Category Archives: Feminism

In Which My Feminism Is Revealed to Be Quite Flimsy

Ordering a return address stamp for our invitations has had an unexpected side effect: it is making me reconsider taking Collin’s last name.

Robin Hitchcock and Collin Diedrich
1234 Welivehere Drive
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

Something about the aesthetics of our names written out next to each other bugs me. It’s too wide, I guess.  Once I realized I should be writing out the state instead of using the two-letter abbreviation I felt better about it, but our names are STILL the widest line. It’s a little awkward.

And I have to think about the future. We might move to a place with a much shorter name! This could be our ridiculously top-heavy address:

Robin Hitchcock and Collin Diedrich
7 Oak Lane
Ai, Ohio

What a nightmare! How much simpler if I could just make that top line read “The Diedrichs” ? But, no. Changing my name just doesn’t feel right, and I’m not going to do it, even with this first of many headaches punishing me for my stubbornness.

Cyber Bridesmaids

First, have you guys heard the awesome story of how this wedding blog community banded together to get Sarah & Tony some more time with their wedding photographer? Well, we did. Don’t miss it. We’re like a band of cyber bridesmaids, which really makes me want to print ceremony programs so I can flaunt ya’ll.

Many of the Cyber Bridesmaids are also celebrating International Women’s Day today. I am one of many awesome women bloggers participating in the In Her Own Words event on One Cat Per Person and Any Other Wedding today. Here is my post.


Banner: Joshua Gomby

Today’s also a good day to check out my non-wedding blog, Double R Diner, if you haven’t already.  If you like my movie reviews or Not the Knot posts, you’ll like Double R Diner. Me and my co-blogger Ramona are celebrating IWD/Feminist Coming Out Day by chatting about our feminist origin stories.

Polar Bears in the Boys Room

While putting that stamp  on one hundred or so save the dates, I could not stop thinking about this “funny” video I saw around this time last year:

It’s a dramatic reading of wedding message board posts regarding polar bear post card stamps, part of a series by comedian Giulia Rozzi.  It relies heavily on that comedic golden goose of an abbreviation, STD.

But even more so on the general principle of “bitches be crazy.”  Especially engaged bitches.

And I sigh deeply.  Because I want more women in comedy. I want more women who are creative and brave enough to film themselves doing bits, and to share them to try to make strangers laugh. I want my kids to never hear people have serious conversations about how “women just aren’t funny.”  And it appears Giulia herself agrees!

But I don’t like when women in comedy get all their material from reasons other women are lame.  Because I hate casual misogyny in general, but especially when perpetrated by women.  And I hate it even more when perpetrated by women in a dudely field of dudeitude.  Because that helps no one.  Plus, it doesn’t make me laugh.

And honestly, it just hurts my feelings, as a woman.  In this case, a woman who cares about her wedding, and really likes communicating with other people about wedding planning. A woman who dedicated more than a passing thought to the strangeness of polar bear stamps on a fall-colored save the date for a summer wedding.

Maybe I’m being over-sensitive. Must be getting my period. Chicks are the worst, right, man?

Showering in Sexism

My mother-in-law Viki called me earlier today and asked what I thought about having a co-ed wedding shower. “Awesome!” I told her. Dividing the attention with Collin? Still getting presents? Sounds like I’m making out like a bandit.

She checked in with Collin, he approved, and plans started hatching for a super-chill BBQ shower.  And then she headed out to a stationary store with a friend and fellow shower-host and looked at invitation options.

And then she called me.  “Robin… some of these invitations they are selling… you’re probably not going to like them very much.  Maybe we could send them as a joke, but I think you would be too upset by them to laugh.”

“What could be so upsetting about shower invitations?” I asked.

Stupid question.  Whenever the wedding world has the opportunity to bewilder, irritate, and outrage, it finds a way.

Here, it is with the assumption that the theme of a couple’s shower must be Fundamental Gender Differences. Observe:

[Source: Invitation Consultants]

Men like:

  • Hammers. MEN SMASH!
  • Fishing.
  • Golf.
  • Malt liquor.
  • Belts and/or microplanes (probably not a microplane because you can use that in a kitchen, which is where girls go!)
  • Items that can be used to cook meat outside. (Inside cooking or non-meat cooking is GIRL STUFF.)
  • Cigars.
  • Champagne and champagne flutes. (Probably the most progressively gender-neutral item pictured! I thought men only drank red wine. Or, preferably, beer!)
  • Tickets to public events (presumably to use with his buds, because womenfolk should stay in the homestead).
  • Power tools.
  • Other hardware, but most importantly: HAMMERS!

Women like:

  • Wisks.
  • Spatulas.
  • Spoons.  Anything that lets us stir!
  • Standing mixers. For motorized stirring!
  • Chopsticks! Cheese Graters! Other things that will make us feel less alone in the kitchen.
  • Recipe books for party food so we can be great hostesses.
  • Napkins. Ladies are neat, and love things made of fabric!
  • Flowers.
  • Necklaces.
  • Piiiiiiiiiiiiiink!
  • Picture frames. (We’re sentimentalists.)
  • Martini glasses. GIRLS’ NIGHT! WOO!

Men’s gifts and women’s gifts are so different that they should be physically segregated, preferably by buckets.  Otherwise those flighty ladies might start stirring something with a hammer!  Can’t have that.

I assume what is going on here is that a wedding shower is considered a girly event, so invitation designers are trying to restore the included groom’s masculinity. What better way to do this than by reminding the guests how even though this groom is going beyond his traditional role of “just showing up” on the wedding day, he still has a Y-chromosome, one that constantly yearns to hammer something.

Fortunately, Viki tells me she found a couple’s shower invitation that doesn’t involve creepy gender policing.  Which is great, because we really don’t need another hammer, and I don’t want people buying Collin one just because they think it’s the secret to saving his masculinity.

Toward a Unified Theory of Automatic Disqualification for First Dance Songs

This week The Knot offers “10 New First Dance Songs.” The first is a Sam Cooke song. Sam Cooke died in 1964, so you can tell that The Knot is operating under a wonky definition of “new.” But per usual, defying logic is only the beginning of The Knot’s offensiveness.

The second song suggestion is the Mamas and the Papas recording of “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”

Ok.  So, Mama Cass sings lead vocal on that track, and I just Wiki’d it and the single was released under her name alone in the UK, but… uh… you know what the Mamas and the Papas make me think about immediately?  RAPE AND INCEST.  Why, why why, whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhy, why why WHY is The Knot recommending anyone have their first wedding dance to a song by the Mamas and the Papas when we only learned last fall that Papa John raped his daughter a bunch of times?  Why don’t they at least attempt to bill the song as by Mama Cass to avoid that association by their readers?  [And honestly I don’t think that would be good enough for me.  If they recommended “How Do You Talk to an Angel” I would think about Jamie Walters’ 90210 character Ray Pruit being a loose reworking of his character on the Aaron Spelling-produced series The Heights, and about how Michelle Phillips played one of the Brenda replacements’ moms on Nine Oh, and then think about John Phillips, and then think about rape and incest, and probably decide that alone disqualifies “How Do You Talk to an Angel.”]

Ok.  So, to repeat: any song that employs a YouTube embed with John Phillips’ face in the background? UNACCEPTABLE WEDDING SONG.

I am working on a Unified Theory of Automatic Disqualifications for First Dance Songs.  For example, no songs that prominently feature a first name different than your own.  (So Bob Dylan’s “Sara,” even though it sounds like marriage more than any other recording ever in history, is eliminated if you are named Robin).  Also, no songs about real-life relationships that are unsavory in their beginnings or endings (So no Bob Dylan’s “Sara” for anyone, and also no Eric Clapton nor George Harrison songs about Pattie Boyd).

I have a third rule (applied above), but it is trickier: no songs by people who committed violence against women.  In application of this rule, I assume allegations are true.  I started to write a paragraph here about all the songs that disqualifies, but it is REDACTED because I started to WORRY ABOUT GETTING SUED by someone who according to him never beat anyone whose name rhymes with Schmaryl Schmannah.  [And I also started to worry about offending people who used or are using Lennon/McCartney songs.]

My third rule is pretty tough.  It also requires due diligence that you look up if someone allegedly beat women.  For example, when I started writing this entry, I knew that Sam Cooke was killed when he was young, but it wasn’t until I fact checked the year of his death to make a more specific  joke in the third sentence of this post that I read some more details about his death and realized he’s disqualified too.  When you cut out the misogynist musicians, you cut out a lot of tunes.  It’s like that killer third prong of the Bechdel Test.  No one said feminism would be easy.

Movie Review: Father of the Bride (1991)

Father of the Bride tells the most important wedding story of all: the story of masculinity in peril.

It’s a remake of a 1950 movie starring Spencer Tracy. Never having seen it, I don’t really know what the original movie is like.  But I do know some of the things that happened in the United States between 1950 and 1991.  A sampling: Hormonal birth control! The Feminine Mystique! Title VII! Legal abortion! Title IX! A woman on the Supreme Court! Three seasons of Murphy Brown!

But you’d never guess from this movie.  There are two major themes:

1. Steve Martin freaking out over losing control over his daughter to her husband-to-be.

2. Steve Martin freaking out over how expensive the wedding is.

Because losing control over a woman and losing thousands of dollars mean that Steve Martin is losing his manhood, and therefore losing what makes life worth living.

Perhaps surprisingly, I have less to say about the first theme.  It’s played so arch that I think it successfully crosses over into successful parody.  I certainly laughed out loud when Steve Martin envisions his 22-year-old daughter as an adorable 7-year-old as she describes how wonderful and brilliant her fiancé is.  It’s a little less funny when you contrast his “you’re still my baby” treatment of his grown woman daughter with his interaction with his ten-year-old Culkin son, whom he regards as a peer.  He does not trust his adult daughter to decide whether she needs to wear a jacket, but he trusts his small boy son to re-park dozens of guests’ cars during the reception.

Disturbing, but still I found myself much more rankled about the “dear lord the cost of weddings!” plotline.  Now, I understand from personal experience that even people with privilege can/should/do worry about their wedding budget.  But I still think it is kind of offensively off-putting that the masses are asked to relate to the wedding budget panic of the driver of that Aston Martin and owner of that house:

The first ten minutes of the movie outline how comfortable Steve Martin’s lifestyle is: He’s got a laughably improbably successful sneaker manufacturing business, with the whitest, least-sweatshop-esque factory in the history of athletic footwear.  He’s got the aforepictured Aston Martin and big house with a white picket fence in picturesque San Marino, California (Southern Californian cities named after European microstates: definitely dead center middle class, right?).  He’s sent his daughter to Rome to study for her Masters in architecture, but she still lives at home when she isn’t abroad.

However will this family afford a wedding?!?!

Perhaps they could ask the groom’s family for assistance? They do live in Bel Air after all.  They are, by Steve Martin’s estimation, rich people.  But he also thinks that it is truly offensive for them to offer to help pay for the wedding.  He’s the father of the bride, after all!  How dare they take away his problems like that?

Or maybe they shouldn’t hire Martin Short’s wedding planner, Franck, of ambiguous European origin and not-so-ambiguous sexuality.  Gay wedding planners = instant comedy!  They can recognize fabrics!  They wear turtlenecks! They pronounce “cake” like “cock!”   And they incorporate new expenses into weddings, like tulip beds, live swans, and Chiavari chairs.

What really happens is that Steve Martin is told by Diane Keaton, his better half, that all his money panic is taking little pieces of his daughter’s happiness away.  So he shuts his mouth and lets the money fly, returning to his core obsession of losing his little girl.  And then the wedding reception is so busy he doesn’t even see his daughter off.  But she calls from the airport to tell her dad she still loves him.

Moral of the story? You can buy your daughter’s love.  Even after she has a husband.  Rich white men of the world, relax! It’s all good.

Muppets Take Marriage

I just read this post at A Los Angeles Love and realized I have some really important things I have to share about the Muppets.

First, a bit of vocabulary to help you get by here at HitchDied:  My dearest friends, the group of people who will form what is known in wedding blog parlance as my “bridal brigade,”1 call themselves The Muppets.  What kind of group of grownup-type people adopts their own nickname?  Isn’t that something only the popular girls in junior high do?  No.  We call ourselves The Muppets.  Deal with it.

True Story: Collin’s sister-in-law asked me who I plan to have walk me down the aisle (in Jewish weddings, the tradition is to have both members of the couple walked down the aisle by both of their parents.  My parents are unavailable for reasons of deadness, so I need to cook up an alternative).  I told her that while I wasn’t sure about the logistics, I’d really want “all my Muppets” to walk me down the aisle, because they’re the family I feel is “giving me away.”  She carried on this conversation very politely, offering suggestions for how to incorporate all the Muppets into the ceremony, all the while thinking I literally meant marionette puppets.  She was quite relieved when I finally explained the Muppets are people.

And speaking of the Muppets, but the real ones this time: I didn’t do a movie review this week, so to help make up for that I will post what is, as far as I know, the greatest on-screen wedding in cinematic history:

Some notes on that awesomeness:

  • I might actually rip off this song for my vows.  “He’ll make me happy each time I see him/He‘ll be the reason my heart can sing/He’ll stand beside me and I’ll have everything./She’ll make me happy each time I hold her/And I will follow where my heart may lead/And she’ll be all I ever need.” So simple, so honest, so sweet, and the man/woman (frog/pig) call and response is more or less egalitarian! (Kermit’s verse gives him a tad more agency, as a holder rather than a seer, and a follower of his leading heart instead of someone being stood beside, but it’s close enough for government feminism).
  • It would be in keeping with the quotation I selected to appear under my portrait in my high school yearbook, which is the next line of the song:  “Days go passing into years, years go passing day by day.”
  • For any lady out there who thinks she’s got everlasting feminist street cred for proposing to her dude (pardon my heteronormativity for a second), I’d like to point out that you probably didn’t ambush your spouse with an actual wedding during the final production number at the premiere of the Broadway show in which you and your dude are starring.  Compared to Miss Piggy’s trailblazing nuptial woman power, you might as well have been proposed to on Valentine’s Day with a Tiffany diamond solitaire at the bottom of a flute of complimentary champers at the second-nicest restaurant in town.
  • Why are the Sesame Street characters sitting so far in the back?  Are they the black sheep of the Muppet family?
  • Janice from The Electric Mayhem is wearing a tuxedo.  Janice is… (deep breath)… THE COOLEST!
  • I think that at the moment I get married, I’ll mostly be thrilled and excited and overwhelmed with love, but the tiniest part of me is going to be just the eensiest bit disappointed that the moon doesn’t swoop Collin and me up into the sky at the end of the ceremony.

1 I’ll probably also use the term “bridal hootenanny,” because it is like a bridal party only more unwieldy.  [We need the extra term because our siblings are going to make up our “bridal party.”]

The Lamest Part of Waking Up

Transcript:
Grown Woman: “Morning, Daddy Dearest!”
Father: “Princess, while this economy has been hard on all of us, it does seem a little ridiculous that you’re living at home in your late 20s or early 30s.”
Grown Woman: “Good thing I have a man to support me!”
Father: “Indeed, darling. And on the subject of your dependence on me, I object to the hour at which you came home last night.”
Grown Woman: “Yeah, one silver lining of the recession is no matter how long I stay unemployed, beer still works.”
Father: “Sweetheart! You are a woman! If you’re going to stay out late drinking, make it white wine. Or appletinis, if you MUST.”
Grown Woman: “Daddy…” [extends left hand, adorned with delicate engagement ring] “another man will be ordering for me from now on.”
Father: “Oh, Angel Pie. Does Todd know that you get really cunty around that time of the month?”
Grown Woman: “DAAAAHHHH-D.”
Father:
“Just kidding. I warned him when we negotiated the transfer of you to his property last week. Knocked a few grand off the dowry!”
Grown Woman: [Smiles with surprise and relief!] “I never thought a guy who can belch my full name would go through the proper channels like that. I’m not making a terrible mistake marrying him! I love you, Daddy.”
Father: “I’ll love you even when another man owns you, Baby Girl.”

Shallow End

I’m more and more excited to be aiming for a Spring 2011 wedding instead of a Fall 2011 wedding.  But some of my reasons are completely lame and make me feel like a bad feminist.

For example:

  • Four fewer months for my hair to turn gray!
  • Four fewer months for eczema to conquer more of my skin!
  • A shorter period of time I feel obligated to maintain approximately the same weight to avoid becoming a multiple-dress bride!
  • Birdcage veils will be so-five-minutes-ago, as opposed to so-four-months-and-five-minutes ago.1
  • Less duration of time I justify buying expensive hair conditioners and face creams and splurging on manicures so I can “look my best for the wedding.”

All of this implies I plan to “let myself go” [Warning: “BUH” risk high] after I’m married.  And guess what, Dudeocracy, I am.  I have recently felt uncomfortable with how much time and money I spend on “beauty,” and tried to take stock and cut back.  But then I got engaged, and the crazy-making pressures of being a bride-to-be pretty much sidelined that project.

It isn’t all bad: I am more diligent about washing my face every night and putting sunscreen on every day, which is actually good for me beyond making me look better.  If I exercise with the dubious motive of keeping my body the same shape between my dress order and my final fitting, at least I will be getting exercise.

But I do look forward to getting back the time I spend pushing back my cuticles and filing my nails after people stop asking to see my hand and the threat of close-up photographs of my ring has passed.  And I look forward to being able to chop off all my hair on a whim, not chickening out after thinking about lost wedding up-do opportunities.  I look forward to gaining ten pounds because I ate a lot of yummy pizza and pie and having to buy a new $30 pair of jeans instead of a new $1000 gown.

And yes, I realize the absurdity and Liz Lemonism of looking forward to GETTING MARRIED as a way to escape some of the pressures of the patriarchy.  So let me reassert that I am most excited about marrying Collin because I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him, and that ahead of all these factors I approve of moving up the wedding because it is four fewer months I have to wait for him to be my spouse.  And let me go read some radical feminist theory as penance and search for some opportunities to be an activist for women instead of just a mouthy lady and don’t hate me because I still want to be beautiful!

1It occurs to me that birdcage veils may already be soooooo played out. Bridal trends are still a mystery to me. I assume they have a significantly different life cycle than regular fashion trends. It is probably best for my sanity if I choose not to care. This issue could be (and probably will be) the subject of its own entire post.

Why I Hate That You Hate Wedding Websites

Slate’s I Hate Your Wedding Website criticizes engaged couples—well, let’s face it, the unspecified villain of this piece is clearly the bride-to-be—for using a practical informational wedding website as an opportunity to indulge in a gauche celebration of how awesome they are and how special their love is.

I probably could have brushed this article off fairly easily—it is from Slate’s reincorporated lady-offshoot XX, the pearl-clutcher’s imitation Broadsheet; it’s yet another “you’re doing this wrong” attack on marrying women without any deeper cultural analysis; it centers on the already-tired cultural buzzword narcissism.

But I have also been reading Ms. Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, which repeatedly warns against narcissist pitfalls such as asking for specific presents (via a registry), selecting the attire for your wedding party, and playing music at the reception that doesn’t appeal to your grandparents.

I planned on doing at least two out of three of those things! And I actually consider Miss Manners a trustworthy (and delightful) authority on etiquette! Not to mention that I have started to blog about our wedding about a year before any theoretical informational site for guests would go live! I’m a narcissist!
OH NO!

Sigh. It seems everyone (save bridal-profiteers) mocks the idea of a wedding as the Bride’s Special Day. If only they were doing this because getting hitched ought not be the pinnacle of a lady’s life. Instead, it feels like the mockery is directed at the idea that a woman could have even one day to feel important.

And thus a woman’s wedding, the one day she’s been allotted to feel any entitlement to getting what she wants (in contrast with a man’s ENTIRE LIFE) becomes the ultimate opportunity to judge her for her choices. Judgments which conveniently remind the bride that after the wedding is over she has to step out of the spotlight and back in line.