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Wedding Bell Blues

May
2
2005

How come all the people talking so earnestly about Jennifer Wilbanks – her emotional state, her future plans, her decision to flea not just her gigantico wedding but the very town in which it was to be held – are men?
Early last week, Wilbanks was just a woman with big – really big – wedding plans to marry. Today, of course, she’s the “runaway bride” who was going to get married to John Mason in Duluth, Ga. before 600 invited guests with 14 attendents. That’s until she went running and kept going until, well until she ended up in Albuquerque, New Mexico with no money and a bad haircut.
If you believe the news reports, the good people of Duluth, Ga., are angry. Someone got the bright idea to press charges against this woman for making a false police report and her husband-to-be has gone on Fox News to say he still wants to get married. A member of her family told the press she had some issues to work out. Her father-in-law to be said the wedding wasn’t off, it was just postponed. But no one’s really heard from the bride or her family. Which makes you wonder: Who exactly was – or is – getting married?.
A few days ago I got a nasty-gram that might help us – indirectly – address this very point. “Feminism, like Marxism (from which it arises) is simply wrong and evil,” my correspondent said. “You are failing (and feminist webloggers are failing) because you are wrong and your ideas are evil. You are lost in the dead Marxist past.”


Well, I dunno about the “dead” part. It seems to me that one of the critiques that feminism and Marxism would encourage in this Jennifer Wilbanks situation is the very one created by the enormous feminine silence around this issue. What’s with this rush to demonstrate economic success and social status with a wedding so lavish that its main participant decides to go on the lam? Is this perhaps a return to the very thing feminists abhor: treating women as chattel? Now, it’s dressed up chattel to be sure and no one’s saying that Wilbanks wasn’t able to make decisions or speak for herself. She should have. But she chose a very dramatic way to make her point — look, girls from Duluth, Ga. don’t take Greyhound — and you can’t help but wonder if perhaps no one was listening to her. Which would make the feminists nod their heads. Of course no one was listening. Who listens to women?
Well, sisters, we’ve been down this road. And recently, too, when a whole lot of men were real, real surprised to find out there were a whole lot of pissed off women writing on the web.
At its core, the marriage ceremony involves the transfer of responsibility for a woman’s economic and material health from her father to her husband. We dress it up on all kinds of ways these days. But its symbolism – “Do you take this woman?” — is at the heart of the matter for many people; it’s why the idea of two equal partners of the same sex is so disturbing to many people.
Which is why feminism and Marxism comes in handy: What exactly was going to be celebrated when Jennifer Wilbanks got married? Her family’s wealth and social position? The improvement in her status? In her husband’s status? Or the affection these two people have for one another? And if that last one really was – and still is – the main purpose of the wedding why is it that her husband and her husband’s father – the very folks who get the “party” end of the wedding without a lot of the expense or the work – are still so adamant about that celebration taking place?
I don’t think you have to be a Marxist or a femininist – just someone with a little bit of common sense and maybe a set of working hearing aids – to suss this one out. Jennifer Wilbanks may want to get married but I don’t think she wants to marry John Mason.
SIDENOTE: At least one other person thinks this whole thing isn’t just silly, it’s a sad comment on the difference between how we look at the lives of black and white women. More food for you Marxist feminists – and others – to think about.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 1:55 PM | Permalink

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