(queer) marriage & feminism

brown grrrl here.

i have ideological struggles with marriage.  it’s a patriarchal institution that now fuels capitalist enterprise.  ours isn’t going to be any different – it’s going to have at least 300 people, it’ll be at a fancyish place, i want a wedding planner and i’m particular about how all of it is going to look.

despite being a radical feminist, i’ve pretty much always wanted to get married.  sometimes, the agents of socialization are just stronger than the agents of justice.  i’d love to not want this, but there’s this nagging thought in the back of my head that i’m supposed to marry to be happy.  i did start transforming this kind of thinking a couple of years ago, but that was before i met trans boy.  i fell in love and i wanted to celebrate that love in the way i’ve been taught that love is meant to be celebrated.

yet, more than simple socialization and dreaming of my wedding since i was a child, i want to please my mother.  i didn’t fully realize how important my wedding is to my mother until i was in india this past winter for my cousin’s.  i could see the longing in her eyes when my cousin’s mother was adorned with jewellery and clothes and showered with love and blessings from her family.  i know she was thinking, “when’s it going to be my turn?”

how can i be an activist who cares about family and community while simultaneously ignoring the needs of the person who matters most to me – my mother?  and yet, how can be a feminist while supporting the marriage industrial complex?

i don’t believe that you can modify oppressive institutions to make them more just, particularly when the very basis of those institutions is oppression.  i’m not kidding myself here: i don’t think the fact that trans boy is trans makes this a radical wedding.

at the same time, i don’t think refusing marriage would make a radical statement, either.  i’ve always wanted to scream at white liberal feminists who have criticized my desire for marriage: don’t they get that it’s not just about a wedding?  this is about family.  me not getting married not only reflects on who i am, but in my culture, reflects on who my mother is.  if i simply shacked up with my partner, my mother would be devastated.  people in our community would look upon her as a failure.  her role as a woman, as she sees it, would be incomplete.  how can i be a radical feminist who believes in collectivism if i ignore the needs of the person who made me who i am?  i can’t.  i just can’t do that to her.

so where does this leave us?  where does this leave marriage within the context of a feminist wanting to maintain her indian identity?

i don’t know.  i don’t even know how trans man’s identity plays into this, especially since most of my family won’t know that he’s trans.  and i can’t help but feel just a little dirty over how fucking excited i am to marry him.


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