Andare, Partire, Tornare

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Anarchist Femminist weddings!

One of the books we’re using for the wedding exhibit is this hysterical relic of 1973. It manages to have some interesting ideas, but the whole package is so dated and touchy-feely that it also makes you want to laugh - it’s stuffed full of every seventies cliche you could ask for. The book is called The New Wedding: Creating Your Own Marriage Ceremony. The book cover is in a lovely mustard yellow, with the text in cream and brown, and the photo fo the frolicing couple in the field is, of course, in the ultra-grainy style that seemed to be favoured by every touchy-feely book that contained anything emotional, from bad poetry all the way up to The Joy of Sex.

My favorite ceremony in the book, hidden among outwardly mundane ones called things like “Companions for Life” and “Spiritual Freedom,” is “An Anarchist-Feminist Wedding.”

Bride: We love each other, but we do not want to get married except for reasons of prudence. We do not want to get married because we do not regard the state as having the authority to regulate and define our relationship to each other. … Our feelings about human love and state authority are well expressed by the nineteenth-century anarchist Michael Bakunin: (she goes on to read a passage talking about abolishing civil and juridical marriage.)

The groom goes on to reject the authority of the state over the couple, the “traditional and legal authority of man over woman,” and to reiterate that the two are getting married only because the state forces them into taking this step out of prudence. Then the couple bind themselves together “through all the varying experiences of [their] lives.”

Some of the other ceremonies are fascinating as well – one of them links the couple only “so long as we both shall love.”

It’s interesting comparing this book with the Martha Stewart Weddings one, which is going to be an exhibit prop, and the charming little 1950’s era book “How to Plan And Enjoy Your Wedding, plus all the souvenir books from Queen Victoria, Mary of Teck, and Elizabeth II, not to mention the dress patterns ripping off Princess Di’s dress that appeared mere seconds after she walked down the aisle.

2:38 p.m. - 2004-02-12

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