Mania Over Today’s Matrimony: Top Critiques [Updated]

[Originally, the subtitle of this post was “Top 2 Critiques.” But comments posted over at Living Single have been terrific, and so some new critiques deserve to be added. You can find them at the end.]

My most recent post over at Living Single celebrates many people who are not getting married today. Here I want to continue the festivities by tossing a bouquet of respect and admiration to those savvy scribes who have said something smart about the topic. No cloying sentimentality, no predictable plaudits, no breathless guessing about who’s in and who’s out.

Here are excerpts from my two favorites.

From Tess Rafferty (with thanks to Jason for the heads-up):

“I don’t need to “feel” married. I don’t need “My Big Day.” I have lots of “Big Days.” Last week I went to a six-course food and wine pairing. A few weeks before that I went with friends to the spa, followed by dinner and “Sex and the City 2.” I go to countries where they don’t look askance when you drink at lunch. Tuesday I had a new dress to wear! Sunday I slept until 11! And the best part of all of those days? None of them involved my mother coming to town!

“My family is made up of fine people, but none of them “happiest day of my life” material. They’re more of the “Let’s Just Stay Medicated Enough to Get Through This Weekend” variety. And why do people think a wedding should be the “happiest day of your life,” anyway? Or that you should only get one?”

From Christina at Onely, on Hillary Clinton’s comment that Chelsea’s wedding is “truly the most important thing in my life right now”:

“I would expect someone who put eighteen million cracks in the glass ceiling to be imaginative and open-minded about the meaning of a wedding, not to parrot traditional roles rooted in sexism and materialism.

“And regardless of whether Chelsea’s ceremony is tacky or tasteful, it should still not be a priority for Clinton. She has a responsibility to the people of the U.S. and the world to prioritize her political obligations and power, for which she fought so hard and for which so many people supported her.”

What other great critiques have I missed? Add your favorites to the comments section.

NEW:

In commenting on this post, Cameron suggested a fabulous article by Rebecca Traister at Salon. I think many readers will appreciate every word. Here’s just one choice excerpt. It comes just after Bill Clinton was quoted as saying he agreed with George W. Bush’s comment about his daughter’s wedding. After you “do the hand-off,” Clinton said, “you know it proves you’ve done what you were supposed to do.”

This is Traister’s take:

“What about ‘handing off’ your daughter to another man proves that you’ve done your work as a father? How does it demonstrate that you’ve done what you’re supposed to do more vividly than watching your daughter graduate from college, make friends, live independently, land big jobs, develop and follow through on ambitions, help her mother run for president?”

Another Living Single reader (Anonymous), commenting on this post, said this:

“Not only am I sick of hearing about the wedding, but I am sick of the demeaning ‘ugly duckling to beautiful bride’ narrative of Chelsea’s ‘transformation’ from an awkward and plain-looking teenager to a beautiful adult. I find that narrative to be demeaning to her.”

Rebecca Traister had some choice words about that, too:

“That Chelsea has grown up gorgeous seems to have relieved a lot of people (though it’s difficult not to wonder: What if she hadn’t?)… What bothers me is the barely veiled attitude that it is the fact of her upcoming wedding — and that alone — that somehow demonstrates to them that Chelsea is pretty and that everything has turned out all right for her.”

Thank-you Cameron, Anonymous, and Rebecca Traister.  You’ve added some much-welcome wisdom amidst all the frenzied matrimania.

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3 thoughts on “Mania Over Today’s Matrimony: Top Critiques [Updated]

  1. I’m happy I inspired you to post this! Rebecca Traister ot a lot of flak in the comments, but I’m glad people like her and you are making these points.

  2. I have been surrounded by weddings recently and to be honest reading these posts here and on living single have helped me stay sane. I just can’t get over how weddings seem to turn the nicest people into the most self-centered, brats.
    What about getting married means that you deserve a hugely outlandish, event that often times does nothing but inconvenience everyone around you? I get that its a celebration of family and love and commitment but you didn’t do or accomplish anything… and often times all it “celebrates” is the fact that you are “better” than everyone else because you are getting married…

    Another great article to read from the guardian about how weddings are all about ego and not about marriage.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/aug/04/wedding-christianity-extravagance-selfishness

    Thank goodness for other like minded people.

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