Friday, May 9, 2014

Card Carrying Member of the Smug Married Club

Okay, I will start this piece with the requisite acknowledgement that I am 30, unmarried and childless. Therefore people who love this idea can judge me appropriately by medieval societal expectations. Well, if we're going for that, I would probably be a grandma by now. But people in my family look young for years, so I'm just going to rest calmly with this knowledge.

While I was putting off doing academic reading, I started to do the usual look-at-things-I-can't-afford websites. You know, the ones like Bluefly and Gilt where you can kind of pretend you can get that to-die-for £200 bag but in reality you can't justify it? Since my boyfriend and I are headed to New York in June, I decided to see if Gilt had any deals it could offer me. Hit me NYC, I'm ready to bleed all of my money onto your sidewalks.

I came across this little service, called "I'm a Mrs." which allows you to change your name on all of your documents with ease. This service may be nauseating and antiquated, but it is necessary for the women who do wish to change their surnames. (There is nothing wrong with changing your surname, by the way. You do you, girl!) If you go to their website, there is even a little latte gif with tick boxes next to "Miss" "Ms." and "Mrs." Of course, you get to select Mrs. now because you've MADE it.

However, it was the marketing campaign that really stuck in my craw (am I 85? Yes, evidently). My biggest pet peeve with modern marriage, aside from the obvious issue of inequality, is this pervasive idea that women win when they get married. It's some kind of race to the altar, and then when you're there you have to have the perfect hair, the perfect make-up, the mason jars, the bedazzled bridesmaids Juciy hoodies. And don't get me started on the engagement photo trend.

This may make me seem like I'm anti-marriage or anti-wedding. I'm totally not. I've rocked a bridesmaid's dress and had a ton of fun and I'm up for a good horah at any Jewish wedding. But I think that the modern wedding industry is selling an idea and fantasy, like your wedding is some kind of reward for being the best woman. These little cutesy "I'm a Mrs.!" cards make marriage almost like a game or a contest, something to validate your femininity and success as a female.

What this stuff doesn't recognize or put any weight on is that relationships and marriages are work. There isn't a happy ending after your white dress where you two float off into the sunset. Sometimes I think this sort of expectation is what distracts young couples from focusing on their actual issues and ultimately ends their marriages in expensive divorces.

The "I'm a Mrs.!" card also reinforces the idea that a woman's primary role is in relation to a man. Getting married is certainly a milestone to be celebrated, but it is not an achievement. Your achievements lie in getting a degree, starting a business, raising well-adjusted children, making it to your 50th wedding anniversary, knowing when to walk away, etc. Marriage is just simply a thing that happens in your life, not a woman's end goal. Not to mention that this company is negating the idea that there are now tons of gay couples who are legally getting married and will need similar services, but not all of them are now "A MRS. OMFG!"

And ultimately, the card carrying "I'm a Mrs.!" card gives you a FastPass to the front of the Smug Married line. Especially if you ever earnestly whip it out to show your friends.

Sure, use the service. But cut that dreadful card up. 

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  1. Love your blog! I totally get what you're saying. Biases against women are strong here in the southern U.S.

    1. Thank you Allison. Yeah it's awful, isn't it? Where are you from? I was born in Georgia and my mom's family all lives that way.

  • Great post here! Such a great message!
    Thanks for the lovely comment! I am super happy!

  • Here here! My husband and I went to Vegas and got married alone just to avoid all that sort of thing. Why did we get married? Mainly for insurance reasons lol. We love each other and knew we'd be together forever. It was nice to declare that ceremoniously, but the whole wedding thing has gone so commercial these days, much like all our holidays, that we (or at least I) were sort of turned off by it.
    The wedding industry is big business and women buy it hook, line, and sinker. They compare and contrast and try to out-do one another. It sort of becomes who you are for the two or so years that the engagement lasts. And yeah there's the engagement photos, the engagement parties, the showers, the bachelorettes, it just goes on and on and on. Then you have kids shortly after and that is your whole existence. Then your kids grow up and you realize you do not even know who you are anymore outside of "wife" and "mom." Thus the life cycle of the typical woman...
    Sorry I'm jaded!

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