Friday, November 1, 2013

A little light culture: It's a nice day for a white wedding dress

It didn’t matter that I had never dreamt of my wedding day or created inspirational tulle-filled scrapbooks as a little girl; I still knew exactly what was expected of me, and I did not want to disappoint.
That's TracyClark-Flory writing at Salon.  She planned to have a "feminist wedding" but found that, as the day got closer and closer that it was slipping away from her.

White dresses are a major sticking point. Did you know that white dresses used to symbolize virginity? Actually, no they didn't.* But that urban myth apparently makes it difficult for a feminist to wear one at her wedding.

The problem here is that there is no problem. A real act of rebellion would be to wear a white dress anyway even though you weren't a virgin. Well, it would be if anyone was trying to stop you. You can do anything you want at your wedding. You can wear school-bus yellow or silver lamé if that appeals to you. You could get married naked at a nudist colony, or wearing scarlet leggings and a teal blue tank top in Las Vegas, or dressed up like your favourite super hero in a movie theatre you rent for the occasion.

There are 923 words in Clark-Flory's essay. The word "I" appears 51 times. The word "my" occurs 25 times. "Me" makes 7 appearances. The word "he" referring to her future husband occurs twice (and both times he is urging her to stand up for her feminist principles). The word "his" referring to her future husband does not appear even once. The word "we" referring to something they are doing together appears once ("we got engaged") and, most tellingly, the "our" makes zero appearances.

This, by the way, actually has nothing to do with feminism, however much it may appear to. Clark-Flory's feminism is every bit as much an I-I-I-my-my-my affair as her wedding:
... I have no interest in defining what is feminist for other women. All I can speak to are my own feelings about my own feminism ...
All she can speak to are her own feelings about her own feminism. Clark-Flory has no trouble seeing that "modern girdle" is a contradiction in terms, and it is, but she can't see that "my own feminism" is no feminism at all.

* White wedding dresses became popular because Queen Victoria wore one. She picked white because she had some lace she wanted incorporated in her dress. They have remained popular since then because most women really, really, really like them.

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