Feminism: Not a get-out-of-planning free card.

Disclaimer: this post is just barely within the scope of this blog.  Namely, it features no advice columns whatsoever.  But it has to do with etiquette, social norms, and wedding planning so….close enough. Here we go….

Earlier this week, I stumbled across the blog Bitch Ph.D. totally by accident…a friend posted a link to a post there…I’d never read it before, so stuck around for a bit, reading samples, when I happened upon this post, Feminist Weddingblogging Update.

The post is a 5-month check in from the blogger to her readers, updating them on her wedding plans (or lack thereof).  Key quotes include:

I know you guys are like, freaking out, right? Okay, you’re not. I’m getting married in about 5 months now. Am I FREAKING OUT?!?!

No.

Since then, things are moving along swimmingly, with me doing shockingly little. I was worried that everything everyone said would turn out to be true, and I would be FREAKING OUT. And OHMYGOD is everything going to be perfect for MY?! SPECIAL?! DAY?!

I actually would kind of love to not decorate at all but if I don’t someone else will and I hate things that are cheesy. Which is, anything involving flowers, anything “romantic”, and basically anything thought up by someone who is not me. Of course, I may just end up not caring and not doing anything.

There will be three live bands. There will be a smorgasbord of food from local restaurants. I will not have to do anything on either of these fronts, which is awesome. I hope that no one will ask me about place settings. Because I hope people use paper plates. I want it to be that kind of shindig.

I think my dude’s sister has volunteered to make cake. But there might end up being a ton of people who show up so maybe that would be too much cake for one non-pro to handle. I plan to leave cake ministrations to others

Here are the things I care about: I want my family to be happy and comfortable. I want everyone I love dearly to be there. I want to not develop any strong opinions about things that don’t matter, because that will make me lose my mind

And I like well-done photography. I like it a lot. But at the same time, it seems like people just end up living for the photos. Like you have to lose weight have the perfect dress get the perfect accessories decorate it just right have your hair done makeup done have a photo session on the beach….FOR THE PHOTOS.

There are several things that strike me about this post.  I’ll start with where I can get behind her: the photos.  I totally agree that photography, which is supposed to be capturing the day, often becomes the event itself.  That drives me nuts, and it’s something I strove to avoid at our wedding (and hey, guess what, we had great pictures anyway!) So I’m with her here.

But….that’s about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a simple wedding.  Our wedding was big, but many aspects of it were pre-packaged…I didn’t think too hard or face many difficult decisions about food, booze, music, decorations, etc.  It was largely out of the box (although a pretty kick-ass box, if I do say so myself).  So my criticism is not because I think she should be obsessing more about a “dream wedding.”  Want a backyard party with burgers and paper plates?  Awesome.  Go for it.  Don’t want the hassle of hosting hundreds?  Great–have a private ceremony and go out for a special dinner with your parents and 2 best friends.

But…that’s not what she’s doing.  It only FEELS like that’s what she’s doing to her, because everyone else is doing all the work.  Three live bands?  Catering from multiple local restaurants?  Her SIL making cake for an unknown multitude?  This wedding sounds like a blast.  It does not, however, sound like a simple affair.

The crux of what really bothers me here is that the blogger criticizes, or at least pokes fun at, others who would put time and effort into planning their wedding–probably the biggest party they’ll ever throw.  What she doesn’t seem to realize is that her own wedding doesn’t actually require any less time or effort….she’s just letting other people pick up the slack.

Now, some people really, truly don’t care about any of this stuff, and their moms and sisters do, and are happy and excited to do all the planning.  If that’s the case here, fine.  But she has already sayid that, aesthetically speaking, she hates  “basically anything thought up by someone who is not me.” You can pawn off all of the planning on loved ones–and let them do what they want–or you can be involved and work on things yourself.  But you can’t insist you don’t care and don’t want to do anything while holding the threat of “but I’ll hate whatever you come up with” over your family members’ heads.

I can totally get behind her claim that the only thing she cares about is having everyone she loves there, and that they’re all happy and comfortable and have a good time.  That is what it should be about.  But she seems totally naive about the fact that this takes a lot. of. damn. work.  Really.  I didn’t care so much about cake, place settings, bridesmaid dresses, etc.  I wanted to focus on making my family and friends happy and comfortable–and I think we succeeded.  But getting there was incredibly stressful and exhausting–and our family is pretty nice, as families go!  It turns out that making other people happy, and helping them feel at ease, is way more difficult than picking out napkins.  It’s also way more worthwhile than picking out napkins.  But it’s not easy.

I’m not sure how she thinks everyone’s going to magically show up and have a good time, if she can’t be bothered to book a hotel for them to stay at, or be sure there will be enough food for them to eat.

And what I really, really don’t get is how any of this has anything to do with feminism.  This is a “feminist wedding” because….she doesn’t care about place settings?  (Let me emphasize…I think it’s GOOD to not obsess about place settings.  I just don’t think it has anything to do with feminism).  Or is this a “feminist wedding” because she doesn’t care where her nearest and dearest sit, eat, or stay, when they’ve traveled hundreds of miles bearing gifts and good wishes?

It’s great that she’s trying to stay grounded, and not get wrapped up in the insanity that can truly turn your brain to mush if you let it.  But there’s still a major event to be planned.  Maybe she should just think of it as a family reunion instead of a wedding, if that will help her focus on the important things…like reuniting the family.  But there’s still plenty of work to be done, and when the hostess/guest of honor totally checks out of that work claiming she’s too feminist to be bothered, well…I can’t help but roll my eyes.

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One response to “Feminism: Not a get-out-of-planning free card.

  1. I agree with everything you just said. I ALSO don’t like it when people don’t care about anything and then act like they’re the shit for not caring about anything. I mean, do you want an award for being ambivalent? It’s obviously completely fine not to care about favors or cake or whatever, but blathering on about how great you are for not caring sort of just makes other people want to punch you.

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