6 Marriage Traditions That Reinforce Rape Culture

01/mar/2016 10:49:13 stylecaster Contatta l'autore

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Rape culture is a ubiquitous part of our society, from the language we use to the way we expect people to dress. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a number of marriage traditions enforce rape culture. Marriage, after all, is a patriarchal institution originally created for political purposes, including the transferal of ownership of a woman from her father to her husband. Only in the '70s could a married woman even get a credit card in her own name, and it was also not acceptable until recently for women to retain their own names after marriage. Since its creation, marriage has become more of a symbolic act to express commitment and less of a way for a woman to become her husband's property, but vestiges of misogyny still remain within the institution.

At the same time, I'm not condemning people who choose to practice marriage traditions. The problem is not with the traditions themselves but with the reasons behind them, and an individual's reasons may be different from the reasons the practices exist in the first place. If you are aware of the problematic sources of certain traditions but still want to practice them because they fit your needs, you shouldn't be judged for it — especially if it's your wedding. You should be able to do whatever you want on your wedding day.

Souce: plus size wedding dress

That said, here are some traditions whose underlying ideologies can perpetuate rape culture.

1. Men Asking Women To Marry Them

It has long been expected that men propose to women, not the other way around — with the exception of today, actually, because "leap day" is the one day a year when women are allowed to propose to men. This expectation is just part of a set of expectations that men make the first move when it comes to sex and romance. The stereotype that men try to get women to date them or marry them or sleep with them and then women respond can be problematic, not just because it discourages women from going after what they want, but also because it encourages men to pursue what they want at a woman's expense. Men often feel as if it is their job to make the first move even if they're not sure if a woman wants it — and that if she says "no," she's just saying it because it's unladylike to pursue someone. By putting what men pursue over what women want, this dynamic perpetuates rape culture.

2. Women Wearing White Dresses

A white dress is supposed to symbolize "purity" aka virginity — because a woman who has not had sex is deemed "purer" than one who has, and therefore more valuable or desirable. This association between a woman's character and her sexual experience contributes to rape culture by objectifying women and by portraying those who are more sexually experienced as "unrapeable" — that is, if someone rapes an "unrapeable" woman, it excuses the rapist because it "didn't count."

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Under the philosophy that a woman's virginity makes her more respectable, it is wrong to rape a woman not because she should have autonomy over her body but because it is necessary to protect her integrity — and when a woman has more sexual experience, there is no integrity to protect.

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