29 April, why weddings suck for women

Continuing the theme of “29-April-bashing” :P, let us look at some of those romanticised traditions of weddings that actually have a dark, dark, history for females.

My enthusiasm for 29-April-bashing was ignited after a comment that Luckynkl made over at Undercover Punk’s. I was like, “ooooh, tell me moar!”, so she did. The (online) sources for her info no longer exist online (the Ms Boards; a wedding ring design place), and I will copy/paste Lucky’s second comment here. I decided to further investigate these ‘romantic’ wedding customs, and the random sites I picked in general, tended to back up the MsB summary (a few minor variations here and there, but go and google history of marriage traditions for yourself).

THE ORIGIN OF THE BEST MAN TRADITION

Among the Germanic Goths of northern Europe in 200 A.D., a man usually married a woman from within his own community. However, when there were fewer women, the prospective bridegroom would capture his bride from a neighboring village. The bridegroom was accompanied by his strongest friend (or best friend), who helped him capture his bride.

WHY THE BRIDE STANDS TO THE GROOMS LEFT
After the bridegroom captured his bride, he placed her on his left to protect her, thus freeing his right hand or sword hand against sudden attack.

THE ORIGIN OF THE “HONEYMOON”
After “kidnapping” his bride, the groom would take her and go into hiding. By the time the bride’s family tracked them down them, the bride would probably already be pregnant! A “bride price” would then be negotiated.

THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM “WEDDING”
Although some brides were kidnapped, marriage by purchase was the preferred method of obtaining a wife. The “bride price” could be land, social status, political alliances, or cash. The Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” meant that the groom would vow to marry the woman, but it also referred to the bride price (money or barter) to be paid by the groom to the bride’s father. The root of the word “wedding” literally means to gamble or wager!

THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM “TO TIE THE KNOT”
The term “tie the knot” also goes back Roman times. the bride would wear a girdle that was tied in many knots which the groom had the “duty” of untying.

THE ORIGIN OF THE BRIDAL PARTY
This term has many origins from different cultures. In Anglo-Saxon times, the groom had the help of “bridesmen” or “brideknights” to help him capture and/or escort his bride. Later they would make sure that the bride got to the church and to the groom’s home afterwards. The women who accompanied and assisted the bride were called “bridesmaids” or “brideswomen.

THE ORIGIN OF THE TRADITIONAL WHITE WEDDING DRESS
In 1499, Ann of Brittany popularized the white wedding gown. Prior to that time, a woman simply wore her best dress or a new dress without regard to the basic color.
(wow, no mention of virginity)

WHY IT BECAME “BAD LUCK” FOR THE GROOM TO SEE BRIDE BEFORE THE CEREMONY
Until relatively recently, brides were considered the property of their father. Their futures and husbands were arranged without their consent. The marriage of an unattractive woman was often arranged with a prospective groom from another town without either of them having ever seen their prospective spouse. In more than one instance, when the groom saw his future wife, usually dressed in white, for the first time on the day of the wedding, he changed his mind and left the bride at the altar. To prevent this from happening, it became “bad luck” for the groom to see the bride on the day of the wedding prior to the ceremony.

THE ORIGIN OF TYING OLD SHOES TO THE CAR
This tradition originated in England during the Tudor period. At that time, guests would throw shoes at the bride and groom as they left in their carriage. It was considered good luck if their carriage was hit. Today, more often than not, it is beverage cans that are tied to a couples car instead of shoes. It should also be noted that the English consider it good luck if it rains on their wedding day!

It basically gives you the rough idea that ‘marriage’ and the ceremony of the wedding, were little more than a property exchanged between the bride’s father and the groom. Just ewwww, eh? Yep brides-to-be, you are nothing more than an asset exchanged between dudes. Kinda gives you the warm fuzzies doesn’t it? Now you can see why women still routinely do so badly in divorces these days, ‘property’ is not meant to have its own rights!

Anyway, a couple of other things to add to Lucky’s summary. The veil thing always creeped me out, particularly worn over the face (as it did again on 29 April). It was no great leap of logic to put two and two together with the arranged marriages > dude not supposed to see bride before ceremony in case he though he got stuck with a ‘less than attractive’ one > and veil covering bride’s face (presumably until the ceremony was completed, deal sealed dude, she’s yours!). A few other sources like this one backed up my assumption.

Another interesting one I found was the “something blue” tradition, and yes, this one makes sense too. From biblical times, blue was the colour of purity (hello, Virgin Mary anyone?) and it became part of the ceremony for both bride and groom to wear blue at the bottom of their wedding attire. We can blame Anne of Brittany for making the white wedding dress popular in 1499. White did not symbolise purity (or virginity) but (supposedly) joy – I am thinking not much to be joyful about when you are a bit of property being exchanged between one owner and another, but I digress. Some sources (like this religious one) disagree a bit on the white thing, citing the later Empress Eugenie, who wore the white gown at her wedding to Napoleon III (ruled France from 1853-71), and citing white-as-purity back to a Roman thing. The trend probably just took off in different places at different times, you know how the masses love to copy fashion (even happening today, with the off-the-rack dress Kate wore for the engagement being sold out, plus numerous copies). And I am sure that wedding dress makers will nearly all have a close imitation to Kate’s wedding dress, which was an imitation of Grace Kelly’s. Whatev’s, there won’t be one in my wardrobe.

Zeph has a related post on marriage, particularly the folly of trying to find a Nice Nigel, when they are pretty much all Edsels and should all be returned to the manufacturer IMHO. All lemons, and don’t think you can magickly make lemonade out of them either.

So there we have it, kidnap, rape, hostage taking/negotiations, business transactions of bride-as-property, covering up the ‘ugly’ women so the groom doesn’t reneg. on the deal. All this, repackaged as ‘romantic’ and sold back to women as something they want themselves! The real tradition here is the tradition of Reversal, women being told that something bad for them is something they should desire and aspire to. A bit like pole dancing and being a porn star really.

And that is why radfems are anti-marriage.

– – – – –
A few more semi-related posts:
FCM – the language of consent
Ballbuster – het marriage ≠ prostitution & the word prostitution
FCM – Right Wing Women, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Ballbuster – golddigger Part 1, Part 2.
If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know (my memory sucks)

57 thoughts on “29 April, why weddings suck for women

  1. FAB Libber

    Of course, this series of 29-April-bashing would have made a bit more sense had I written and published these things on or before 29 April. Better late than never! 😛

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  2. Undercover Punk

    I’m not fool enough to DEFEND the institution of marriage, it’s a HET nightmare, honeys! For the reasons explained here. But. I am a married lesbian. I just want to be OUT about that. Thank you for your attention. Please carry on with your het-marriage-hating. Unless you want to discuss the similarities/differences in my marriage as compared to a het marriage. That would be interesting too, but I think we should call it HET marriage. Like, why should I have to say GAY marriage all the time? I’m not even GAY, I’m a lesbian! Sorry, rambling.

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  3. Undercover Punk

    Oh, and I’m not trying to play marriage EXCEPTIONALISM. Obvi, marriage is not cool. It has it’s benefits in terms of visiting one’s partner in the hospital and stuff, but overall it’s a TRAP for women. I’m just saying that *I don’t think* most of this bad stuff applies to my marriage. Oh fine, it’s exceptionalism. I’m done.

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  4. jilla

    In Canada, you have no choice, you cohabit, after ONE YEAR you’re married. Or as good as in the eyes of the law, the divorce courts, estate, assets etc.

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  5. jilla

    In Canada, you have no choice, you cohabit, after ONE YEAR you’re married. Or as good as in the eyes of the law, the divorce courts, estate, assets etc.

    Aside, re UP and her NIgella,

    In hospitals: In Canada, in some if not all jurisdictions, the hospital, care centre, chronic care establishment whatever you want to call it management/physician/nurse in charge can ban you if they feel you are obstructing their ability to care for THEIR patient. This can mean even counselling Nigella to consider other care/medicatrion/tretment options, so that Nigella begins to question them, perhaps refuse something.

    Happens with sickening regularity, in chronic/nursing home/long-term care centres AND hospitals.

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  6. pmsrhino

    Yeah, I’ve only been to two weddings in my life, both church weddings, and during both I wanted to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs about how HORRIBLY SEXIST AND MISOGYNIST the whole affair was. The last one I went to was the worst, with the minister waxing poetic about how the bride was the church and the groom was Christ, and the groom would purify the bride in matrimony. Uuuuuuuuuugh. I hate the whole normal wedding affair, I really do. If I ever do get married I will more than likely just run down to the court house and just get the papers, no bullshit wedding ceremony rife with the vestiges of property exchange traditions. Balls to that, I say. It’ll probably break my parents’ hearts, but I’m already not going to give them grandchildren, so what’s one more disappointment for them, right?

    Never understood why people care so much about weddings, anyways. Especially the weddings of complete strangers, “royalty” or not. I kept over hearing bits of TV news and the radio about the royal wedding, and honestly wondered how people could talk about a single dress for 8 hours straight and not go insane.

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  7. FAB Libber

    Firstly UCP, so as not to upset you here (wow, I didn’t see that coming), the post is primarily about the stuff packaged up in the ceremony itself, and its orgins (kidnap and rape basically). There is overlap with the concept of marriage to a degree, considering (ye olde) ‘marriage’ was effectively living out contractual obligations etc.

    Bringing that up into present day, there are the long-forgotten but still-in-there-somehow concepts of ‘property’ (and why as ‘property’ aka ‘the bride/wife/woman’ still do badly in today’s divorcing, because ‘property’ is a thing, an object, and objects don’t have human rights). That’s the first part of it, and I probably should have referenced two posts that Ballbuster did recently (my memory sucks folks) on prostitution vs het romance, and I think this element was missing from those discussions. Also, BB did a couple of posts on gold-diggers too, which I think come into this. FCM also did a post on violation of property as it relates to rape. All of these posts sort of come together to complete the picture, and this ancient history stuff forms the basis of it. I will dig out the links and dump them at the bottom of this post a bit later.

    Today also, because most of us still live very much under patriarchy and all its rules and regulations, the institution of marriage was very much recognised for things like wills, benefits, healthcare decisions, health insurance, pensions etc. Which had excluded gays and lesbians from the recognition of ‘significant other’ or partner etc. In accessing these recognitions and benefits within the current system, I don’t have an objection to (gay/lesbian) marriages as such. Although, if the gay/lesbian marriage mirrors the het trainwreck of one up, one down etc, and even (now that I know some of the traditions behind the outfits, LOL) copy that het trainwreck, then not ok.

    But, if you were living in a woman-only commune away from greater society, there probably is not a need, unless you want to do some sort of commitment ceremony thing for your nearest and dearest, a bit like the wiccan ones were I guess.

    As Jilla mentioned, a number of countries will de facto ‘marry you off’ if you have been cohabiting in a (presumed sexual) partnership for either one or two years.

    Is that all clearer? … and yikes! 😛

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  8. Undercover Punk

    Oh yeah, like I said, I’d be a FOOL to try to defend marriage– even in the manifestation that I am living it. Go ON with your criticism! We had a very casual back yard ceremony with NO GOD and homemade cookies. 🙂

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  9. jilla

    Oh well then. Homemade cookies. 😉

    Marriages, like other godbag/penis type institutions are often “put on” by women, includes FGM, foot binding, trousseau, etc. Women want their daughters to survive, first. You cannot agitate for equality if you are dead.

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  10. noanodyne

    And how about the origin of showering the couple with gifts? Dowry a large part of the tradition, I imagine. It’s gotten really, really ridiculous. There are supposed to be a bunch of parties and everyone’s supposed to bring presents to all of them. And of course the registries are off the charts, too, with requests for many 10s of 1000s of dollars of goodies. Because you’re getting MARRIED?!?!11!11 Isn’t that gift enough? Het married couples get about a gazillion more rights than an unmarried couple, tax breaks out the butt, the whole world will see you as full on serious adults versus how they see single people, you’ll have someone to share all your debts with (not to mention all their goodies they bring with them). In conversation you can always bring up your spouse and there will be reverence paid to your speshul someone just because you’re married. You have that all important family and will be treated accordingly by one and all, especially if either of you are seriously sick or when you’re being considered for a raise at work (how many times have I heard, “well, he/she has a family to support.” And in the U.S., on jobs where the employer pays the bulk of health insurance, straight married couples and their kids make out like bandits because single people pay on the same scale and use far less of the insurance. And a lesbian? Holy shit, all the premiums I’ve paid went almost exclusively to straight married couples and their kids. And excuses for missing work? No one has more than those folks. The benefits go on and on and on and on and on and on. I get that marriage is a great way of getting predatory males off the street and into the home where some poor woman gets to watch them and keep them under some control, but we have really fucked over everyone else in society for that arrangement.

    And now I get to deal with it up close and personal!!! I have a young relative getting married this month. He’s the first one in his immediate family to do so in decades so of course the outpouring of emotion and buzz from his female relatives and hers is IMMENSE. I demurred to give a shower gift or go to that lovely event (the invitation for which said, “Attire: Your best little black dress and a funny hat.” I didn’t think they’d appreciate my version of that.) and OMG the wailing that commenced! I was already plenty irritated with the whole thing, but now I’m really getting in a MOOD about it. In this economy and with everything that’s going on with same, this couple thinks each of us should just drop a couple hundred bucks or so on their choice to get locked in together. And no, none of us has anything like that kind of money. It would mean every single family member using a credit card and paying it off over years and they know that! Oh but this sacred event! We must all spend scads of money we don’t have when most of us are either very underemployed or completely and permanently unemployed and the whole world is going to hell!11!1!1!111! So I’m looking at re-gifting a really snazzy something I have sitting around my place. 🙂

    I feel sorry for the wife-to-be in this scenario and maybe a nice gift would ease her way, but dammit, I’m tired of straight people just assuming that this is their god-given right, plus the gift would seem more like a congrats for her choice and her proud status, rather than the consolation gift I mean it to be.

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  11. FAB Libber

    Yeah, marriage is anti-spinster all right. Historically, spinster sisters paired/tripled up and lived together.

    Perhaps you should angle for Spinster Gifts, in celebration of your ongoing singleness?
    After all, roughly 50% of the het marriages will make lawyers rich, and don’t last forever, so you don’t have to worry about your singleness status either!

    Spinster Gift Registries. Yep, business idea right there 😛

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  12. noanodyne

    Hey, yeah!! I’ll throw a party for myself and tell everyone: I’ve saved you all this money all these years, so pay the fuck up!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. jilla

    Everything you’ve said NoAN. Some of it differs country to country of course.

    A woman who leaves a marriage gets pretty much the same deal if she didn’t leave for someone else, and spinsters of course as Fabbity says. Oh the stories.

    I would caution against giving the snazzy something. They won’t like it, will probably ditch it. Just give a donation to a charity in their name, and/or when it comes along (sigh) a start up savings account in wee babes name.

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  14. Sargasso Sea

    I’ve been reading around this morning (there’s so much to read these days! WIN!) and when I first read this post my first thought was Marriage Sucks the Big One, man!, and my second thought was, Uh oh. What about Punk?! 😉

    Mary Sunshine (at Linda’s) inspired me to think about just how deeply I took to heart the lesbian feminist ethos of the Second Wave. All my mom’s activist friends were younger lesbians and I hung out with them all the time for 2 or 3 years (until they realized my mom was a poser and moved on) and they were so good to me; they were my Big Sisters and I love them still ❤

    I digress. What I’m trying to say is that it was that feminist calling-out of marriage for what it is, and my understanding the truth of it that ended up keeping me from a much different (and certainly more unpleasant) life. Thank you, Betty and Dia!

    Asian Honkey asks me about once a year if I would marry her (assuming we could, of course) and every time my answer is, NO!! and then I go on a rant that lasts a couple of days about *The Man* and *Fucking Property Law* and *The Man* again, etc. We call this event our “Anniversary”. It’s a tradition.

    ******

    “(… because ‘property’ is a thing, an object, and objects don’t have human rights).”

    And this at Fact‘s:

    “…particularly given the ‘guilt’ assigned to the [female rape] victim,…”

    Both of these thoughts of yours, Fab, led me to this paradox:

    A man does not expect his cow-property or his car-property or his cash-property to “fight back” against their *theft* but they DO expect their wife-property to *do something* about theirs because women are human beings capable of reason and action.

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  15. Undercover Punk

    I also totally, totally agree with Noan! (just to cover myself, we did not register and specifically said no prezzies. also, casual attire was encouraged, including shorts in the heat of late July, just no fluffy white dresses on the guests! Though even *I,* in all of my femininity-loving glory, did not rock the princess dress, you’ll be happy to know.)

    So, my BROTHER is getting Het Married later this year and it’s a total fucking nightmare. Presents, presents, parties, tradition, my fucking Happy Face 😀 , blah, blah, happy-happy, puke! One of the side effects is that my mother is being seriously pressured to form a “relationship” with my brother’s fiance’s mother– whom she doesn’t relate to AT ALL! I keep telling her that it’s all so het-SCRIPTED and it’s not a fucking PLAY/theater; she doesn’t have to enact these ROLES, but it’s EXPECTED of her. Additionally, I told my brother that I do NOT want to be a bridesmaid, but I’d be happy to support HIM as a grooms-woman. This is OK with my brother, but I know her family would DIE of such gender-bending. I’m certain that my brother doesn’t care (actually thinks if would be cool!) and would be totally into it, IF HE WERE ALLOWED. It just disgusts me.
    I have another friend who is getting married next summer and her guest list keeps growing b/c the family is forcing them to invite all these distant relatives that they don’t even know! And saying: well, you don’t want Uncle Ralph to be offended do you?? AS IF. I think the wedding being about people BESIDES the couple is a relic of marriage’s history as a family-deal. A BUSINESS deal.

    Oh, and one more thing: if you’ve seen Sex & City, they cover the spinster-neglect issue. Carrie throws a Single Party for herself. Or something like that. But there’s an entire episode about JUST THIS. If you can believe it!

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  16. jilla

    “We call this event our “Anniversary”. It’s a tradition.”

    LMAO. Too good. Tears. Cheeks. Spits.

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  17. Sargasso Sea

    Hey, yeah!! I’ll throw a party for myself and tell everyone: I’ve saved you all this money all these years, so pay the fuck up!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Noan! Woot!

    No kidding. Chonky’s favorite niece, a prestigious law school graduate with her eye set on judgeship, is getting married to her long-term, live-in firefighter boyfriend (she never wanted to get married or have children) this year and she’s agreed to put her career on hold *if* she gets pregnant.

    We received a post card announcing the wedding. On the front was a picture of the couple on the beach in this pose: He is in his Firefighter *costume* (shirtless, IIRC)
    and has her, in her Lawyer *costume*, cradled in his arms.

    The back said (paraphrasing here): I was nothing but a Damsel Law Student until my Hero came to save me! Join us for our wedding in Las Vegas!

    When we saw that this is what we looked like >> 😯 😯

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  18. jilla

    Undercover, cookies and princess dress whatever, celebrations, family/friends all good.

    I’ll expect an invite for the 10th anniversary. When in true native American tradition, YOU’LL fete US.

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  19. jilla

    I think sometimes, in some cultures (in a land far far away) the family was protection for the woman and children. Abusers operate in isolation.

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  20. jilla

    So I want to hammer it home AGAIN. We NEED celebration, tradition, ritual. Start making it. NoAN and all of us. Invite. Do it again next year. Now it’s a tradition. If you’re a spinster, marriage-leaver, old woman alone, just make it. We need these community things.

    I’m going to bed now. G’nite.

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  21. maggie

    When I got married I had three other guests, a meal in the local cafe and a few drinkies in the pub after. The whole shebang, including the getaway and outfits, cost £800.00 and we both bought clothes we could use again and again. For me keeping an outfit (in perpetuity) was behaving like Ms Havisham in Great Expectations – wonderful anti-marriage chapter when she’s first properly introduced. Dickens wasn’t too impressed with marriage either.

    Now we’re separating, because I married, I’ll get a proper share of his pension, most of the equity from the house, and a lifetime of payments. It’s not just the children who are looked after, I count too. I damn well earned it. Child minding, babysitting, cleaning, gardening, decorating, chef, economist, taxi services, hairdressing, early years educationalist, educator. He barely did any. He now pays for my skill sets. The good thing is I don’t have to shag him in return….:)

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  22. ball buster

    UP, I don’t think your doing exceptionalism. Marriage right now is the only way for lesbians to protect the rights of their wife in the event of incapacitation or passing away. I’ve read in places here or there, horror stories about lesbians being thrown out of their home after their partner passes because the lesbophobic family took over the estate, or being denied emergency room visits with their partner because they aren’t considered “immediate family.” Marriage right now is the only way to remedy that, at least until we figure something else out.

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    1. sellmaeth

      Also, there’s usually financial benefits to it, and I think it is only right that some of this money single women pay in taxes goes back to women.
      I’m all for women marrying each other. Conservatives say it “destroys marriage”, and they are right – it destroys the most important purpose of marriage, which is providing men with a free household servant.

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  23. zeph

    Thanks for this post, fab. Marriage is a subject of enormous importance, feminists need to dissect and remove it as an institution because it lies like a monolith on our path to freedom.

    UP, in my post I stipulated het marriage, because marriage, ultimately, is about reproductive jurisdiction. So by definition lesbian vows are altogether of a different, finer, nature.

    I think the veil originates in goddess worship, something that was full of rites and celebrations. At the beginning of patriarchy, men took our sacred ritual objects and turned them into implements to constrain us in every day life.

    “At the ancient temple of Sais in Egypt, the statue of the Goddess bore the inscription: ‘I am all that has been, and is, and ever shall be. No mortal has lifted my veil.’ ”
    Plutarch, c. 46 – 120 CE/AD “De Iside et Osiride”.

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  24. radfemcrafts

    Also, in our modern “post-feminist” world women “stay friends” with their ex-boyfriends who are then obligated to attend (or be in the wedding party) their weddings to represent their on-going value as fuckable. At the expense of the ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend or wife’s money and time.

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  25. FAB Libber

    Sorry about that zeph, the spamulator went into overdrive, and the two identical comments previously ended up there. I marked them unspam (so it does not brownlist you or anything!) then deleted them. I think it was the weirdness of the last line that got its little spamulator heart aflutter.

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  26. FAB Libber

    It does not stop at the wedding though. The baybees come, and everyone is expected to give baybee gifts galore. My sister ended up with a room full of stuffed crap for her first born. So unnecessary, such a waste. I HATE compulsory gift giving. Really hate it.

    For decades I even told my family I did not want gifts except for birthdays with a zero on the end of it. That works.

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  27. FAB Libber

    In related-to-this-thread news, the dude who [allegedly blah blah] had his wife killed on honeymoon whilst in Sth Africa. Apparently he did not like the arranged marriage, and preferred to have sex with rent boys. So he [allegedly blah blah] has her killed.

    ‘Honeymoon killer told rent boy of his marriage doubts’

    A businessman arranged his wife’s murder on their honeymoon six months after telling a male prostitute he had been forced into marriage and “needed to find a way out”, a court heard yesterday.

    Shrien Dewani, 31, allegedly told the escort from Munich that his family would disown him unless he agreed to settle down with 28-year-old Anni Hindocha.

    The Dewanis married last October in a Hindu ceremony in Mumbai and went on their honeymoon to South Africa. Mrs Dewani was killed in an apparent “carjacking” in Cape Town on Nov 13.

    The South African authorities believe that Mr Dewani arranged the killing of his Swedish-born wife and want him to go on trial.

    The alleged motive was disclosed on the first day of his extradition hearing at Belmarsh magistrates’ court in south east London, watched by Mrs Dewani’s father, Vinod, who had flown in from Sweden.

    Hugo Keith QC, for the Republic of South Africa, told the court that Mr Dewani met the man, who he said was willing to give evidence, in September 2009 and confided in him in April last year.

    Mr Keith said: “He said although she was a nice, lovely girl whom he liked, he could not break off the engagement because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness that he needed to find a way out of it.”

    Sources said the man willing to give evidence has claimed that Mr Dewani paid him for sexual intercourse on three occasions. He has given a statement to South African police. Mr Dewani denies any involvement in his wife’s death, and denied that he met the man.

    Mr Dewani is fighting extradition, saying he could be tortured in prison and would not get a fair trial. He has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and is being cared for at a medium secure unit in Bristol, where he lives. He was bailed for the rest of the three-day hearing to return to the clinic.

    Mr Dewani allegedly asked Zola Tongo, the driver jailed for 18 years for his role in the killing, if he could find a hitman. Mr Keith said: “Tongo understood that Dewani wanted to have a woman killed. He indicated that he would be prepared to pay 15,000 rand, about £1,375.

    “The killing would be designed to look like a random carjacking, that Tongo and Dewani would be ejected unharmed and the victim robbed and murdered.”

    The couple’s car was stopped in Gugulethu township by two men, Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, the court was told. Tongo and Mr Dewani were bundled out while Mrs Dewani was killed with a single bullet to the neck. Her body was found the following morning.

    Mr Keith said: “Police were suspicious. It seemed strange that neither Tongo nor Mr Dewani were injured, that the couple had chosen to see a township that Tongo knew was dangerous.”

    Mngeni and Qwabe will go on trial in June. They identified Tongo, who named Mr Dewani, who was held in Britain on Dec 7. The hearing continues.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8491196/Honeymoon-killer-told-rent-boy-of-his-marriage-doubts.html

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  28. Linda Radfem

    I’ve written shitloads on this odious institution:
    http://apublicblogging.wordpress.com/category/marriage/

    On the virginity point, I’m pretty sure it was around before the white dress became popular. I know in medieval Wales the bride wore her hair loose on that day to show she was a virgin, and there were traditions whereby the marital sheets were inspected for blood the morning after the wedding night. No blood? Slut! Given the importance of marriage in the tranference of land and resources to true biological heirs, and the custom of sequestering girls and young women, restricting movement through the use of chaperones and such, I assume that virginity was always part of the deal.

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  29. Linda Radfem

    Oh and thanks for the list of hideous, woman-hating traditions. I’m sending it round to my straight colleagues who all had bloody royal fever last week.

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  30. luckynkl

    Marriage is an outdated, barbaric institution which needs to be abolished. Its purpose is to give church and state sanctioned legal ownership of women and children to men.

    Homosexuals make up 10% of the population. 4% are lesbian. Less than 1% tie the knot. They are no threat to the institution or its purpose. Just the opposite. Marriage between gay and lesbian folks only supports and reinforces this barbaric institution, which negatively affects women in 99% of marriages, which are het. As Audre Lorde said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” The point of RF-ism is to dismantle the master’s house, not add another room onto it.

    Gay and lesbian marriage cannot be justified from a feminist pov. If women are to be liberated, the entire system and its institutions must be nuked. The system, which is based on men’s values, was never meant to benefit women. It was meant to advantage and benefit men – at the expense of women.

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    1. sellmaeth

      “Homosexuals make up 10% of the population. 4% are lesbian. Less than 1% tie the knot. They are no threat to the institution or its purpose.”

      Conservatives seem to think otherwise. Maybe 4% lesbian women all marrying would suffice to cause cries for the abolition of tax benefits for childless married couples.

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  31. Undercover Punk

    @Lucky:

    Gay and lesbian marriage cannot be justified from a feminist pov. If women are to be liberated, the entire system and its institutions must be nuked. The system, which is based on men’s values, was never meant to benefit women. It was meant to advantage and benefit men – at the expense of women.

    Yes, this is what I was saying about being a FOOL to defend the institution of marriage, in general.

    In terms of the entire system: the problem is not ONLY privileging the “marriage relationship,” but privileging all kinds of relationships– including BLOOD ties. Indeed, protecting paternity rights is *the reason* for marriage. Yet, more often than not, MEN fail to behave as competent parents. I have been personally involved in the reluctant state-sanctioned removal of neglected children from their biological mother’s care. It was a battle *because* of the legal privilege afforded the blood tie, despite the fact that she was clearly unfit and uninterested in caring for the children. As another example, certain *kinds* of blood relatives are allowed visitation in medical settings and/or have rights to a deceased person’s estate. The legal bonds of marriage confer a similar privilege, but the question is not: WHO deserves these rights? But why does ANYONE deserve these privileges without the other person’s express permission? And in that respect, where marriage is a CHOICE and is a bond that can be broken, I prefer it to the presumption of blood/genetic-based entitlement.

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  32. rhondda

    Yes, up, as a social worker I too was involved with women divided against themselves when it came to their children. I remember my own mother who was divided between loyalty to my father’s wishes and loyalty to me as her daughter. She chose him. I do not blame her now as I see what “Sophie’s choices” she was given and she did not have the advantage of Radical feminism or the internet. Yet, despite her double messages to me, there were moments when she knew. She just did not believe in them. There was no one to say so. Yet in my own life I have met mothers who are beginning to get it and are saying so. They are not deserting their daughters even though everything patriarchal is telling them to do so. And, this is what gets me: they are telling their husbands they cannot desert their daughters and grand daughters. I told one grandfather that I thought it was wonderful that he was teaching his granddaughter about about electricity and that science was not that mystical. He just beamed. I thought good, maybe he will continue to tell her what she needs to know.

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  33. Dizzy

    On the topic of compulsory gift-giving – while I generally loathe baby showers with their dumb fake-laugh games and frilly sugar concoctions, the practical gifts (diapers, crib sheets, onesies) are a serious help to new mums who don’t have much money. I appreciate being able to help out even a little with the financial burden that my lady friends deal with when they have babies, especially when they’re the primary income earner and have to take unpaid maternity leave from their jobs. Which happens a lot.

    Can’t say the same for the wedding gifts. Those are just silly. Get your own damn espresso machine, people. I need to pay rent.

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  34. FAB Libber

    Rhondda, I did think the way you addressed Jilla was harsh and impolite, given that she only did a brief overview, there was no need to go so heavy with the correction.
    And besides, I did also mention that it varies a bit from place to place, not specifically Canada.

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  35. rhondda

    Sorry, but she did say it was only one year for Canada and that was what I was referring to. What is federal and what is provincial is very different and she made it seem it was the same for the whole country. Facts are facts. If you are going to ban me for correcting a fact then do so now. I would like to know. I am not going to back up a lie.

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  36. thebewilderness

    I think that the marriage contract is perhaps the most incredibly poorly written contract in the history of forever. I do think that contracts are a good idea between people who decide to share their stuff. I think it would be good for them to be a Partnership agreement for a specified time period. Contract law is complex. Marriage contracts are simple minded idiocy.
    I suspect there is a reason for this. A bad one.

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  37. thebewilderness

    Ah, I did not know that we were required to “back each other” here, in spite of error.
    I can’t do that. Sorry, I should have said I won’t do that. If pointing out error is a banning offense, I will save you the trouble.

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  38. jilla

    You are welcome, and expected, to point out any error I make TBW, and so is anyone. Anytime. That’s not the issue.

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  39. FAB Libber

    TBW, it was not the disagreement or correction, it was the unwarranted aggro that I had issue with. Nor was it the first ‘offence’. I don’t particularly want a pack of sycophants, the concept is to progress things forward.

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  40. FAB Libber

    If you are going to ban me for correcting a fact then do so now.

    Stop twisting it. I did not say I was going to ban you for corrections (or even disagreements). It was the manner of your corrections that was so completely unnecessary, bringing a machine gun to a knife fight. There was no need for it.

    Instead of this threatening tone (for no reason at all):
    Sorry, Jilla, but I cannot let you get away with that.

    How about something like:
    Jilla, sorry, but you are mistaken on the cohabitation laws in Canada, which also differ by province.

    If you cannot see the difference in the approach, then ciao.
    I have no problem (nor does Jilla) with corrections or even disagreements. But a threatening tone like that is not acceptable, particularly when it was not even in a heat-of-the-moment debate of points.

    Radical feminism is not a competition fer cryin’ out loud.

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  41. jilla

    This is beyond belief.

    “I am not going to back up a lie.”

    A LIE!! It was a conversation comment. And you are saying it’s a LIE.

    Also, you are “not going to let me get away with that”?

    I’m beginning to get a very bad feeling about the way you address me. Elsewhere, you spat at me to stop being disingenuous, “Disingenuous”.

    This is exactly how social workers in Canada speak to and refer to and treat Native people. We are always going to be caught out by you, because we are disingenuous, lying and need to be corrected by your good white self.

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  42. jilla

    And I would like to add. Each time you have attacked me, I was not even in conversation with you. You just appeared out of nowhere with your name-calling.

    That just tears it. A lie.

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  43. FAB Libber

    I do vote that envoking “lie” qualifies as a strike three.
    I took a poll with myself, it was unanimous. Motion carried.
    And to be clear, it was not for ‘disagreement’. It was for attempting to discredit.

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  44. jilla

    I am just shaken. All that my sisters have gone through, and the actual terrible efforts I have made so I would never have to be under women like Rhondda, calling me a liar at every turn, snapping at me to Stop being so disingenuous. I’ve seen. Even in a court room where I was supporting and advocating for Native women.

    Maybe I’ve been deluding myself, that I belong with you people. I know there is not a native women or Black woman who would not understand exactly what Rhondda did here.

    God help her clients. Who will be Native women, mothers struggling and perhaps, taking to the streets to avoid asking a Rhondda for help.

    THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY COMMENT ABOUT COHABITATION.

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  45. Undercover Punk

    Talking over the conflict.
    TBW said:

    I think that the marriage contract is perhaps the most incredibly poorly written contract in the history of forever. I do think that contracts are a good idea between people who decide to share their stuff. I think it would be good for them to be a Partnership agreement for a specified time period. Contract law is complex.

    I love this comment! Marriage is the only contract of its kind! The closest analogy would be a guardianship for an “incompetent” person, where females are treated as the incompetent. But obviously there are major differences: first and foremost being spousal rape. It’s biological terrorism, ffs! One party can impregnate the other AT WILL?? On a one-way, female-harming street?? (I really want/need to make a color coded map of the US showing the date that “spousal rape” became legally recognized… I digress.) Further, protection from non-sexual violence against women in the marriage contract is essentially non-existent (in reality). It’s impossible to intervene in a domestic violence relationship resulting in the removal of the victim from the situation– because she is an adult, a “competent” person. That’s the formal difference. And yet, the nature of the marriage contract is such that the female may be, or is even likely to be, biologically and economically entrapped with her abuser!! What IS this barbarian concept??? My goddess.

    I do like this line of analysis. It would be interesting to think about what an ideal on-going contract between persons-of-Life-importance would look like, wouldn’t it? And how there might be variations between the kinds of relationships. Consent is a tricky thing, also, of course.

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  46. FAB Libber

    Maybe I’ve been deluding myself, that I belong with you people.
    I hope you don’t feel that you cannot trust anyone? And I hope you will stay here, commenting.

    I was in a bit of a rush last night/this morning due to a number of other things going on, but I did want to post rhondda’s comment without any editing, and address it more fully later. Hopefully most has been covered now, and I understand your upset Jilla, particularly given your native woman status, and recent ongoing problems with rhondda, the latter of which was not the prime reason for my decision, even if my decision seemed heavy-handed to some. Anyway, this blog is not for hosting intergroup hostilities. I can’t be arsed with it.

    Focus on the manz-hating people! And generous dollops of twanzphobia! 😛
    There is plenty to be had!

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  47. FAB Libber

    Ok, sorry, I didn’t see the most recent comments cause I was writing while they were posting. I’m sorry for talking over.

    That’s ok UCP, you were back on topic, so it’s all good.

    Another thing about DV and even rape, is the size disparity between most males and most females. That is never taken into account, because of the legal status of “both adults” and when defined in that way, pretends there is a (physical) level playing field when there is not. I have seen DV dynamics where the dude is like 6 foot, and the woman is barely over 5 foot. Big difference.

    TBW is right when she says the marriage contract is the most poorly ‘written’ one in history. Considering it is also a legal status/situation, the other laws should back it up to be ‘even’, but in practise they don’t, therefore creating an unfair situation for many women (not all, some manage to do ok, but that is not guaranteed).

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