Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wedding Industrial Complex: The Vagina Tax

Like it's not bad enough the WIC tries to make brides (aka ME) crazy, whether they listen to what the Wedding Industry and Societal Expectations deem they should do or not, but now, now even as a guest at a wedding I'm paying a freaking tax for having a vagina!

When will this insanity end?!

What am I talking about, you ask? Bridal Showers. You're one of the 50 women on my guest list, so you must come to my mother's house, make nice, drink tea, and eat tiny sandwiches, oh and buy me another gift, just because.

Yeah. Fucking Wedding Hoopla! I hate hoopla. I really do. I think part of it is I had way more than my fill of it with my best friends weddings. I love them and all, but come fucking on. Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Stag & Doe, Lingerie Party, separate Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties, a gift for the bride just because, and THEN the actual wedding gift. I've done the math, and I spent about $1,000 on each of their weddings. Thank the gods I was just a bridesmaid and not the maid of honour! She spent way more than the rest of us.

I don't exactly begrudge them the money. I know they didn't exactly do it to get more money out of their guests. Well they, did, to an extent, but I've known them all my life, they are my closest friends, how could I say no?

I can and did say NO for my own wedding though. I do not want my friends spending that kind of money on me. Or having to spend that much time and effort. I just want them to show up, see me get married, and enjoy the afternoon. And, well, I want really nice wedding gifts from them. They owe me (I know it sounds horrible and selfish, but that's how I feel, so oh well). But then, they would never think of giving me anything but nice gifts as that is just how they were raised, that and they love me too.

Now, back to the Bridal Shower Issue.

I really don't like bridal showers. In terms of wedding events, I think it's my least favourite. To me, they feel like nothing more than a money grab. They also make me uncomfortable; I never know anyone there; and the atmosphere is so full of the traditional societal expectations of women (get married, make a home for your man, raise his babies and spend your life taking care of him), that it makes my skin crawl and my head nearly explode.

I may be unemployed and essentially a housewife, but I was educated as a civil engineer, and my mother taught me to be way more than some man's lackey, damnit.

Bridal showers are all about feeding the traditional role of women - gifts for the bride are meant to be things to help start her new home with her husband.

Now, there are a couple things wrong/no longer true in this statement. The most obvious to me, perhaps since I've spent the last year and a half living in sin with my fiance, is the expectation that the couple is starting a new home. In most cases these days, the couple have been living together for some time, often years. They've already established a home for themselves, if they need something, they've already got it for themselves.

The second thing that pops out at me, is the implication that the husband has no interest in anything relating to the home. Now, Chris isn't likely to get excited about some kitchen gadget, but that's not to say other men wouldn't. I know lots of men that cook, and would totally be the ones putting special pans, immersion blenders, and the like on their gift registry while their women couldn't care less. I also know some brides that would be way more excited about a tool set than say, matching china, like me. You never get cool gifts like that at a Bridal Shower though.

So, aside from being a sexist event that makes me uncomfortable, I just don't see the point, except to dig deeper into the pockets of your female guests, which is just totally uncool, for the record.

Oh! But that reminds me, my future-mother-in-law pointed out another purpose for Bridal Showers that had never occurred to me -- showing off the bride to the mother/mother-in-laws friends. Seriously. Apparently the bride is some kind of show dog to be, well, shown off?! WTF. Seeing as I'm getting married next fall, and am 'the bride', this really creeps me out. Perhaps I should be more offended, but honestly I'm just really weirded out by the idea that I'm some kind of object to be shown off, like my future-mother-in-law won me as a prize at the carnival or something? I don't know, I just find it very weird.

This has all come up because, as you might have guessed way back at the beginning of this post, I've been invited to a Bridal Shower. I really, really don't want to go, but I feel obligated. Ugh. Maybe part of it is I'm bitter? Mommy and Daddy are paying for their wedding, they've recently moved into a house.... The house I would love, but the wedding? No, I'm thrilled with our little wedding, totally under our control. All in all I'd rather be here than than there. Yet this Bridal Shower fills me with anger. Perhaps because it really just feels like another money grab to me. They have a house, they've been living on their own (separately or together I don't know) for some time, so they have to have furniture/housewares of some kind. It's not my freaking problem if they don't fit the style they want. Gr.

Money Grab. Sexist, money grab. That's what it comes down to for me, and I just can't like it. It doesn't sit well and that's all there is to it.

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