The world has been counting down the days to Harry and Meghan’s ceremony like my children countdown to Christmas. We’ve learned the ins and outs of proper tea etiquette, the royal wave, how to sit, and even the proper attire. Royal women are expected to adhere to a strict dress code. Day wear could include a dress or slacks and a blazer. I, however, am currently sporting what I fell asleep in—stretchy pants with exposed elastic, a grey t-shirt and hoodie sprinkled with puppy hair, unmatched socks, and a partial messy bun, completely braless. Can we be real here? It is what I plan to wear all day, and I will be venturing out to pick up my kids later. My husband is a lucky duck.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

By Mark Jones [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The whole hoopla of being a princess has me a wee bit depleted. BLIMEY! For that matter being a strong willed, independent thinking woman has me exhausted.

Everybody tighten your fastener because I do believe I may elicit a controversial kerfuffle. Let me explain. I don’t own a home in Feminism Town, but I often vacation there. Here is where I would strip off my bra to burn it, but we have already established I haven’t put one on today.

Kiss Wedding Prince William of Wales Kate Middleton (revised)

By John Pannellderivative work: César [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my “feminism vacation spots” lies in the query so many of us have heard on our big day: “Who gives this woman?” I understand the respect element, and I value tradition, but can we step out of the antiquated illusion and into a modern reality?

With most traditions, we simply follow suit without reflection on their origin, so let me enlighten you on this particular practice. Giving away the bride dates back to a time when women had no rights and were literal property. You are presented to your groom like a prized heifer, and then the grossest four words are uttered to be witnessed by your closest friends and family— “Who gives this woman?”

The phrase stood as a verbal transaction where the property (YOU) transferred from Father to Husband. Let that marinate in your sinews for a bit. It was a transaction. How does that fit in your ear? I am fuming just typing it. We should all be bloody gob smacked!

Okay, come back to me. Present day. Women are leaders. Women are independent. We are submerged in the generation of the #metoo movement and empowerment. Of course, there are still infuriating discrepancies in equality, but we have come a long way, sisters. My body aches that these words don’t illicit nausea amongst my tribe. It is a testament to the work that is still to be done.

Follow me across the pond, and consider Meghan Markle’s dilemma. Her poppa’s health is not sound. He is set to have cardiac surgery and will miss the wedding. The blushing bride is heavy with the empty sadness of not having her father present at her nuptials. Has anyone paused and considered what that must feel like? Moreover, she is faced with a cultural hunger for tradition.

Who will walk her down the aisle and give her away?

Will it be her mother, Doria? Prince Charles? William? Phillip?

Dare we say it??? Can she walk down herself?

She could!

She could opt to be self-regulated and buck the archaic nature of the posh empire. That scenario is unlikely, but I would admire her greatly and would love for my daughters to soak in that visual.

Besides that option, there are so many charming alternatives to the question, “Who gives this woman?” Just Google it.

  1. Both parents can walk the bride down and offer a blessing.
  2. A simple embrace at the end of the aisle
  3. “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” “SHE GIVES HERSELF”

There are opportunities to wage bets on this very ritual on Saturday. Gag. I will put my big girl panties on, I will respect “her” wishes (and when I say “her,” I may be referring to Meghan, but I really mean the queen, who gets the final say in wedding plans), and I will celebrate the posh union…but I’ll be pissed on the inside and be screaming at the TV, “She isn’t cattle! SHE GIVES HERSELF!”

meghan markle prince harry wedding, oppression quote

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The struggle is real when you look at the details of planning a wedding stocked full of patriarchal customs. I can recall being a little girl daydreaming about and desiring those very patriarchal traditions. So, before I put feminism in a box I have created, I have to…gulp…say, “To each their own.”

White dress? Black dress? Naked? Under water? In a church?

It is your day. Do YOUR thing.

How do you feel about it?

 

 

About the author

A certified nurse midwife and doctorate student has been in the Houston birth community for over a decade. Her experience includes elementary school nursing, hospital L & D, birth center, and home birth. Andie is confident in a woman's ability to grow and birth her baby. She feels a partnership in care is empowering and hopes to foster that relationship with families. She has a tender, lighthearted, and hands off approach to the evidence based care she offers. She has been joyfully dating her husband of 16 years since junior high and has five children. Her passions beyond bellies, birth, and breastfeeding are mission work and reading.