A friend’s blog post led me to the following very interesting discussions on the internets, on the very topic of yesterday’s ramblings:

What Are the Pros and Cons of Getting Married? from Jezebel.com

The 100-odd pages of comments (!) tell me that a lot of women are staring down this question, and make a lot of good points. In the States, it seems that government incentives heavily favour married folks (and vigourously discriminate against gay couples). These comments also led me to the Offbeat Bride website, which is a little too rabidly fond of weddings for my comfort, but does have a thoughtful essay about what it means to skip the traditional expectations for a wedding and design your own ceremony instead:

Is Having an Offbeat Wedding Any Different Than Having a Traditional Wedding?

 I’m not quite clear how much of my reluctance to just set a date and go for it results from my ambivalence towards the whole Western cultural institutions of weddings and marriage. Wearing white (woman’s virginity being integral to the transaction). Being given away (woman as property). Engagement rings (for women only). Vowing to obey (I know, this isn’t common anymore, but I grew up around seriously conservative religious relatives, and women vow to obey). The groom asking the bride’s father for permission to marry her (see above, with the crazy conservative family.)

My family might be a special case, but the cultural idea that a wedding is the culmination of a young woman’s life is still alive and well in mainstream North American culture, along with accompanying assumption is that marriage the end of a woman’s autonomous identity.

I hate the idea of taking my husband’s name with a fervour that I know perfectly well is unreasonable (what, my own last name isn’t patriarchal?) but that doesn’t stop me from arching my back and spitting. Partnership should affect our identities equally. Z did refuse my suggestion of taking a new, combined last name together. I can’t really blame him – I don’t love the idea of changing my name, so why should he?  I am fine with us having separate names, and kind of like the implication that our personal identities as presented publically wouldn’t change with marriage. We will cross the bridge of what to name our child/ren when the time comes. Poor kid/s. I will probably settle for something like my last name as middle name, which is what my mother did for me.

As we understand the laws of our province, we can each legally use whichever last name we want once we are married.  That is, assuming I arise from this apathy and ambivalence, and commit to a weddin’ date.

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