“Feminism” is the buzz word that’s ruling the internet right now. What women can and can’t do. What women should and shouldn’t say. How women are being shown and how women are being treated. Of course, anyone who’s bothered to read more than The Daily Mail headlines will know this isn’t what feminism is all about. But that’s a different blog for a different day. Instead, my rage will be directed towards the recent Mirror article that stated Cheryl Cole adopting her new husband’s surname was “medieval” and “horribly sexist”. It went on to discuss the “acres of misogyny in the actual wedding itself, all done in the name of tradition”, including the father giving her away, and the men being in charge of the speeches – and as such, I couldn’t help but let the romantic inside my get carried away for a little moment.
“If I get married, I want to be very married.” -Audrey Hepburn
Of course, I’m 20 and single, so all my wedding plans live very much in my flirtatious female imagination. Yet even so, it’s a topic I love to discuss. Not in a psycho-crazy-woman type way, but it’s just so fascinating to see the difference in womanly opinion on such a universal subject, especially with the range of options that this modern day offers.
In Girl World, the fantasy of weddings starts off with Disney movies and Prince Charmings. We grow up with the idea of finding a man and having a big beautiful ceremony with a flowing white gown, a solo harpist stealing the limelight and the attention of all our family and friends fixed on us while we laugh and cry our way through the evening. It’s a fairly standard procedure, and men – judge us all you want, but it is a big exciting moment in a little girl’s life.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” ― Jane Austen
Perhaps my ‘archaic’ views on marriage come from the fact that I’m somewhat of a traditionalist. In life, I want the “House + Wedding + Babies” combination, and so a big, happy, family wedding is a part of that. While I’d personally pass on a church wedding, (in the world of love, the only God I preach to Beyoncé) the idea of a large and lovely party fuelled by champagne and music is what sells the whole idea of marriage. As such I also have a soft spot for the traditions involved in weddings. Something Old Something New, not seeing the bride in the wedding dress, the first dance; I find it so beautiful that, in a world so diverse of love, these things can tie us all together as one big group of love sick puppies.
Yet I know a whole range of the sassy independent women who make up this generation hate the idea of a wedding. An expensive, over the top day of showing off couldn’t be less of their idea of happiness. Whether that means opting for a short and sweet affair, eloping off to Vegas, or skipping the nuptials all together in favour of a long and divorce-free life, it’s liberating and encouraging that so many modern women are dreaming about a day of saving money and staying at home in their pyjamas.
“We’ve already got the toaster and everything. There’s no need for a wedding.” – Karl Pilkington
Although the traditional church wedding has declined in recent years – especially with chapel fees on the rise, costing over £1,000 more now than weddings in 2010 – women’s plans of what to do for their big day are so diverse and extreme in their range that nowadays, you can pretty much get away with doing whatever you want.
“All I know is that I’ve ruled out wearing fairy wings. When I was nine I wanted to get married in fairy wings, and now I realize that’s not cool anymore.” – Isla Fisher
I have some friends who are strongly religious and dream of the full church God accompanied ceremony, and some who want a quick piss-up on a beach in the Bahamas. Personally, I’ve always wanted to focus any big day around the future Mr Becky, and what kind of relationship we had. One of my ex boyfriends had a father who played in a very famous military band, and in my quest for a family focused event, would have wanted the full ensemble to perform, so a formal and regal setting would have been needed. Another from my dating past was a festival lover, and so a bare-foot, open field approach with a Mumford and Sons tribute band playing until the early hours of the morning would have been more fitting. Some people loath the idea of a marquee and a field, opting solely for a hotel and a sit down meal in a corporately decorated conference room – not my idea of fun.
“Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee.” – Shakespeare
It saddens me that most weddings that happen in this day and age are planned with the intention of impressing other people. The best food, the biggest venue, the most gorgeous of dresses, backed by endless TV shows of judging each others’ attempts at slagging off your own. Ultimately, a wedding is an entirely personal affair. Whether you want a modern, quirky celebration, a big traditional approach or to skip the whole thing all together; surely it comes down to personal choice and private opinion, and certainly not a matter of rights. By being allowed to do what we want, when we want, and without question, is surely the ultimate in modern day feminism.
Hurrah to that.