Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From MSNBC's story today about Jenna Bush's wedding:

WASHINGTON - Talk about hush-hush wedding planning. First daughter Jenna Bush was the last in the family to know she was getting married.

Months ago, her fiancé, Henry Hager, told Jenna's twin sister that he wanted to propose. Then at the Camp David presidential retreat, Hager asked President Bush and first lady Laura Bush for their daughter's hand in marriage.

For weeks, the president and Mrs. Bush kept their lips zipped.

Seriously? Are we still doing this? Asking anybody other than the woman for her "hand" in marriage?? 'Cause I thought it was 2008.

I really don't understand why this is considered a good tradition, or a respectful one. It shows very little respect for the autonomy of the potential bride. What sort of a woman needs to have her parents sign off on her life choices before she even knows there's a choice pending?

I get that it's tradition, but do the people who still follow it really think about why they do it or what it means? I'm not a big fan of holding onto traditions just because it's how it's always been done. It's just how it was done when women were considered something a little less than fully autonomous people. It's just how it was done when men paid dowries to take women away from their parents' homes. I don't think it's how it should be done now, when women support themselves, pay their own way through school, own their own damn homes. Other than reinforcing out-dated, patriarchal stereotypes, I fail to see what purpose this tradition serves.

In the pilot episode of Alias, Sydney Bristow's boyfriend calls up her dad and asks for Syd's hand in marriage. I have always loved Jack Bristow's response. He told the boyfriend he was asking the wrong person. His facial expression and tone conveyed the depth at his annoyance. I think he was annoyed to realize his strong, independent daughter was wasting her time with a doofus who didn't appreciate her. I certainly hope that is the reaction my father would have if any man of mine ever tried this nonsense.


Erin said...

That's exactly what my dad always says he'd say, "Ummm, I don't think I'm the one you should be asking." Seriously.

S said...

Your dad's feminist credentials are a bit better than my dad's. I would hope he would say that, but I'm not 100% certain...

Language Lover said...

HAHAHA, love Erin's dad!

I hope you recall that I walked down the aisle alone at my wedding.

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