Sexism in the Traditional Marriage Ceremony

By Birdie, published Apr 25, 2007

Almost every little girl dreams of her perfect wedding day. She imagines the dress, the vows, and even the guests. Weddings in movies are generally exceptional events. Plenty of flowers, bridesmaids and gorgeous (or purposefully hideous) bridesmaid dresses. Immediately after the wedding there is a wonderful reception with lots and lots of dancing and then the bride and groom are whisked away in a super-stretch limo to some enchanted getaway for the perfect honeymoon. The bride is beautiful, the groom in handsome. This is the perfect wedding that every little girl dreams of.

Unfortunately, the wedding ceremony isn’t quite as perfect as little girls dream. Much of the wedding is filled with antiquated sexist rituals that really, have no place in modern day society. In fact, many modern brides and grooms have begun to revise the ceremony to fit their beliefs and create new traditions. Here’s a look at some of the sexist elements in the traditional wedding ceremony.

Love, honor, and obey.
Only the woman says the “obey” part in the traditional ceremony. The thinking is that the man is the head of the household. With conservative Christians he is in a way, an extension of God and therefore the woman must obey him. The obvious assumption that the woman is inferior to the man is beginning to upset modern brides and many grooms. Many couples are dropping the obey part from their vows or even writing their own.

Who gives this woman?
At the beginning of the traditional wedding ceremony the priest, minister, or preacher asks “And who gives this woman to this man?” Where upon the father of the bride says “I do.” This tradition makes it seem as if the woman is property to be transferred from one superior man to another superior man. Many people are changing the phrase to “Her mother and I,” or even dropping it completely. After all, in modern day society it is the woman who chooses to get married. Her father does not choose her husband for her anymore.

Author: balanc3d

graphic & web designer/front-end developer

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