Fey Spanx Ridiculous Clothing Trend #LastDressEver

Tina Fey on The Late Show with David Letterman

Tina Fey on The Late Show with David Letterman

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.

The Perfect Feminist Burlesque Dance (Video)

Image: Comedian Nadia Kamil

Image: Comedian Nadia Kamil

Nothing is better and sexier than a feminist burlesque dance. Here’s why…

  1. There’s no exchange of dollar bills into G-strings. Aside from saving money, no one is supporting the sex industry.
  2. No post-shower needed cuz you don’t feel like a dirty miscreant after watching it.
  3. It’s the “new consensual sexy” cuz it overpowers the male gaze and privilege.
  4. Men and women can enjoy it together if they want.
  5. There’s no skeevy touching, except for the moments that pull on your heartstrings because you feel empathy towards women.
  6. It’s masters the art of comedy and activism, which means you feel really empowered by it.
  7. You WANT to tell all your friends about how awesome it was afterwards because it’s not shady.

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.

Saying No to The Wedding Diet #ThisGirlCan

Image: Sports England #ThisGirlCan

Image: Sports England #ThisGirlCan

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.

‘To Sleep or Not to Sleep’ with Your Fiancé the Night before the Wedding?

Image via HuffPo & alexeyrumyantsev via Getty Images

Image via HuffPo & alexeyrumyantsev via Getty Images

There’s the superstition that it’s bad luck to see your fiancé the day of the wedding, but it starts with the tradition that says a couple should stay in separate bedrooms the night before the wedding too. In this modern day of cohabiting couples and non-virgins, is the not-sleeping-together tradition relative anymore? By sleep I mean, whatever you want to do; be it hitting the hay or having a roll in it. And for the record nowhere in this two-sided argument will higher-than-thou sexual morality be a legitimate defense for it. The whole notion of ‘not-sleeping-together’ is historically part of an oppressive and discriminatory conduct code that demeans sex and anyone who chooses to have it outside of marriage (mostly women). By eliminating the tradition’s inherent sexism, the Shakespearian-esque question still remains, “to sleep or not to sleep with your fiancé the night before the wedding?”

The Greatest Lessons Are The Ones Not Told

Image c/o Queenlatifah.com

Image c/o Queenlatifah.com

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?’

Are Facebook Relationship Over-sharers Overcompensating?

facebook meme 6Ever 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?

Feminist Fashion Friday: Dressing and Thinking Like a ‘Modern Women’ is Hard!

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!

Hey Brides, Harvard Says Your Future Success Depends on Your Future Hubby…

groom-lifting-bride-over-her-head-in-fieldStop 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…)

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.

Walking in The Steps of A Woman (Short-Animation)

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!

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 5.59.46 PM

Managing a Bridal Meltdown     

Bridezillas aside, a bridal meltdown can happen to anyone. It will undoubtedly bridezilla-wedding-stressbe over something worthy of emotion or either a tantrum over nothing. (Though please know that being a bride or groom does not give you the right to have one or be a bridezilla.) Meltdowns can come in all shapes, sizes and reactions. Regardless, as a best lady, mother of the bride, fiancé, wedding planner or consultant, it’s best to brace yourself for the storm. Like any hurricane, no one can predict with accuracy what class it will be and how much it will huff and puff until it tries to take everyone down. As a bridesmaid (Best Lady) or whomever though, contrary to popular belief, there’s no reason to go down with the ship.

Tig Notaro Performed a Bold Comedy Set Topless | Bitch Media

Check out my article on Bitch Media about how Tig Notaro went

Tig Notaro comedy cover for LIVE!

Tig Notaro comedy cover for LIVE!

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!

Is Choosing to Take Your Husband’s Surname Really Feminist?

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.

Knocking up or knocking out baby making wedding traditions

Whether or not to invite kids to a wedding is a one decision, but the bigger polls_baby_bride_0958_923980_poll_xlargedecision is whether not to practice superstitious wedding traditions that try to conceive a baby. The Feminist Bride has established that there are nine wedding traditions that exist in order to get the bride pregnant, now we’re going to provide nine modernized versions of these traditions so getting knocked up is more of an open ended choice.

F-Bombs for Feminism: Princesses Will Not “Let Inequality Go”

Princesses are yelling “Fuck No, I Won’t Let It Go!” when it comes to inequality. Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 1.30.02 PMNor 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?”  

Sexy Halloween Costume ≠ Slutty Woman

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

Wedding Traditions that Want to Get You Pregnant

Get ready, we’re gonna get briefly political and then sexy. Yes, pregnant-bride-dressyou should be confused and slightly intrigued right now.

Ever wonder why some people like to argue that marriage is only “between a man and a woman?” Would you believe that the statement is not necessarily about who has a right to marry, but more of a pretext to what marriage is supposed to be for? We’re talking baby making.

Parody Video: If Men Experienced Accessing Birth Control Like Women

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!

On Beauty: What NOT to Say to A Woman

An awesome group of Hollywood women gathered at a roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter. Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Taylor Schilling (OITNB) and Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) spoke openly about the backhanded compliments people often give to actresses. Though I will argue that every day folk hear similar things all the time. So kudos to these women for putting it out there and calling BS.

Love is Love: The Most Beautiful Depiction of Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

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 Blancothe 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.

Feminist Fashion Friday: Betsey Johnson’s Marriage Equality Runway

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.

How to Stay Sane While Planning a Wedding – Quarterlette.com

Finding it tough to plan a wedding? Do you think wedding how-to books set unreasonable expectations? 11a.Stressed-BrideWell guess what, those wedding how-to books set brides up to fail by implying that if things don’t go smoothly or perfectly – you’re failing. The problem is the perfect wedding is a Holy Grail quest. Like Don Quixote, Bridezillas can very easily to go mad searching for that elusive perfection. The truth is, it simply doesn’t exist. To learn how to ditch annoying perfect industry standards and get five easy steps on how to stay sane while planning a wedding and come to love being an imperfect bride, check out the article I wrote for Quarterlette.com.

 

Playboy Explains When Catcalling is Okay; It’s Surprisingly…Feminist

Playboy, an unlikely ally in women’s quest to end street harassment, especially Bv_DwnmIMAI130Pbecause 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.

The Ugly Handiwork of Selfies on Bridal Confidence

Barely anyone in the world can be a hand model like George Costanza on Seinfeld or like David Duchovny on Zoolander, though I bet Melissa McCarthy has really beautiful hands – call it my handy instincts. Trying to live up to their dexterity standards is dangerous, it’s best to just love your paws as they are, but for some soon-to-be brides this is proving a little too difficult.

These are Christa's hands before (left) and after (right) her hand rejuvenation. (Courtesy of Dr. Ariel Ostad) ABC.com

These are Christa’s hands before (left) and after (right) her hand rejuvenation. (Courtesy of Dr. Ariel Ostad) ABC.com

It turns out that some people might love their fiancé and their fancy-pants engagement ring, but they don’t love their hands. And instead of declaring their new engagement news immediately on social media, some soon-to-be brides are headed to the plastic surgeon first.

Bummed Out Over Wedding Photo Trends?

I looked up “mooning,” “photography,” and “wedding” in my Miss Manners 7162f1194fb6cd4c3e418da9b07d06acbook in the hopes that Miss M would provide some civil insight into the recent wedding trend of the bridal party baring their derrières for a photo op. Surprisingly, she had no personal opinions on the matter.

Why the Wedding Industry Needs More Pro-Women Ads

Now Pantene has joined the list of for-profit companies that are creating ads that not only empower women but address some very real inherent issues in female culture. Joining GoldieBlox, Aunt Flo, Verizon and Always, Pantene is tackling women’s overuse of the phrase, “I’m sorry.” It’s pretty amazing to see how Sheryl Sandberg’s #BanBossy Campaign has filtered down into other areas. After all the controversy it received, it’s clear that a lot of important people at big women-focused companies were all change, which is why we’re seeing so many of these types of ads. I don’t know about you, but I hope to see many more and in MEN’S advertising too!

Bob Barker on Hobby Lobby Verdict

 Sorry, this is too hilarious (and poignant) not to create. #NotMyBossesBalls

BobBarkerSCOTUS

Fun Feminist Friday: Hilarious Durex Condom Ad

For your fun feminist Friday frills, here’s a hilarious Durex condom ad that only made it so far as Down Under (which given the ad is kinda perfect). You’ll never look at balloon animals the same way ever again. Or at least, kids parties will be a lot funnier now. Remember guys to always use protection!

Breaking Pregnancy News – Or Not

In case you’re putting the bump before the bouquet or getting pregnant after the party, here’s a cathartic and funny video about the frustrations of finding out if you’re pregnant.

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Garter Go or Garter Stay?

Ever watched a groom disappear under the layers of lace and chiffon of a bride’s dress? garter, rustic wedding, Country Chic, rustic chic, barn wedding, wedding shoes, country wedding, san luis obispo photography, crystal shoes, barn reception, central coast california, garter toss, SummerHe’s searching for the promise of an exciting wedding night, while guests wonder what’s really going on as his head is between the bride’s legs. With a drum roll he emerges triumphant, garter in his teeth, smiling. On such an innocent and pure occasion, the garter symbolizes the unspoken privilege of marriage – sex, sex and more sex. It’s a brazen implication in front of family, coworkers and maybe a religious official. But as guests grin and gasp in amusement or feigned horror, one has to wonder, is the garter really appropriate for a wedding?

During a medieval tradition called the bedding ceremony, the bride and groom were escorted by the groomsmen to the newlywed bedchamber. Since any piece of the bride’s garment was considered lucky with the garter as the crème de le crème, the men would subsequently scuffle with the bride to remove the garter. As a result, the bride started preemptively throwing it away.  And thus the garter toss tradition was born because who doesn’t like a good ‘ole medieval groping?

Obviously, the garter is an erotic symbol, yet women throw asexual flowers. During the wedding game, brides shyly laugh and try to push the groom out of her undergarments, whereas the groom seeks the treasured garter using his sexual prowess. Imagine reversing the roles, with the bride sexually aggressive and tossing some tighty whities. Seems raunchy right? It’s a complete double standard to how men and women are allowed to treat sex, yet it’s accepted and practiced at nearly every wedding without a second thought.

Many a fair maiden has pranced around in a garter. It’s a fun, frilly piece of lace meant to be sexy and flirtatious. Other than Victoria Secret models, no one really wears them for functional reasons like holding up your pantyhose and knickers. It serves no practical purpose anymore; instead, promoting the notion that purity and virginity are present, but that the wearer has a friskier side. A perfect cat and mouse chase. Removable chastity.

There are creative possibilities to rethink the tradition more fairly and appropriately without abandoning the garter completely. Consider keeping it private and solely for the wedding night. Removing the garter can be quite the sensual act and will definitely be more fun to keep going without an audience waiting to dance the funky chicken. It could be relegated to a Jack and Jill party where guests will be close friends from the same generation who accept the sexuality of the garter removal and toss. Or for the couple who decides to keep the tradition, think about incorporating something equally sexual for the bride; say, removing her husband’s bow tie with her teeth – that would be talent – or if the couple is very bold, reverse the roles completely now that would be an evocative and witty message.

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Jesus Recruits Sarah Silverman to Spread his Word on Abortion

There’s a lot of things I’d ask Jesus if I met the guy in person, like why curse some people with not liking cilantro, what would his Cliff game choices be if I gave him Oprah, Psy and Steve Buscemi and what are his thoughts on Lena Dunham’s constant nudity in Girls? But kudos to Sarah Silverman who dared to ask, “Jesus, when does life begin?”

In a random late night bootie call visit, Jesus approached Sarah to be his spokesperson. He was feeling pretty bummed about how people use his name for intolerance and oppression. After a NCIS marathon, seems Silverman took J-Bones up on his request and started to share the harsh reality of women’s access to reproductive rights, i.e. abortion. “Comedy-expert,” Laura Ingraham may not have appreciated the banter with Jesus, but I found Silverman’s straightforward historical context and tell-it-like it is storytelling refreshing and captivating. I also loved how she showed what a double standard it was to legislate vaginas but not penises. And to give our own fun fact, Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson (D) actually tried to get this penis probe added to the “personhood” movement, which gave all eggs and semen the same rights as American citizens to make a point about how skewed legislature controls women’s bodies but not men’s.

What’s even better is that Silverman also asks you to carry on the word of Jesus by signing up with www.LadyPartsJustice.com to keep up to date on the level of personal pussy power in the US. There will even be a series of events through “V To Shining V” throughout the country where women can come together on these issues. So thanks for setting the record straight Sarah, oh and by the way – awesome shirt.

A Rom Com Gets Real Over Choice – OBVIOUS CHILD

In the saccharine land of rom coms, plots can be trite, characters undefined and sappy sweet endings all too predictable for most movie goers. And the worst part is that they are usually geared towards women. No one wants to watch the same movies with the same formulas. If you’re like me, you’ve been looking for something different, endearing and more in touch with reality.

That’s where Obvious Child (2014) comes in by writer and director, Gillian Robespierre. Unlike rom coms being about getting the boy or choosing love, Obvious Child is about what a woman chooses for herself – in this case, an abortion. It follows Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the worst/best Valentine’s Day of her life. The best part about the film’s description is that it focuses on the nature of the Donna’s choice and how after everything, she ends up all right.

Hillary Defender of Reproductive Rights and Family Planning

Strong. Confident. And accurately informed. Hillary 2016. Need The Feminist Bride say more?

Girls Can Be More Than Princesses

As a child of the 80s and 90s, all I wanted to do was build and engineer things with my Legos. People were nice enough to encourage this, but they insisted on only giving me pink Lego sets with dolphins and pink convertibles instead. As adults perhaps they thought they knew better than 8-year old me, who wanted the train or pirate sets they marketed to boys. Barbies held no interest for me, but I loved building the sets of houses where she lived. And I had to built it without instructions because that was more challenging. Once it was built, it sat there collecting dust. I was pro-princess however, but when I played princess she was the heroine and I was frequently rescuing others. I adapted to the gendered toys handed down to me, but I spent so much energy modifying them to fit something beyond their girlie-ness that I have to wonder if my creativity and personal development was limited by them.

That’s where GoldieBlox comes in. It’s a toy company that focuses on creating construction toys that develop an early interest in  science, technology, engineering and math for girls. It was started because for over a hundred years, these types of toys have been limited to the boys club. One might argue that girls could easily just buy and use the same Erector Sets the boys use, but marketing has sent a clear message that those toys are more for boys than girls. And it’s had a profound effect on women in the sciences.

“Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women.” (New York Times, October 2013, Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?) Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women (Upworthy.com).

They are trying to get the message out on this discrepancy and get girls constructing! They’ve released an awesome ad, which they are vying to get into the Superbowl with. It will be a great break to see girls do something else than eat Doritos provacatively, wash cars in bikinis or drink cold bear in a push up bra. So if you want young viewers to see something with a positive message that’s not about sex and stereotypes, vote for GoldieBlox here!

It may be too late for me to reclaim my childhood filled with pink and princesses, but GoldieBlox and myself can at least make sure that the next generation of girls can be more than just damsels in distress!

 

Colbert Nation: Unromantic Rick Santorum Challenged on Gay Marriage

Stephen Colbert is once again challenging politicians on the state of marriage. Here’s how it goes down (get to the 5.05 mark):

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“You’ve got these 15 states (Illinois was just added as the 16th state) plus the District of Columbia that are riding the rainbow train to helltown right now,” Colbert said, “Hasn’t this one slipped away from us?”

 “I think the real problem here is marriage has slipped away from us,” Santorum said. “Marriage has devolved into just a romantic relationship between two people. And that’s not what marriage is.”

“No, it’s for transferring property,” Colbert joked.

Santorum went on to defend that its purpose was to procreate essentially…I had no clue that romance was bad for procreating. I guess I’ll have to put away my candles, bottle of bubbly and The Notebook for the next date night. Apparently, Santorum doesn’t know what foreplay is. He just gets down to business.

Santorum seems to be forgetting that heterosexual procreation in marriage is religious dogma and that there is now, luckily, a separation of church and state. I’m currently reading All Dressed in White by Carol McD. Wallace and she states how in the early to mid 20th century divorce was as high as 1 in 4 marriages (1946). A good explanation for this is that couples adhering to the traditional family gender roles of male breadwinner and female mother and housewife were not enough for a successful marriage. Before that divorce wasn’t an option and the unlimited production of children put great physical and financial strain on a marriage and the mother (that is until birth control became accessible). History tells us marriage for procreation alone was not enough to have a good marriage, nor a fulfilling life. If you ask me, successful modern marriage is about the union of two people who love each other regardless of demographics, who bring dynamic and supportive characteristics to their new family in order to make it stronger and whole. That foundation, and the decisions made within in, are what advance society and that includes children both adopted and biological of gay parents. Producing children in a linear [heterosexual] model for the sake of marriage is not enough to advance a healthy society, Santorum.

On children with same-sex parents Santorum replied, “Every child has the right to their natural mother and father. Every child has a natural mother and father and they have a right to that mother and father to give them what only a mother and only a father can give.”

Colbert, “Wouldn’t it be better for them to have no parents than to be loved by two gay people?”

“The point of the law is to encourage what is best,” Santorum replied. “It’s to set a standard for what is best, not to set a standard short of what is best, because when you do that you get less of what is necessary.”

His parenting argument is about as weak as his romantic skills. Technically, under this rhetoric he’s even challenging the legitimacy of heterosexual adoptive parents. I’ve had the fortune of getting to know a lot of gay parents and the love I see them give to their children is unmatched and amazing. And if you don’t believe me check out the speech by Zach Wahls of Iowa. Santorum seems to miss that a successful marriage and a parent starts with the quality of character of that individual, not who they choose to watch The Notebook with.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Shares How Gov’t Shutdown Affects Women

Senator Elizabeth Warren takes to the podium on the Senate floor on September 30, 2013 to remark on the devastating impact this government shutdown will have and how it is basically a ransom tactic for Republicans to get their demands met. If you’ve ever watched Senator Warren speak publicly, you know she’s forthright and likes to rely on facts and decisions (Watch the hearing on the minimum wage as a good example).

What’s awesome about the speech is that she goes into how it affects women and how this shutdown is based on obsolete ideologies and not modern lifestyles. Not only that, they are catering only to their own agenda and not the welfare and benefit of a diverse nation of peoples. Senator Warren explains how a minority  group of Republicans are taking the economy hostage and more or less refusing to participate in the democratic process that America prides itself on.

I think it is safe to say the level of frustration among all Americans and government employees runs at an all time high. While there’s a lot of finger pointing going on in the House right now with simpleminded slamming, it’s nice to hear a congressional leader offer an opinion that is not based on derisiveness or ugly tactics, but on reason and empathy. And as woman and the feminist bride, who is always constantly concerned that my access to reproductive freedoms will be limited or taken away, it’s reassuring to know that someone is looking out for me and women like me.

As far as Obamacare goes, having grown up in Massachusetts with a father who’s worked for a major healthcare company for over thirty years I’d like to think I have a unique personal insight into state enforced healthcare. I’ve always been fortunate to have excellent health insurance, but there was a period of about two years when I just chose to opt out. The penalty I paid for not having healthcare each year as a Massachusetts resident was about $41 dollars. Now I understand the arguments against big government, but I had two choices with this mandated tax; I could throw a tantrum, refuse to pay it and shutdown the government or I could just pay the measly $41. When I tried to get independent, private healthcare in the middle of that two year period, I was denied for having Reynauds. If you’re unfamiliar with the disease, I was denied healthcare coverage because my hands get cold. You know how I cure it? I put on gloves. If you want to have an eye opening read on how the current system is horrifically broken I suggest reading Time Magazine’s The Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. It’s clear there’s a lot Americans need to work on and improve and who’s to say how we’ll need to recover from the shutdown, but I feel like I can rest a little bit easy with Senator Warren in my corner. There have been many times when I’ve been amazingly proud to be from Massachusetts, this is another moment.

 

 

Is Cutting The Cake A Gross Or Delicious Display of PDA?

Some find the entire pomp and circumstance of the cake cutting ceremony as cake-feedsugarcoated narcissism. They assume no guest wants to witness a gross display of PDA. Is it possible they are right? It is, after all, becoming less and less popular – perhaps for that reason. The tradition is indeed a form of entertainment, which in some circles is seen as part of the indulgent, luxury-wedding syndrome that is both ostentatious and vain.

The act of feeding a spouse wedding cake symbolizes your promise to nurture and care for them. When it’s done equally, it’s a selfless act making it also a very parental act. Freud would have a field day with this because it is also a sexual act, you’re entering someone’s intimate space and putting sexual food in open orifices. If that idea makes the ritual seem weird, it’s because it is; but don’t worry, if you don’t like being the center of attention, skip the cake and its cost or take some sheet cake and feed each other privately.

Me though, I like cake and I enjoy a good cake in the face at somebody else’s expense. I loved the photos of my own parents’ wedding of my mom smushing cake in my dad’s face. When he tried to do the same, in a move of comical genius she pushed his own cake-filled hand into his own face. I desperately wanted to repeat this as a new personal tradition, but didn’t have the hutzpah. Besides cake in the face indicates to the guests it is time for dessert.

 

The UK’s Bachelor/Bachelorette Party: Stags and Hens

A stag (bachelor) and hen (bachelorette) party are something to behold, but in feminist bride fashion first: SpecialEventPartys_StagHenParty_1Why do men get to call their parties after a noble animal, and women get to name theirs after one that poops eggs? Better than naming a group of women after a brood of cackling hens, let’s rename them lioness parties. 

On a 2011 summer trip to Edinburg, Scotland, my spouse and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. What we thought would be a magical weekend full of castles and becoming famous by discovering the Loch Ness monster, ended up being caught in an endless sea of stag and hen parties. Little did we know, Edinburg was party central for them, and little did we know, the romantic room we booked over a pub would be on top of were they all congregated from 10am till 2am (Yes, 10 AM).

What is unique about stag and hen parties is that one; they seem to include people of all ages – your mom’s mom, your aunt, you, all the way to your local librarian it seems. Wondering what all the ruckus was that made our anniversary bed vibrate (it wasn’t us), we wandered into an underground club blasting Katie Perry to Lady Gaga while grandpa got jiggy with it next to some bride-to-be in her 1.99£ tiara, veil and sash.

StagsHensPartiesThe second amazing thing is the dedication to costume these groups have: from sexy sailors to sexy witches to something else sexy. Every hen party is decked out in an outrageous costume. Equally amazing is that while, the stag parties don’t seem to dress up as much there were a lot of men who looked liked they had found an equally drunk girl to pull a phone booth clothing swap. There was always a barely coherent guy in a tilted wig, a mini skirt, trying to balance in high heels on cobblestones while trying not to spill his ale. The next blight, post plague, for this little medieval part of Edinburg seems to be hen and stag parties because many pub doors had written warnings on them reading, “No fancy dress allowed.” For an international b-party, dust off a Halloween costume and head to Edinburg. It was such a sight that on our one-year anniversary, my spouse and I starred at others more than at each other, but we made wonderful memories anyway.

 



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The Unrecognized Athleticism of the Stripper Pole

For my bachelorette party in Las Vegas, we participated in some typical bachelorette events. 00334-bendy-diva-dive-thumbnail-c644820e960bf153face69fbd005ad53d4ff74cdSome of us went to see The Thunder Down Under at the Excalibur and some instead went to go see…John Stewart. Whatever floats your sexy boat. Another night many of us went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. Here is my best way to describe Zumanity – half Vaudeville humor, half erotica show with the typical Cirque du Soleil acrobatics but with stripper poles. We all enjoyed the show, it was tastefully, well balanced between the love scenes, the star crossed lover story lines, the flying trapeze boobies and the sexy cheerleader who was twirled around by the grip of her teeth. However, we were most impressed with the pole dancing moves. They literally defied gravity.

In saying, “I Do,” did you choose wisely?

Stonehill College was nice enough to invite me as the keynote speaker to a panel on gay marriage. As a Catholic school, it had just added anti-hazing based on one’s sexuality to its school charter; and given the recent US Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage was a hot topic on campus. I was joined by two professors one with a law background commenting on the recent US Supreme Court ruling and another who specialized in the gender issues and gay marriage. I decided to talk about choice feminism and how within a hetero framework, women who use the “freedom of choice” to justify patriarchal or socialized gender traditions perpetuate prejudice and discrimination in both sexual spheres. In my lecture, I asked that choice be made not just to the benefit of oneself, but keeping in mind the needs and welfare of others as choice is constraint by many systems, both seen and unseen, and therefore must be made wisely.

A special thanks to Stonehill College. The students and faculty were very welcoming, respectful and engaged; and I appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas and research.

Breaking the Rules Panel. April 2013

Best Commercial About Your Period Ever!

So full disclosure, I’m a little jealous of this commercial. Not only was getting your period in your ‘tweens in the mid ’90s not considered a “red badge of courage,” but revealing the secret that you had met your Aunt Flo meant getting snickered at and teased. No one wanted to be the first one among your friends back then.

Apparently not in this day and age though! HelloFlo, a company that distributes period care packages at the time of your cycle, produced a company commercial that not only makes your period public knowledge, but makes it cool to do so (and they’re directing a good lesson to a young audience with adult appeal!) Talk about Mensa for your menses.

Having gone to a college where my freshman year it was only 30% women and then into finance where I was lucky to even see another woman during my work day, it’s really refreshing to see (even if it’s a commercial) something be forthright in our daily lives about our periods. No more sneaking tampons up your sleeves or explaining that you’re taking your entire purse to the bathroom – “just cuz.” Periods stink, but as the commercial poignantly points out to “Suck it up and deal with it!”

I’m happy that a feminine hygiene company finally decided to not add to our suffering with anemic commercials. Guys get cool commercials like with Axe Body Spray, DollarShaveClub.com and Dos Equis’s Most Interesting Man in the World. Girls need that type of (bra)vado and her-chismo in their every day media in order to build strong, confident women too! Kraft recently stepped up their funny-game and sex appeal with their Zesty guy. Then there’s a Russian Tampax commercial, which while crassly comedic; might not help women in the long run. It did take a long time for women to shake off the stereotype that it was unhealthy to ride a horse, go on a lion safari or swim in the open sea during your moon cycle. The other plus side to commercials like Camp Gyno is that it allows us to laugh and commiserate together. Plus there’s candy.

The Future of Marriage

In honor of the Supreme Court ruling today defending the legality and support of same-sex marriage, I thought offering insight into the future of marriage would be a salient point. I’m thrilled that many same-sex couples in states that recognize gay marriage can now enjoy the same state and federal benefits hetero-couples do, and I hope that many of those in states behind the curve can start planning their own legal nuptials soon too. However, while today was a huge milestone there is still lots more to accomplish…for all sexual orientations. Everyone should keep marriage equality as their number one wish on their wedding registry.

In the meantime, I predict more scandalous celebrity marriages and divorces that will push the limits of conventional marriages (I’m looking at you Kardashians). Now with California, I foresee one highly publicized gay celebrity marriage sponsored by US Weekly that will help mitigate the fears of same-sex marriage, but also (unfortunately) perpetuate gay stereotypes. I envision a line of new wedding products designed by those briefly married celebrities. I foreshadow more diversity in the couples TLC wedding shows exploit. Rom-coms will continue to define its female lead’s value by the relationship she gets by the end of the movie. After all of this, I hope Hollywood will be a little more conscientious about how it treats marriage and those within it. 

There are more positive things to predict though. I predict, like interracial marriage, gay marriage will be commonplace in the next twenty years and our children (born inside or outside of marriage) will read about this civil rights movement in their history books. In the near future, I anticipate people will come to better understand that mass cultural institutions cannot take precedence over a person’s private rights as protected under the fourteenth amendment. I also hope same-sex marriage naysayers learn that a strict exclusive definition to marriage dilutes its power and meaning, it is stronger when it is all encompassing and embracing. Love does not discriminate and as its formal frame, neither should marriage. I believe gay marriage will help eradicate sexist gender roles in wedding traditions and marriage and we will be better off for it. I predict every person, regardless of their race, age, gender and sexual orientation will eventually access the same rights, the same benefits and the same protection, not because they fell in love with someone, but because we’ve come to respect and love humanity above the private privileges marriage retains for itself. But most of all, I hope the terms same-sex or gay marriage disappear and we can just recognize those forms of marriage as what they truly are, just marriage.

I predict the next big issue when it comes to marriage will be among the permanent, lifestyle singles. With 95% of people trying marriage at least once in a lifetime, the next minority to feel excluded from the special provisions provided by marriage will be singles, and single families. This means that fixing the cracks and dents in our existing family law will be the next reform issue. And it’s a major one. We seldom realize that our existing family law discriminates against almost everyone, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, marital status and age. (Sorry, plural marriage participators I just don’t think the US is ready to pull your number for reform next.) I foreshadow that in the effort to eradicate singlism, the next great debate will not be what is marriage, but what constitutes family.

I’m struck by all the happy and celebratory posts on Facebook in light of today’s Supreme Court ruling, particularly by those who do not benefit directly from today’s historic ruling. Their elation shows true altruism. For everyone celebrating though, it proves that marriage is purely enjoyed when everyone can partake in it. And for my final predictions, I foresee a still long walk to the aisle for same-sex couples, but today it got a little shorter; I envision happier and just slightly brighter smiles at weddings, and I expect to get invited to many more weddings now.

Designer Necklace Meets Cheap Social Construction

Really Kate Spade? This is a little low brow. Sure Carrie Bradshaw wore her trinket Carrie necklace religiously, which had more intrinsic value than any other high fashion item in her closet but it also didn’t assert any social gendering.

There’s probably no “Mr.” version of this necklace, but even if there were, it still wouldn’t represent men discriminately based on his relationship status like a “Mrs.” necklace does. Brides and wives need to think about what it means when being called Mrs. Mrs. carries a lot of unfair social construction and identity politics compared to Mr. When a man marries his identity and name does not change based on his new relationship status, but a woman’s does according to name change tradition and that has a lot of sordid historical weight to it.

Want to be treated as an equal, maintain the integrity of your identity without having to redefine it just because you went through a new life stage? Than opt for using Ms. It’s a much stronger statement and from this feminist perspective a much more awesome sentiment to wear around your neck.

To Learn More About Name Change:

VIDEO: Why Do Brides Take Their Husband’s Names?

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

Party Planning: Who’s Booking The Stripper and/or Spa?

The funny thing about wedding book guides is that it suggests the bridesmaid and Maid of Honor plan and pay for the shower and bachelorette party. The question is – is that really good and fair advice? Fiances are now financially independent, living on their own or cohabitating; gone are the days when brides had to ask mom and dad for a loan or an allowance. If brides have more financial autonomy, if they expect a party in their honor and want to dictate the details of it, shouldn’t they step up as party leader and payer?

If the party is given as a surprise with the bride sitting in the passenger planning seat, then it seems more reasonable for the cost to be covered by others. In the grand scheme of things though, at what point does another financial burden begin to break a bridesmaid’s back? She is already paying for a dress, shoes, alterations, gifts, maybe make up and hair and overnight or travel accommodations. Her hangover after a bachelorette party might be the least of her concerns after she gets her credit card bill. 

The difficulty, as a bridesmaid, if knowing when and how to say, ‘enough spending’; and as a bride, to understand that there are limitations to everyone’s budget and that her own expectations can’t be met by everyone’s balance sheet. This current wedding party financial etiquette leaves brides and bridesmaids open to awkwardness and trouble. The tradition stems from times when women didn’t have their own cash influx, but this is not the case for modern women. It’s time to update this tradition – to accommodate different budgets, expectations, responsibilities and be open and nonjudgmental about it all.

If the bride is really running the show, she should be open to paying her way. Party guests can also choose to chip in for something special and fun like that lap dance, a nice bottle of champagne or a massage with Sven.[1] Bridesmaids should not have to worry about forgoing certain events or services at the expense of not feeling a part of the group or worry about subsequent ostracism. The party will be much more enjoyable when people aren’t obsessing over whether or not they can afford the next round of shots they feel pressured into reciprocally buying. Bridemaids will feel better knowing they can share their feelings that buying matching penis hats for the bachelorette party is a waste of money, instead of knowing such opinions will only get them dirty looks from other bridesmaids who feel it’s a good investment.

At the end of party, it’s not about who pays that makes a good bridesmaid or bride, but the sincerity given in toasts, the genuine happy smiles captured in pictures and the honest effort executed in making everyone happy. It’s true that it’s the thought that counts, but everyone has different ideas on what’s thoughtful. The problem is current wedding etiquette entangles party expectations and friendship support with financial obligations and that is not a healthy mix. 

[1] I hear massages by guy’s name Sven are always good…

Movie Review: Bachelorette

Bachelorette (2012): The Hangover and Bridesmaids, this movie, is not (but it tries really hard to be). Despite featuring actresses and actors I really enjoy and my doppleganger, K. Dunst, there’s little brilliance they could bring to this script. To start, this is a good example of how good-hearted humor goes much farther than mean-spirited humor and there was a lot of the later in the movie. From making fun of the bride for being fat, calling strippers skanks, and calling bulimics messed up in the head just to name a few feel-good gems, it got really good with the profuse use of calling just about everyone the C-word. Then there was the scene that pretty much encouraged one groomsmen to take advantage of an inebriated bridesmaid. And he should get over his moral anxiety by taking a Xanax so he can take advantage of the drunk girl who was G.T.G. (good to go). There was one redeeming moment when the bridesmaids start arguing with a strip club doorman about how misogynistic it is for women to need a male escort in order to enter the premises, but that was short-lived. I’m all for raunchy comedy, but the degenerate humor just came off as…degenerate, unlike its predecessor movies that managed to take off-color comedy and make it fun and clever. Director: Leslye Headland

Mazel Tov, Liz Lemon! You Are A Beautiful Feminist Bride.

Blurg! Everyone’s favorite fictional feminist got married last night on NBC’s 30 Rock. What kind of wedding does career-oriented Liz Lemon have? Well, it did not involve ham and other delicatessen treats, jorts or sun pee to toast the newlyweds. What it did involve was awesomeness served up with some midnight cheese on top and some sweet Tony Bennett on the side.

Watch out cuz ‘We’ll Marry Your Girlfriends!’

Sorry feminist brides, I’ve been MIA lately (grr, grad school!), but here I am bringing to you a FABulous video clip from CollegeHumor.com which I hope makes up for my temporary absence. In light of the advances towards allowing gay marriage this past election, here is a motivational video that will hopefully sway those reluctant to support gay marriage. Enjoy!

 

Marriage: When people kept it in the Family

After consummating their marriage, my friend’s parents discovered in family charts that they are in fact 23rd cousins, twice removed. They remain happily married to this day. While twenty-three degrees of separation seems like a big enough number to continue sleeping soundly in a joint bed, the cultural acceptance of relationships with only a few degrees of separation is just too close for comfort for most. Despite cultural taboos and legal barriers, the heart of the matter lies in the fact that affectionately entwined bloodlines have played a massive role in shaping history and culture throughout human history.

Laws preventing consanguineous marriages still exist, but more-than-friendly brother-sister relations still occur like out of a V.C. Andrews novel. The latest international news story was about a German couple in 2001: As a result of their amorous affection, they bore a child, did hard time, and love still survived. The idea of it still captures the distorted fears of moviegoers today with movies like The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, 1986, 1974), Deliverance (1972) and Wrong Turn (2003). In less horrifying film, who can forget in The Godfather III when Mary Corleone ignited a fire with her cousin Vinnie Mancini, but her father, Michael Corleone, forbade it.

While today sibling relationships are both taboo and illegal, there was a time when it was widely practiced, and even encouraged in order to prevent the tainting of royal bloodlines. Before Mark Anthony, Cleopatra VII was married to her brother Ptolemy XIII, and she was the offspring of a sibling marriage as well. While technically illegal during Roman times, it is said that Roman Emperor Caligula did the deed with all three of his sisters, Julia Livilla,Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger. And no story of incest would be complete without the tale of Oedipus, who brought shame and ruin to himself and his city for marrying his mother. These tales were (and still are) told to children to impart lessons on morality, civility and health. The moral of these stories is that it is wrong to bang your sister and have children with her, but unsurprisingly, nature has a hand in promoting or preventing this kind of attraction.

The Westermarck effect is a process by which two people become sexually desensitized to each other during their first couple years of life, which is thought to be a natural selection process promoting gene diversity. For example, when a sister’s friend finds her older brother attractive, the sister fails to relate to the attraction. On the other hand, there is a theory of a “genetic sexual attraction,” whereby relatives kept apart during their formative years might be more inclined towards mutual sexual attraction. Finally, it’s well known that the risk of congenital diseases and birth defects rises with each inbred generation, a risk factor that can be determined by an “inbreeding coefficient.” An Ohio State studyresearched Charles Darwin’s genealogy.  Ironically, Darwin himself was a product of consanguineous marriages; and after marrying his cousin; their 10 children faced severe health problems and infertility. Three of them died prematurely. It is thought that Darwin’s children suffered from inbreeding effects.

Over hundreds of years, marriages between cousins frequently occurred for a variety of reasons. Like ancient Egyptian royalty, European royalty encouraged marriage between cousins as a political strategy to unite kingdoms and forge alliances. The Hasburg family of Austria was most famous for interfamilial marriages, so much so that Charles II of Spain exhibited signs of genetic disorders. Ultimately, his infertility led to the extinction of the Hasburg family line. Survival and companionship was another motivation, which was especially useful in pioneering communities. For small religious groups at risk of extinction, faith survived better by marrying those within the community – namely relatives. Retaining wealth, assets and titles was a huge driver in uniting relatives. Laws prior to the 1900s forbade women from retaining property and turned all assets over to her husband’s control. So to keep it in the family, families literally kept it all in the family. But in today’s more modern times, love may just naturally bud at family reunions, maybe as a result of that “genetic sexual attraction” theory. Pass the potatoes please.

Despite the dangers of inbreeding, along with the social and religious ramifications, there are an amazing amount of geniuses and leaders associated with this consanguineous practice. Johann Sebastian Bach married his cousin and they had seven children together. Albert Einstein thought it a smart idea too. Jessie James was not so much of a tough-guy to say no to his cousin, and perhaps writers Edgar Allen Poe and H.G. Wells both found inspiration in their aunt and uncle’s children. Queen Victoria, who set in motion the Victorian model of a modest bride, married her cousin, Prince Albert. Jerry Lee Lewis married his second cousin, an improvement over firsts, but he loses points because she was allegedly only 13. And while FDR bravely battled the Depression and Nazis, and while Rudy Giuliani fought against the destructive efforts of terrorists in 2001, both succumbed to the feminine wiles of their cousin-wives as well. (Giuliani anulled his marriage after 14 years with the Catholic church on the grounds the cousin-thing made it illegal in the first place.)

Affinity marriages are ones of indirect blood relations and can be defined as “in-laws,” which are still too close for comfort in certain jurisdictions and religions. One of the most famous affinity marriages is that of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, daughter to Spain’s Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. Catherine had been married to Henry’s brother, Arthur, who died suddenly. To keep relations between Spain and England strong, Henry married Catherine after she promised the first marriage had never been consummated, and the Pope granted dispensation from affinity. Eventually, Henry, lusting after one of the Boleyns, justified his divorce from Catherine on the grounds that she had, in fact, consummated the marriage with Henry’s brother. And then he accused Anne Boleyn of sleeping with her brother in order to get rid of her.

Despite religious condemnation, legal disapproval and social discontent, history has shown that the practice was generally accepted among some of the world’s greatest leaders, thinkers and poets. While Thomas Jefferson marrying his third cousin seems too long ago to matter in the present day, the taboo itself has widely shaped and influenced history and culture. The question of its morality is not what’s being debated here, this dialogue is to bring attention to the fact that by treating consanguineous marriage as abnormal and taboo, we fail to recognize it as a pervasive component in history and in doing so only half the story will ever be heard.

FB Movie Review: Muriel’s Wedding

Muriel’s Wedding (1994): Yet another movie that revolves around Abba (someone please explain the Abba/Wedding phenomenon) but set in Australia. This movie is what one would expect the adult follow up to Welcome to the Dollhouse would be like. Muriel is awkward, talentless, painfully unfashionable and dateless. As the movie unfolds it becomes apparent that Muriel’s obsession with weddings and marriage stems from being surrounded by an unsupportive network of friends and family. Until she breaks away from her hometown via theft, does her life begin to change for the better when she meets Rhonda Epinstock. As Muriel pulls her life together she begins to relinquish her attachment to Abba and weddings, though when things sour it all goes terribly wrong. In the end she learns that marriage and a wedding is not the solution to her problems nor will give her value. Despite the painfulness and awkwardness of its characters and storyline, there are some really good lessons about our obsession with weddings and marriage worth paying attention to. Subject: Wedding, Marriage, Abba. Director P.J. Hogan.