Did you know you it’s impossible for the modern woman’s pea-sized brain to internalize the vast implications of feminism and be married at the same time?
Neither did I, but apparently because I have a vagina, I can either choose to be married or I can choose to be a feminist. I can’t do both, because, well….vagina. Also because, well…who the FUCK knows!
If you’re rolling your eyes right about now, thinking I sound like a lunatic, what would you think if I told you someone actually said this? Yep, that’s right, in the last month I’ve been married, I’ve actually seen multiple pieces and comments suggesting that you can’t be a feminist and be married. And as the title of this post implies, lots of other really stupid bullshit along those same lines. I’ve also had some horrible shit said to me in person that I thought it would be fun to address here. So let’s go!
1. “You can’t be a feminist and be married.”
My first response to this is, “Yes you can, idiot.” Look, I’m not dumb. I know marriage didn’t start off as the idea that two happily in love people would try to work on a partnership forever. In fact, in one of my cultures even today – the Indian culture – marriage is still the awful idea of a woman being “given away” to another family. Gross. But just because marriage started off one way and may exist in a certain way in other places, does that mean I can’t choose to make my marriage what I want? Sure, marriage was part of the gross patriarchy for a while, but now, it’s evolving, just like many other things have evolved. Today, in the States where I live, it can be about two people in love coming together. Do we have to throw out the entire institution to keep our feminist card? I don’t accept that – like everything else in my life, I believe I make my own rules, including the rules around my marriage.
2. “Taking your husband’s last name means you haven’t escaped the patriarchy.”
Are you f*cking kidding me with this right now? Once again, I know where the origins of marriage are. I know that it used to be basically a requirement to change your last name and that now women have a choice. In fact, I was married once before and chose to keep my last name the same. Now, though, I feel differently. I wanted – read: WANTED – to change my last name to feel like a team with my husband. Could he have changed his? Sure. Could we have hyphenated them? Sure. Could I have kept my last name and still been just as much a team? Sure. But I wanted to – it felt good to me and it felt like the real beginning of a new chapter. So GTFO with your stupid bullshit.
3. “I thought you believed in equality.”
But I mean…do you? Do you think equality necessarily means that feminists shouldn’t get married or do you – more intelligently – think it means women should get the opportunity to do whatever the fuck they want and get the same respect men get for doing so? Are people telling men that choose to go to work – like a “traditional husband” does/did – that they don’t believe in equality because they aren’t taking a different role? Fuck all of that. Equality doesn’t mean I have to subscribe to YOUR ludicrous idea of feminism – it means I’ll do whatever the fuck I want and you should too.
4. “I guess this means you’re not traveling/writing/lawyering/protesting/feministing anymore.”
Just…what? Being married as a woman means I have to give up everything I was doing before? How incredibly rude of you to assume that because I’m now married, I won’t be as much of an independent, artistic, creative, busy, professional badass as I was before. Are you also assuming my husband is going to stop chiropracting/studying/crafting/playing rugby? If you don’t, you’re a shitty feminist too, because you’re not expecting the same thing from both partners – you’re expecting the female partner to change because she “succumbed” to the “patriarchy” of marriage. Fuck you.
5. “I was shocked when you got married – it’s not you at all!”
I mean…okay, you were shocked. That’s cool. I get it. I vacillated back and forth a lot before with how I felt about relationships – people do that. You also, though, aren’t the arbiter of what’s “me” and what isn’t. I am. So maybe what’s “me” today won’t be “me” tomorrow. But I get to decide that – not you.
6. “I’m so jealous of your relationship. It must be nice…”
Uh, thanks? But not really because jealousy is gross and weird, especially when you are a grown-ass adult. If you want a supportive, feminist partner like mine, go fucking find one, for fuck’s sake. Don’t sit there and be all weird and jealous of something you control. I accept that it’s partially luck to find someone you click with forever, but most of these statements come from people that aren’t even trying to build the life they want. Or are treating their own partners like crap. So no guilt here – move along.
7. “It must be so great to not worry about feminist issues anymore.”
Okay, cool, so if you’re gay and you’re married does that mean you don’t worry about LGBT issues anymore? Honestly, how dumb and/or offensively rude can you be? Just because I have a husband now doesn’t mean I’m going to stop caring about women’s rights, equality, reproductive rights, or anything in that world. It just means I have a partner who will also care about and talk to me about those things, too – and that together, we’ll do some great things for feminism. Bai.
It’s amazing the kind of stuff people actually believe and/or peddle on the internet these days. Don’t be one of these people! Because it turns out, you can be a married feminist – and a badass one at that.