Thursday, June 14, 2007

The problem with making a statement

At Jill's post about marriage (well, the first paragraph or two was about marriage, and the rest was about other people's screwed-up ideas of yet other peoples' marriages) I left this comment, and thought I'd bring it back here, because I really like it. Maybe it willclarify the importance I assign a person's personal habits in judging their feministiness.
One of the frustrating things about this issue is realizing that no matter what we end up doing, people are going to be projecting their own values onto our actions. You can remain single, but I doubt most people will understand why (even if you did lay it out pretty simply in your first sentence).

I’m pretty sure not many will entirely understand why I married, either, and it’s not for lack of trying. The reason I got married at a big wedding was because I liked having a public ceremony to mark the way that my husband and I were becoming a family, a social unit. It was meant to be social and shared and at least slightly important to everyone there. No buying, selling, etc. was meant to be implied, but if I was going to use the symbolic wedding vocabulary that the guests were going to understand (and if I was going to get to do the fun wedding things that I just love, sexism in traditions be damned), any outsider would have a difficult time telling the difference between my wedding and my grandparents’. In fact, I don’t even know that my grandparents noticed, even as I felt I was compromising my message in an attempt to get something across. I have my personal, interrelationship reasons for wanting to get married too, but I definitely don’t think many more people than my husband and I had a good idea of what the whole thing meant to us. I guess I was asking a little too much of symbolic communication.

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