My cousin just got married here in Sweden. It was quite a nice ceremony and a glorious dinner and party afterwards. All in all, a lot of fun. I haven’t been to a whole lot of weddings, but they seem to be getting more and more frequent, apparently I’m at that age.
This was the second one I’ve been to in Sweden though and so the different traditions didn’t seem to foreign. Despite that, one tradition did stand out. Not because it is something I would have paid any attention, but solely because I have been paying way too much attention to the news.
In Sweden, the bride and groom walk down the aisle, to the altar, at the same time. Together. It is quite nice really and is supposed to speak to equal roles both parties play in the marriage. I quite like it.
In the US, the bride is usually walked down the aisle by her father. It is usually referred to as the bride being given away by her father. Some people believe this speaks to some sort of ownership of the woman and is, in fact, sexist. And it very well may be if too much stock is given to the idea that a father can give away his daughter. That being said, it can also be seen as a display of love and affection as the bride walks down the aisle with a man who has (hopefully) played a very important part in her life.
Honestly, I prefer the idea of walking down side by side, but maybe that’s just the Swedish part of me. What I don’t prefer, is the ridiculous discussion being had in Sweden right now as the royal wedding approaches. Crown Princess Victoria has expressed interest in walking down the aisle with her father. And people have been outraged. Both the church and feminist groups think it goes against Swedish tradition and harkens back to sexist views of selling a daughter into marriage.
The church can think whatever the hell it wants to think. In Sweden it is a fringe institution with dwindling membership and very little to offer. The feminist groups on the other hand, boggle my mind. Because suddenly, a woman, who has chosen herself to be walked down the aisle by her father, is being attacked for following sexist traditions.
The feminists seem to have missed the forest for the trees. They have given power to symbols that are not even prevalent in Sweden and lost track of the fact that the woman has made her own decision to walk down the aisle with her father.
As far as I’m concerned, equality is not conforming to ideas of equality set forth by feminist groups with a clear agenda, but instead making independent choices and decisions and having the opportunity to act out those choices and decisions. You know, like on your wedding day.
Of course, in a country where feminists felt it necessary to change Herr Gårman to Fru Gårman, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Welcome to Sweden. And extreme feminism. Again.
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