Archive | August, 2010

What is a Wedding?

20 Aug

According to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, the divorce rate is up at 41% in the United States for first marriages, 60% for second and 74% for third marriages.  Thanks to pop-culture, weddings have their own channels and shows such as Bridezilla, Girl Meets Gown, My Fair Wedding…amongst many others.  Many women wait for “The One” to go down in one knee and ask those magic words…”Will You Marry Me?”  As one tears, cries, screams, jumps or expresses any form of positive emotion of happiness, “YES!!” is more than likely the answer or any other synonym with the same definition.  At that moment family and friends are notified and thus begins a joyous event, Planning for the BIG DAY!! And as months pass by—usually six months to a year– everything becomes “ALL ABOUT THE BRIDE”.  This pattern tirelessly resonates through various sources of media enforcing a Twilight Zone Version of what I would like to call “Zombie Queens”.

Simone De Beauvoir’s Second Sex, explores in a perplexive manner how women have always managed to remain as the Other, individuals inferior to men in all aspects.  And at one point explores women and their significance to their role of inferiority in society.  The refusal to denounce and reject certain aspects they deem as comfort while rejecting others does not entirely eliminate the superior-inferior relationship men and women have in society.  This is clearly evident in American culture.  As boyfriend and girlfriend, women claim independence, yet many expect men to pay for dinner or take them out.  When one is engaged, their female peers anxiously await the sight of the ring, so it could be valued. (Didn’t know Love had value?).  The story of how he proposed is another method of measuring the love and respect a man has for the woman that is to be his wife.  And finally, a wedding is defined by the amount of guests, invitations, dress, cake, and whatever else will lead to debt and headaches….all to make a woman feel like a Queen??  I don’t think so….

As a Latina, weddings are the Happily Ever After in all novelas.  Family and friends together in a church…the bride all in white, saying “Si, Te Amo” to the man of her dreams after so much drama and struggle for the last six months airing in Telemundo or Univision.  The concept is similar all over the world, but how it is done or percieved is very different…trust me, I’ve lived in two worlds my whole life.  Now, as my turn approaches, the wedding spotlight has turned to my partner and I.  And how WE have chosen to do it, results in criticism as we do not abide by the conventional notions of what a wedding or two people getting married looks like.

My rejection of “All About the Bride”, “Queen for A Day” or my reluctance to constantly babble about my wedding to whomever I talk to has led individuals to believe or question the emotion, called love and my individuality as a woman…or atleast what is perceived as independence within our society.  Most of all my behavior apparently resonates how a man typically perceives a wedding to be….just another thing in life.  Yet my rejection for conventional notions of a wedding is my rejection to being, Simone De Beauvoir’s, the Other.

As a little girl, I did not grow up thinking I was a Princess nor did I dream of my wedding day to be my day.  A wedding is a union of two people in love, who both decide to come together to share their life as equals.  It is a part of life, nothing more.  The anticipation of a wedding has become more crucial than the question whether two people can remain together and respect each other as equals.   The question of what is to come after the BIG DAY?, has been lost in translation somewhere in the question of when and how the wedding will be?  Many women absorb themselves in the hype.  All the same questions are asked by many brides…the napkins, the hall, the church, the dress, the make-up, the gifts…and so on. In result, as people who have gone to more than one wedding can attest to they all end up the same, just different styles, locations, colors and dates.  And when the BIG DAY turns into yesterday,and there are bills to pay, the inability to pay rent or a mortgage or another type of loan, or your partner gets “boring” — more than likely that QUEEN, turns into another statistic.

The unity between two beings–regardless of sex or gender, should be the union of equals.  Notions of respect and equality should resonate.  And that is what should be present as two people approach just another event in their lives.  The how a wedding was celebrated question and expectation resonated by many women only objectifies us and sustains our status of inferiority in society.  The question of how a wife or partner should be treated in a marriage should be of importance instead…not an over-commercialized, overrated notion of what a wedding should be.