On Weddings and Gender Equality

As I’m hitting the mid-twenties, every single person I have ever known in my entire life is getting married this summer. I’m the type of person who has always thought about weddings and marriages and other such dreamy dreams, but these topics have been thrust even further into the forefront lately.

I’m a southern girl, born on Alabama’s beautiful coastline, and traditions are the sort of things that receive high value around here. There are houses with blue porch ceilings to attest. And sometimes I do feel traditional. I want a family, and I want to cook for them and support them and give everything I can to them. But other times, the traditions seep into the cavities reserved for rebellion and questioning and rebuking, and I just want to scream.

As an advocate for equality of genders, I am offended by the tradition of asking a father for the daughter’s hand in marriage.

I recently saw something on TV — I can’t recall what it was — where all these women were talking about how they would have never said “yes” to their current husbands had they not asked Daddy first. I immediately felt like they were missing the point of love and committment. Then, I felt like I wouldn’t want anyone to be asked about my marriage decision but me. It wouldn’t matter what my parent thought; if I wanted to be with that person, I would be with them. I resent that since I’m a lady, the possibility of having to ask permission to ask me is a real thing. Like I need a system in place to make sure everything’s okay because my feminine judgment may not be up to par.


The other day, The Boy and I were filling out a wedding RSVP card, and he wrote down “Ms. Alexi Vrabel.” I was surprised by this act of feminism on his part (as feminism is sort of a new phenomenon in his life), so I asked why he didn’t write “Miss.” He said he didn’t know the difference.

Here’s a lesson:
Miss refers to an unmarried woman. Mrs. refers to a married woman.
Mr. refers to a man of any marital status.
Does this seem strange to you? It should, because it reflects a society that only places value on a woman’s status, while a male is just the all-important man no matter what his love life dictates. Ms. was reintroduced (originally omitted in the 17th century) in the 1960s as a title that represented women who “did not belong to a man.”

One last thing before the soap box turns into a pyre, I asked The Boy (remember, still new to the feminist movement) how he would feel if I didn’t want to take his last name if we were to marry. He said he “wouldn’t want to marry [me] because there was something fundamentally wrong with [my] beliefs.”

He went on to explain that if I didn’t want to become one with him, then I was missing the point of getting married. Personally, as I told him, I think he’s missing the point of marriage if something as trivial as what I call myself could stop him from wanting to marry me altogether. And in that case, would he take my last name? No. Why not? It’s not traditional.

For the record, I can’t wait to get rid of this hard-to-spell-and-pronounce, Czech-ass surname. But I will always fight for everyone’s right to keep what’s inherently theirs.

But what can I say? Society’s brainwashing is a hard thing of which to dispose.

  1. thatswhatcristahsaid said: If getting married involves going by Mrs. something and therefore “belonging” to Mr. Something, I’ll pass. But I’m eager to get rid of my lame last name too.
  2. thesahmmy said: i wish you would have been a student in my gender studies class. i still go by Ms and i’m married.
  3. darcibastiaan said: Get back in the kitchen, Alexi! — and throw everything out because we’re making this an office and this is going to be turned into a book!
  4. whiskeyandhemingway said: alexi, you are just wonderful. this this this is exactly what i think.
  5. alexieileen posted this
alexieileen comments lovingly powered by Disqus