Can You Really Have a Feminist Wedding?

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S1: This is the waves.

S2: This is the wave is the wave. This is the way. This is the way. This is the waves.

S3: Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

S2: Welcome to the Wave Slate’s podcast about gender, feminism and this week, getting married. Every episode, you get a new pair of feminists to talk about the thing. We can’t get off our emails, and today you’ve got me Susan Matthews. I’m Slate’s news director and also the editorial director of this podcast.

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S1: Annie, I’m Susan’s old colleague, Andrea Silenzi. I founded Slate’s first daily news podcast and I used Host, a popular relationships podcast called Y-o-Y.

S2: This week we’re going to talk about weddings. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the weirdness of wedding, of the sexist nature of some of the traditions associated with weddings and how we can deal with all of that and still try to have a fun time. I am particularly invested in talking about this right now because about a month ago, after we’d been dating for five years, my boyfriend and I got engaged. And really, the story is that I asked him to marry me. I love our engagement story, and I’m going to talk about it a little bit more after the break. But as we start to dive into the particulars of planning a wedding, I have been thinking a lot more about what it means to be a bride and what it means to get married. I’m not one of those women who have been waiting for her wedding her entire life. I can honestly say that I’m pretty agnostic and skeptical about the whole thing, but also I have recently had the immense pleasure of going to Four Weddings in somewhat rapid succession. It was like four in seven weeks or something crazy like that. Many of them were postponed because of the pandemic. And I can honestly say that they have all made me really excited about the idea of doing this myself. Andrea Why did you want to talk about this?

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S1: OK? Well, first of all, congratulations. Being really engaged is really the most special time, so I want you to enjoy it because everything that comes after this like deep wedding planning and I don’t know, maybe you’re going to find yourself having a meltdown over the little cow stamps you need for your place cards or buying $200 worth of human hair or driving up to Beachwood Canyon? Because someone named Zoya can apparently make your bustle look like a normal bustle. Again, you know, just random example. OK, this is really fresh for me. Can you tell?

S2: Yeah, I’m really interested to hear a little bit more about the puzzles story and how you were possibly on a voyage to get a normal bustle like Midway adding to that Harvard Med wedding.

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S1: It was like two weeks before I just thought, You just go to the Alt. Store and you say, I want to bustle. But no, you’re supposed to read the Brides dot com article about different types of puzzles, and apparently I needed an American three point bustle. There’s also a French puzzle. I don’t know. The puzzle she gave me look like I was pooping out my dress. That’s just like a pin straight to the bat hole, and it was sagging. I don’t know.

S2: I needed to be fixed. It sounded like it needed to be fixed, but you fixed it.

S1: I didn’t plan to have a bride moment and then I did. But you know, all of that that whole time, I felt like I was obsessing over things that I didn’t want to be obsessing over and things that went against my actual passions in life, things I would love to devote myself more to community service activism reading books. But the end product was this once in a lifetime event that filled me with all the lovely fields that I know I’m going to need for everything that’s ahead and heterosexual marriage. So no regrets, but so much to discuss.

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S2: I am so excited to be able to hear a little bit more about your experience before ironbark on my own, because just this past weekend, I was looking at venues for the very first time and I was like, Oh my goodness, there are going to be so many decisions that I am going to have to make, and I just really don’t even know how to approach it. So we’re going to take a short break here, but when we get back, we’re going to dive into the fuller version of each of our personal stories and then we’re going to start to unpack how to navigate the intense world of what it means to be a bride. Thank you so much for listening. If you’re loving the show and want to hear more or subscribe to our feed. New episodes come out every Thursday morning while you’re there. Check out our other episodes too. Like last week’s Where Slate’s Alicia Montgomery and Jane Arraf talked about Monica Lewinsky and the new Ryan Murphy American Crime Story Impeachment. Welcome back to the waves. OK, so Andrea, before I even got engaged myself, I wanted to do this episode and I wanted to do it with you because I wanted to talk to you about your wedding. I’m not going to lie. I saw photos on Twitter and was immediately like, Oh my god, Andrea got married. But then also was like, Oh my God, those flowers I like it need to remember that exact color scheme. They’re so amazing. So for listeners who may not remember, Andrea is my former Slate colleague. She made a podcast a few years ago called Y-o-Y all about what it was like to be a woman dating on the internet. It was such a great show. It totally holds up. I was listening to old episodes this weekend and you should totally go back and listen to it. But it also loosely followed a lot of Andrea’s own life as a single woman looking for a partner, so I could not resist bringing her on to the show to ask a little bit more about what has happened since the end of that show. And now so Andrea, can you tell me a little bit more about why you ended the show and why you thought that that was so important?

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S1: I really ended the show just for an opportunity. I was asked to host a popular parenting podcast called The Longest Shortest Time as a chance to work with a friend and mentor Hilary Frank, and kind of explore my own journey towards becoming a parent because I want to say I was pretty close to giving up on dating. I was like, Oh, OK, I think I have to shift priorities here and start contemplating, you know, maybe going at this alone. And I ended my time hosting that show with a series called The Single Ladies Guide to Sperm Shopping, where I actually went to the sperm bank. I downloaded apps for finding sperm. I could see a lot of advantages towards becoming a parent since dating hadn’t worked and doing it on my own. The idea that you would never have a fight with someone in front of a kid, the idea that you would get to make all of the decisions. I was even lightly thinking about marrying myself in the trap of marrying her.

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S2: Is there really a trend? Is it a party? Yes. And you do. You do a registry. You can register for shoes.

S1: Yeah. I wanted the lectures that I gather. I give and then I buy it now. All right, just marry myself. It also meant that I sat down with my friends and family, and my brother kind of said to me, I don’t think you’ve really tried it dating. So there’s a way that you could like over intellectualize the process, read books about it, report on it. But have you really ever really gone in there and done it seriously? And the truth is no, because there’s a lot of trauma associated with dating, a lot of negative experiences. It felt like a horrible way to be spending my time. But I said, You know, this is it. I’m going to line up a date. I left that job was ready to take dating seriously. My first date was with this lovely guy named dad.

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S2: He was the first date in that moment.

S1: And it almost didn’t happen because he was out for lunch with his close friend and she said, Oh, she, her name is Andrea. She’s a podcaster typed into Google. And the first result was, I’m looking for sperm on a dating app. Oh my god. Oh no, she’s using you for her, your sperm. So he quickly listened to the sperm series, realized I wasn’t pregnant, that I decided to go back to dating, and he was like, Oh, just really smart and funny. I go on a date with her.

S2: That’s amazing. And then everything else is history.

S1: Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, like obviously relationships are work or whatever. But no, it just felt like we were. The love was like really intense and strong, and there’s just been no choice. So this is the two year anniversary of the week we met.

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S2: So do you want to tell me a little bit about your engagement story or are you are you talked out about your engagement story because that’s something that I want to talk to you about, too.

S1: I think with modern relationships these days, that isn’t always completely like he asked you or you asked him. I always think that there should be a lot of conversations before that. So Dan and I had consciously been talking about what it would mean to get married. What a ring would mean to me, what that ring could possibly look like. Do we think of marriage as a forever thing? Like, we really had to have all these difficult conversations and we made a lot of time to do it? And then eventually that led up to this feeling of like the bow and arrows been drawn and like at any moment, it’s going to fly. And that’s a really fun time to live in. So I saw in dance Amazon search history that he had recently looked up fake engagement ring prop engagement ring. So I was concerned and I had to come up with a way to bring him back. So I decided to buy a fake tattoo of his face and I ordered three of them. And on the day he proposed, he’d been acting strange and I was like, It’s time to deploy the fake tattoo. So I stuck the fake tattoo under my armpit because we were going to the beach and I didn’t want him to see it. So we are on our way to the beach. He pulls over in front of the most romantic place. I can think of the Valvoline oil change where we had our first kiss. And he kind of pulled off my mask, and that’s when I knew that he was getting ready to propose it. It’s been kind of dangling from my ear and he just like twisted off my ear and. He had like an elaborate setup involving like a balloon ring, and then he popped it and there was another ring, and then there’s another ring. And then I said, Wait Dan, before I say yes, I have to tell you something. I got a tattoo of your face and I pulled down my shirt to show him, and he his face was just like, How do I ever do this?

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S2: That’s so elaborate. Andrea I,

S1: I felt I just I knew that I could catch him in such a moment of emotional vulnerability. He would believe whatever I said at that moment. So we just like, we laughed. We like, called everyone we’ve ever known.

S2: We love each.

S1: It was just like the most special day of my life. But I want to hear about yours when

S2: you were first talking about like when you’re kind of in adult in the modern world and you’re talking about marriage, you’re not really expecting a proposal to be like when you make the decision about marriage, like the proposal is the fun part. You have those conversations together. But what I’m so delighted by is that you still really had a hilarious story and a great exchange that was not necessarily about marriage, but definitely about your relationship that I really, really love that. So I wanted to talk about this because my story I feel like, isn’t that elaborate? We had been talking. We’ve been dating for five years. I had moved to a different city with him when he was in law school. He moved back to New York with me, like for me, basically. And so we kind of had the long term commitment conversations, and we knew that we were in it and we had started talking about marriage. And the thing that I said all the time was, I actually don’t want a ring. I don’t wear. Jewelry is the most simple way to explain why I didn’t want to wear a ring, but I also don’t really actually buy into the things that engagement rings represent. And so I had said that a lot like to the point that his parents had brought like a family heirloom to our house one time when they were visiting, and he had been like, This is lovely. But Susan really says that she doesn’t want to ring and I believe her. But then it got to the point where he was like, OK, I really believe you. But are you sure that you won’t be secretly disappointed if I propose and I don’t have a ring? So we had a conversation multiple times that basically ended in him saying, Well, if this is how you really feel, then you should just propose to me. And I started to think about it a lot when I was at these weddings this summer. Like I said, like they were all really weddings that represented the couples that were getting married. And it was just one of those experiences where I really felt like, OK, I can see myself doing this like I can see myself crafting an event that is representative enough of the two of us. That, like it doesn’t make me feel kind of like squee wedding on the inside. So I started to come around on that. Yeah, I really had a moment where I realized, Oh, I am really ready. And then there was like kind of a plan that came into place that was really natural. We first decided to start dating when we were in New York City, which is kind of my place. It was the day after his birthday, actually, and we were heading to New Hampshire, which is kind of his place, but also a little bit our place for my birthday. And so I just kind of decided I’m ready and I’m going to do it. And I didn’t really plan anything elaborate. I just had a little speech and I didn’t get down on one knee or anything like that. There were no masks to take off. We were in our pajamas and I just gave my speech in like a couple sentences for the end. He definitely realized what was happening and just started crying and like, he’s a crier. But then we definitely had the same experience of like, we call everyone that we know and we tell the story. And so I started realizing really early on that because I didn’t have a ring to show and because like I had proposed to him, like, I even think that the version of the story that I just told you feels very much like explaining and justifying version of the story a little bit more that I’m comfortable with. And one of the things that I noticed really early on is that if you’re going to come for like deep seated engagement tradition, like an engagement ring. The problem is is that when you describe it to anyone, half the people that you’re going to be talking about, that you are probably wearing an engagement ring themselves. And so you’re like, yeah, engagement rings, they represent the patriarchy. I didn’t need one. And then I started realizing, Wait, that’s making every single person who has an engagement ring feel really uncomfortable. And so then I started trying to figure out how to, like, adjust the story again. And I just started to say the thing about how I don’t wear jewelry, which is it’s true, but I just feel like it’s just such an example of the problem with weddings, where everything is supposed to be the same and adhere to this sort of norm. And that’s just not really the case for me. And yet, like, I just want to be able to make my decision without making other people uncomfortable.

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S1: Wow. So many thoughts. We got engaged during deep pandemic, and I thought that this new ring I was wearing, no one would ever get to see it. You don’t get to, like, go home to mom and be like, Look at the ring. But people noticed it on Zoom Instant.

S2: Oh my God. Yeah.

S1: And that’s on a tiny camera, on a tiny screen like you were looking at my ring finger this entire time. And. All my years of being single longer than I should have been single. In my mind, I remember the sense that I was having a social value placed on me that would have been different if I had secured a commitment of a man by then. I remember honestly thinking about some work meetings where you’re going out with like a really normie boss from the suburbs and just how much safer I would have felt if I had like Jimmy to talk about and a little fake ring on my hand. So I feel like, yeah, I suspected the whole time I was single, I was being judged for not having a ring. And then the moment I had went on, I was being congratulated for it and it turned out I was right. And not only was I congratulated for it, but I was welcomed into the club. You know, women would start telling me their ring stories like this was my grandmother’s, this was his grandmother’s, and it was like I’d entered a circle of adulthood. And I, I deeply resent that. Like, I think we should be telling those stories to women who aren’t wearing rings, and I feel like I should have been treated as just as much. Tell me about your family story, person before I had one, but it was almost like if I wasn’t wearing a ring, then there wasn’t a family heirloom worth discussing.

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S2: Yeah, particularly, I think, for colleagues and things like I know that they’re very excited for me, and that’s lovely. But it also feels like it definitely is true that there’s some sort of internalization of a milestone that feels like it’s just such a societal society wide agreed upon like achievement in a way, and I don’t really think it’s an achievement. It’s more of a decision, but I also have complicated feelings about that because it is, like you said, relationships are are hard work and it is a symbol of that. But being alone is is also hard work, and there aren’t really the same symbols of that, right? So tell me a little bit about the transition for you from deciding that you were going to get married to when you were rethinking bustles. Like, how did how did that process go for you? And how did you start envisioning what it was that you wanted and what you needed and how to bridge that gap between those things?

S1: Yeah, my vision was always at City Hall Wedding in New York City. I imagined I’d still live there. I’d buy a quick white dress that Anthropologie, we’d go out to lunch and I’d be married. That was the plan. And that I went on a hike with Dan and I was like, What’s your vision for a wedding? And he’s like, Well, there’s little disposable cameras on all of the tables. It’s like a banquet hall. I get up on stage and I perform a song about how much I love you. And I’m like, Oh, so you’re describing your bar mitzvah life? Like, there’s a buffet, the whole thing. So we had to find something in between there, and I feel like I could have brought him around to the City Hall vision. But the thing I realized is that because of COVID, we hadn’t gotten the opportunity to be a couple around all of our different corners of our families and friends, and we hadn’t had this opportunity to bring everyone together, like there had never been a dinner where all of our parents were there. And I needed that totally.

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S2: I have come to realize, particularly going into these weddings that have kind of become stacked in like this August and September for me that I always used to be really adamant about the idea that a marriage is about the two people who decide to be married. But I think the thing that has changed a little bit for me in the past six months or so is the idea that a marriage is really it’s a merging of communities. Zach has always said that he he has cared about wedding, that his wedding day for like way longer than than I have, and he pretty early on in our dating was like, OK, so his family has this lake house. And he was like, I really want to get married at the lake. And it’s really important to me to bring a lot of people from all these different parts of my life together. And so he has always structured it that way and said that. And it’s really only been more recently where I’ve come around to the fact that like, oh yeah, it is extremely unique. And I think it feels partly this way because of the past couple of years that we’ve lived through. But it’s extremely unique to get to say, I really want everyone that I love to be in the same place to meet each other and to celebrate and affirm this commitment that I’m making and show like their support for this, this commitment. I think that as much as we can think that the wedding is about the dresses and the ceremony and the all of the fanfare, it’s it’s really about that commitment. And for me, it was listening to the vows that the weddings that I attended the the personal Vows that made me feel like this is something that really matters.

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S1: Yes, but the thing that I mean my hesitation planning a wedding in the first place was I knew no matter what I did, my hair was going to be judged. I knew no matter what I did, how fancy or expensive or well-fitting my dress looked was going to be on display, that people were going to be deciding how much I spent on flowers like it. Just what a wedding is is a series of financial decisions. That sometimes it’s very self expressive, like our choice to have a really badass, progressive rabbi and to do a land acknowledgement, like sometimes it really reflected our values, but everything else, you’re just participating in this game of planning a wedding and like you said, you could try to subvert it. But then everyone’s noticing the way you subverted it, like, Oh, you’re going against my comfort level by not serving steak. I mean, it ended up being a wedding for boomers in so many ways, like we, we want to keep the numbers down. So if you added up all the boomers we had to invite. It was like 80 percent of the wedding and then 10 friends each. I want to say so you’re you kind of have to cater to their comfort and you’re just I just I spent so much of my life just thinking about what would make the Rosensweig and the golds and the buffs like what would make these families happy families I barely knew.

S2: So we’re going to take a break here. But when we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about

S1: how to

S2: subvert expectations, what’s worth it and what’s not in that area. And we’ll be back in just a minute. But if you like what you’re hearing and you’re enjoying the waves, we would love it. If you would like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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S1: And if you want to hear more from Susan and myself on another topic, you can check out our Waves Plus segment. Is this feminist where today we are debating whether the New York Times Vows column is feminist Susan? I are going to disagree on this one. You won’t want to miss it.

S2: And we are back in this segment, we’re going to talk about some of the stuff that traditionally happens at weddings and whether it should stay or go. So Andrea, I kind of have a list of things. The first one that I want to talk about is the thing that I think I don’t even know if I’ve ever been to a wedding that has this. It is that garter toss and the bouquet toss. Did you do that and have you been to a wedding that has that OK?

S1: I did the bouquet toss, but mostly because I’ve been single for so long and I felt like I was the one part of a wedding that’s like, This is

S2: pretty perfect for you. Yeah, I

S1: agree. Garter toss is disgusting. I get like they want him to go under her skirt and take it off with his teeth.

S2: And oh, and then put it on the woman who wins the bouquet toss. Right? Like, I think that actually, now that you say that, I’ve definitely seen bouquet tosses, but I haven’t seen the garter toss, but I have a very distinct memory of in my parents’ wedding album. There’s a photo of a man putting a garter on a woman’s leg. And I just remember looking at it and finally being like, Mom, what is happening here? And her explaining it and being like, white, OK, yeah.

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S1: And like, I don’t have a perfect wedding, and every decision I made, I’m sure, could have been examined more like at a certain point, you just give up. But with the bouquet tossed, this is my win. As we had the deejay say, OK, now anyone who isn’t married, we want man women and gender non-conforming individuals like head out to the like. We like, threw in that little plug that would make Republican family members and go, What did they say?

S2: I was just going to ask if you tossed the bouquet only to women or have you tossed it to a mix? And I am not surprised by that answer, but it brings me to my next question, which is wedding parties generally and the tendency to have a gendered split. So I think that this is very common. But I was just at my brother’s wedding, and one of the things that I thought was really amazing about it is that he has two sisters and she has two brothers. And so we were both included in the wedding party just on each side. So my brother’s wedding party was three men and my sister and I and my sister in law’s wedding party was her brothers and three women. And it just felt like, Oh, duh, like, of course, this is how it should be. It should just be whoever is close to these people and their gender doesn’t matter. And it ended up, you know, looking really fantastic because it was even in all these ways. But that was something that when I think about it for my own wedding and who I want to be in my wedding party, and I don’t think that I’m going to have traditional bridesmaids, but I want to have like the group of people who gets ready with me and walks down the aisle with me and maybe sits down instead of stand in the front. But they’re definitely all women.

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S1: I just didn’t like the idea of also making people work for me. I just felt like I could handle these logistics. And the wedding party came with so many other logistics I didn’t want to add to the list, like picking their outfit. You won’t believe how many people ask you if what they’re wearing is right if their hair is right. What do you think of their hair? And it’s like, I’m not here to tell you how to wear your hair. So I, yeah, we didn’t do the wedding parties, but I did have a maid of honor and he had a best man, which is just essential because someone needs to hold your cell phone that day. The thing about the wedding parties is I can’t look away from the articles about brides who ask their bridesmaids to fill out contracts like contracts agreeing not to be pregnant for their wedding day. I ended up joining a lot of like bridal Facebook groups because some of the best items being resold. Wisdom vendor recommendations started coming through those groups, like if wherever you live, if you’re planning a wedding, find your local something borrowed, something blue group. It was just like saved my life. But the number of times there’s a meltdown in the relationship because of the stress placed on the wedding is actually fascinating to me because I feel like we don’t put our relationships through these, our friendships through these kinds of tests often and especially coming out of COVID. I think we emerged as new people in some ways, and if your close friend didn’t emerge as the same person as you, you might. Not make it to the wedding day together. Yeah.

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S2: The next one that I want to talk about and I know that you have thoughts on this is the wedding dress and the concept of wearing white and the expectation that that’s kind of the biggest showpiece of the entire event. So Andrea, did you feel that kind of pressure

S1: from the moment we got engaged? I can’t tell you how many times someone said, you’re going to be a beautiful bride, as if that was all I cared about. Like, I just wanted to hear, you’re going to plan an event that won’t have any major hiccups. I think I wanted to hear. But the beautiful bride pressure was real because I found, like every part of my body, every day I was thinking, Where am I, Neal is going to be at by my wedding day? Where’s my skin going to be at by my wedding day? Like, will I finally figure out how to set up straight by my wedding day? Like, you feel so much pressure to be at peak beauty? And that definitely plays into the dress in so many different ways. And the stores that are selling you dresses know that that’s going on with you for sure. And you want to hear nothing more than, oh, you found the one. You know you’ve been searching. You thought this was the one, but you weren’t sure you thought this was the one. But then you’re like, No, it’s not this one. This is the one. And they really want you to feel a spark. But like the parallels to dating, it were shocking because it’s like you can’t sit down and make an investment like that on a garment unless you believe it’s love. It makes you look better than you’ve ever looked. This is the garment where I will be celebrated by my community.

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S2: Mm hmm. No, totally. So I think that I want to wear a romper. The real problem is is that I have a really clear vision in my head of what I want it to be. And now I need to go out into the world and see if it exists. But I want to wear pants like a jumpsuit, and I’ve told my fiancé that and he’s been like, Yeah, that’s great. And then recently, he started saying that he, his family is very Scottish. And he was like, Well, maybe I’ll wear a kilt because then like, you’ll be wearing the pants and I’ll wear a dress like a skirt and like, Won’t that be funny? And then I feel like if we do that, that will just be another thing. We’re like the only thing that people say about our wedding with, like, wasn’t that so funny? Like, that was the one who wear a dress. And I don’t know if I want that to be the main thing of our wedding. So I feel so much angst over that. And just, yeah, it’s such a thing. Where is there any other event in our lives where the clothing choice is so dictated? I have. It’s not even like a friend, it’s just somebody whose wedding I thought on social media because I went to college with her and she wore a red dress for her ceremony, and it was amazing. I was like, Wow, that was such a bold choice. Now, whenever I think about that, I think that was the choice that she was brave enough to make, like how establishing a red dress that feels so silly to me as an actual adult to be like wearing a red dress is a brave choice in any fashion, right?

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S1: But at the end of the day, no one really is going to remember your dress. As much as I can remember how happy you guys look, and that’s what I realized. I thought that the measure of a successful wedding was whether or not I was beautiful, and the actual measure of a successful wedding is how in love we look. And so your your set, he could wear a full ball gown and you could wear, you know, the sharpest suit of your life. And no one will remember that as much as they remember how happy you guys are.

S2: So one of the things that I wanted to bring up just because we had asked listeners for their comments and things that they did to figure out how to have kind of a feminist wedding. And I would say that one of the things that we got a lot of responses from was how they made like the religious elements of a ceremony, how they like. Those are kind of the segments that I feel like are still the most gendered aspects of a lot of weddings. And so a lot of people went through a lot of labor to figure out how to make those more equal. So in a Jewish wedding to each circle one another three times and then to walk a circle together once.

S1: I remember seeing that for the first time at my aunt’s wedding. And like, I didn’t. Yeah, I didn’t grow up religious. I didn’t really know a lot of this, but I remember thinking it was so beautiful that she was just circling him seven times.

S2: And OK, so it’s the bride who circles.

S1: Got it? Yeah. Yeah, you got no. But in a more progressive ceremony now they’ll do like he circles her once she circles him, and then they each give each other a half circle. But the thing about a wedding ceremony is you get to apply whatever meaning you want to any single thing. So the glass breaking at the end could mean the end of marriage and equality. The glass breaking the end could mean the destruction of the temple, or for us, it meant respecting the fragility of marriage. But I was thinking about this a lot that maybe I think a feminist wedding would be circling seven times. This circle is for how much longer you’re going to live. Men live longer when they’re in a marriage like this circle is. The awareness that I will probably do more dishes in this relationship, this third circle is because I have to bear the children like this fourth circle is like we could go down all the ways that I serve him and I’m choosing to sacrifice more in this relationship if we felt that way and come up with our own beautiful ceremony. But I so I feel like you figure out what works for you and you do that.

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S2: Yeah, I totally love that idea. And I think that that really relates to one of the last listener comments that I wanted to bring up, which I thought was just a really smart, fun way of looking at this. Mackenzie wrote that she had a bit of a knee jerk reaction to our request for ideas because she feels like I’m a feminist. I’m getting married. Therefore, my wedding is feminist period, and I think that that’s so in the sentiment of what you were just saying, Andrea in the sense that just like you know, in any of these decisions, you can look for the tradition or you can look for the patriarchal meaning of it, or you can define it for yourself and decide that that’s what you’re taking forward into your marriage. And I think that that’s that’s really important and sounds really lovely.

S1: That said, I did have like a deep feminist battle and wedding planning that I been excited to tell you about. So there was a list of recommended ways for my venue, and it’s because they if you just let any DJ willy nilly DJ, they might ruin the whole energy of the event or play music too loud or break the sound system. I don’t know why. And I went down the list and they were all like different companies that had deejays on their roster. So we’d call them one at a time, and all of them had only dudes available on our date. And one of the calls Dan was doing, and he said, You guys have 16 DJs on your website. How come every single one of them’s a guy? You don’t have a single female deejay on staff. And the DJ company told Dan, You know, it’s really because of the bride. Brides are threatened. We had a female deejay. They would feel thrown by having another woman.

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S2: Oh my gosh,

S1: it got the attention that day. So as much as we want to pretend that this industry can cater to our needs, there are sexist ideas that are behind how the very wedding industry is set up. We went to our venue, we said we need to have a female deejay. We went out, we found a feminist DJ company. And then at the end of the day, we hired only female vendors for the wedding and it helped me sleep at night. Honestly, to know that only women were working our wedding.

S2: I love that. I love that idea so much. That’s so smart. Before we head out, we want to give some recommendations, Andrea, what are you loving right now?

S1: I like to recommend a brand new pasta shape. This is from a guy named Dan Pashman. He has a podcast called The Sporkful. And he did a multi-part podcast series where he went out to see if he could invent a better pasta shape. And he did this based on three criteria. Foreseeability how easy it is to get on the fork disability, how much sauce comes along with the pasta. And to think ability like a really good bite, like a medium bite of pasta. And he invented the shape. It’s kind of the Italian word for little waterfalls that kind of look like little waterfalls or like little shrimp, little sea shapes with bridges on the side. And he named it Cascatelli. You know, you kind of have the sense of the end of the podcast series like, Oh, maybe I’ll buy a box from this little company, but ended up kind of being this phenomenon completely sold out. It was in every food blog. I’m on my third round of ordering it. Everyone I know it’s getting it for Christmas this year. It’s just really fun to have, like the experience of a new pasta shape in your mouth. And it was just announced this week that Cascatelli is coming to Trader Joe’s. So this is going to be accessible to everyone soon. So get ready to find your new favorite pasta shape. And I actually think pasta shape invention is could be an exciting new territory for people.

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S2: Totally agree with that. What’s your source of choice that you pair with Cascatelli?

S1: Gosh, I’ve tried everything

S2: and it works for all, all kinds.

S1: Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, you could. Yeah.

S2: So I’ve done it with robots.

S1: Do a meat sauce, a tomato sauce. I my next mission is to try to make a homemade vodka sauce, which I’ve never tried before. It seems creamy and like, I maybe I don’t want to know how much cream is in there, but just Google Cascatelli. There’s so many fun recipes. It’s really fun. If there’s like a pea that could get picked up on the side of it or like a hunk of meat like you could. You want a sauce with something in it.

S2: You really want a shape that can grip peas. I totally agree with that. I always make fettuccine alfredo with peas, with fettuccine, and it just does not. It’s not a good, not a good shape for peas.

S1: It means you’re ending your meal with just like spoons of peas.

S2: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That is very exciting, and I’m going to look for it in Trader Joe’s. My recommendation is actually an album. It’s I don’t even know when it came out. It was definitely earlier this spring or summer. The album is called An Overview on Phenomenal Nature by Cassandra Jenkins, and it’s a pretty short album. But it’s very it just feels to me like a set of songs that feels so perfect to this moment. A lot of it is pretty upbeat and fun, but it really there’s one song called Hard Drive on it, and it has a line where she’s she’s relating a guy thing to her. Have you been seeing your therapist? Are you always this nervous in the song? She sings. And I said, yes. And I just listen to that right now. Like so often just being like, Are you always this nervous? Yes, yes. Just like the theme of my life right now, and it makes me so happy. There’s a beautiful song called Ambiguous Norway on it, which is about her processing. She was supposed to go on tour with David Berman before he passed away earlier this year, and so anybody who’s a fan of David Berman should definitely listen to that. It’s one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve listened to in recent years, I feel like, but it’s surrounded by it, and it’s very sad and very intense, but it’s surrounded by an album that is about life right now and nature, and it really is making me feel good. So I highly recommend that you check it out.

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S1: All right, I’m going to look for an overview of phenomenal nature by Cassandra Jenkins or something like that.

S2: That’s our show this week. The Waves is produced by Jane Arraf

S1: Susan Matthews is our editorial director with June Thomas. Providing oversight and moral support

S2: if you like the show. Be sure to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts, and please consider supporting the show by joining Slate Plus, members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast and bonus content on shows like this one. It’s only $1 for the first month. To learn more, go to Slate.com. Flash the waves plus

S1: we’d also love to hear from you. Email us at The Waves at Slate.com.

S2: The waves will be back next week. Different hosts, different topic. Same time and place. Thank you so much for being a Slate Plus member, and since you’re a member, you get this weekly segment, is this feminist? Every week we debate whether something is feminist. And this week we’re talking about the New York Times Vows column. So I’m going to state my position up front because I know that Andrea is going to try to disagree with me. My position is first that I do not read the Vows column at all regularly. I only read the Vows column when it’s somebody that I know or tangentially know that’s in it, and I usually read it to be like, This is the most ridiculous thing that exists. I say that this is how it is. I think, you know, it’s so much about so-and-so’s parents do this and everybody has 10 graduate degrees and this is their happy life. Aren’t you jealous? Like, it just makes me feel bad to read, and I only read it as like a voyeuristic thing. So I think that on that note, I’m going to let Andrea try to convince me that it’s feminist before I come back and take her down and explain why. I think it’s definitely not OK.

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S1: So I just want to try to make this argument, but I’m open to being wrong. So I personally did not submit to the Vows column. I was reading it over, and when I got to the question that was like, What does your mommy do? What does your daddy do? I just like could not handle. But I do think that if your wedding was so many years in the making and you felt like it was a true expression of yourself and your values, then that labor should be documented in the paper of record. And by documenting that labor in this column, having your beautiful photos in there that could also help you. I started to think like I was like, Maybe this helps with advancements in the workplace. You’re being considered for a job opportunity. They look you up and they say, Oh, look, she had a great wedding. Maybe it would help you buy a home. They would look and say, Oh, she’s a real person, and she loves her partner so much. Maybe we’ll give her the house, you know?

S2: OK, I totally love the idea that the labor that you put into your wedding could actually be used towards something like productive in your life beyond your wedding itself. Obviously, I love that idea, but I also think that it’s so like you’re even saying the labor that she puts into her wedding like that is is one small thing. But the other small thing that I think when I look at this is that it totally reinforces the idea of marriage as accomplishment and like lack of marriage as non accomplishment in a way that I feel like. That’s why I don’t read it all the time, because I don’t need to know what random strangers are getting married just because it doesn’t really feel relevant at all to my life. I think that in general, like the thing that you noticed about it is that it’s kind of an inherently this is overused, but it’s reaffirming all of these capitalist endeavors as being like the things that we find as as markers of value in society, like what your parents do for their jobs and what you do and how successful you’ve been. And I just think that it kind of reaffirms that kind of worldview in a way that is inherently un feminist just from like the broadest view of feminism.

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S1: Well, I have this vague idea that maybe marriage means you would earn more money. Maybe like by getting married, your social value increases because you’re now part of this new social entity and you’re earning potential goes up. But I fact checked myself. It does not. Married men continue to make more money than married women or unmarried men or women. So it helps him, doesn’t help us and start weddings. But the thing is like Vows is trying to be progressive. They have featured people marrying themselves. They featured my friend who told the story of going on a really bad mushroom trip, psychedelic mushrooms and calling her husband, her now husband to say, I can’t believe I haven’t been telling you every day that I love you. And then they decided to get married. Of course, the New York Times had to put a disclaimer in the next paragraph, letting you know about mushroom use and the reason, whatever. So it’s like the tone is old, but it’s trying so hard.

S2: I know it is at times, it’s so trying so hard. And that’s what I kind of love about it is that if if people were to document their own weddings, that would just be kind of horrible. Like, there is something very funny about trying to send like an objective reporter out into like getting the story on the wedding, right? So I do kind of love that, and I do think that it provides plenty of fun content, but I just think that it just reaffirms too many of our ideas about wedding and marriage, as like an essential step for a woman becoming her whole self and like self-actualized in these ways that I think I would rather we do less of that overall.

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S1: The thing is that you could write a bestselling novel. You could go to the Moon. You could do all kinds of things in the rest of your life, and your Vows column might stay the top search result. And I think we have to explore why that is right. And I think it’s because they want to also know not just, you know, all your accomplishments, but also like. What’s in your heart? And I think it’s brave and feminist to make your outward public persona about who you love.

S2: That is the best argument that you wrote so far. I can buy into that one. That one’s very, very convincing. Good job.

S1: You do it on your own terms.

S2: Not about you still have yours. You still have your credentials. Is trying to say OK.

S1: But like Oprah, probably the better expression of that is through your own storytelling.

S2: Not necessarily. First, they have to do it in the New York Times. Like we can agree that that can be a little bit fun. I can get behind it. I still am going to say Vows is not a feminist entity, but I can support you in arguing that

S1: I love you. Imagine their headline for you, kilt and romper unite.

S2: The thing that I haven’t even admitted is that I think we’re going to get married at a boys camp like a summer camp that’s close to the Lake House. So already when you were talking about having all feminist vendors and everything, I was like, Oh, we’ve already failed on that. Like the the room that it’s going to be on has so many plaques of like men’s names like the best diver and swimmer at this camp over, like the last century. Who knows how much I’m going to manage to make my wedding actually representative about about my beliefs, but we can all hope that I do as much as possible.

S1: Feminist podcast host web at Boys Summer Camp.

S2: It’s perfect. That is our Slate Plus segment if there is something you’re dying to know if it is feminist or not. Please send us an email at the Waves at Slate.com and we will try to give you an answer.