My mum didn’t wear a veil at her wedding, because the veil of a bride was historically a bag put on the bride’s head to be lifted at the chapel, where she was being married off in a business exchange. Back in the time of business exchange weddings, the groomsmen were there to stand guard with guns so that if a groom didn’t like the look of his bride once the bag was lifted he couldn’t run off. I understand why she didn’t want that kind of representation included on her wedding day.
I’ve learned a lot about marriage this past while, including this week’s studies in class being about a woman’s place in the world. Everything from how being “given away” is in reference to the business exchange of selling off a daughter to contain land and money, to the fight of Suffragettes to escape the bindings of marriage at the time.
We watched a video in class called “The History of Marriage”, which summarized era after era of marriage customs in different cultures into the timespan of about 5 minutes.
Marriage, in all of it’s glory comes down to the core belief of uniting two people. Up until very recently, these two people would have been a man and a woman. According to The Guardian,
“The history of many Native American, African and Asian cultures includes same-sex and transgender conjugal unions.”
Thus meaning that at one point or another in history it became banned for same sex couples to be married, and then was re-introduced in a later time. That later time was 2000. The Netherlands were the first jurisdiction in the world to sanction same sex marriage in 2000. Same sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, the UK in 2013, America in 2015 and not until 2017 was it legalized in Australia. The history of marriage, especially same sex marriage/ non-tradtional marriage is hardly history at all.
So looking back at what I’ve learnt this week properly, I would have to say I learned that to connect history to yourself you just have to see how much progress has been made and if it’s at a finale point in the time we live. For this week, under the subjects of both a woman’s place in history (not in the kitchen, sorry lads), and marriage, I would have to say we still have a ways to go.
Many women are still expected to get married, have a family, and work to look after the kids and their partner without question. That is not only unfair and unrealistic for many people (queer people, people who can’t have kids, people who can’t afford a family but still want to work, people with illnesses they don’t want to pass on, etc.) but it’s just plain sexist. Women deserve to have their voices heard, to have the chance at a job with the same pay as a man, and to be treated with respect and dignity, not just as a baby holder and husband caretaker.
As for marriage, these day’s marriage should be about love and respect and connecting with someone you care deeply for, and absolutely not an obligation to have a place in this world. And if it must be an obligation it needs to be seen that if you “must get married to have a place in the world” then the marriage should be equal and accessible for all relationship, gender, and family types.
That’s just my two cents.