Friday, December 21, 2007

Georgie Boy At His Finest

Here at Feministing is an interesting post about George Bush's latest sexist remark, this time in regards to his daughter Jenna.

When talking to People magazine about Jenna's recent engagement, he had this little gem to give out (of course, not to be confused with a diamond hymen, although I'm sure Bush assumes he's giving one of those away as well):

Q: Tell us about your future son-in-law, Henry Hager. Did he do right and ask for Jenna’s hand?

The President: “He kind of sidled up to me and said, ‘Can I come and see you?’ We were sitting outside the presidential cabin here, and he professed his love for Jenna and said, would I mind if he married her? And I said, ‘Got a deal.’ [Laughter] And I’m of the school, once you make the sale, move on. But he had some other points he wanted [to make]. He wanted to talk about how he would be financially responsible.”

I have a couple of problems with this. First of all, what the hell is up with People magazine pimping sexist marital practices? Let's just get this straight: Asking for your girlfriend's hand in marriage is NOT romantic. It is sexist, it disempowers and dehumanizes her, and s a throwback to the days of marriage as a property exchange. All of those things are gross. Ergo, asking for Jenna's hand was not the "right" thing to do by any means.

But Bush's response, while not surprising, was just dripping with the women-as-chattel attitude that he has in most of his dealing with the second sex. Haha, sale of women! Bwahahaha, women as property! Oh man, that's a knee-slapper, Mr. President, and so very original.

It's shit like this that makes me not want to get married - EVER. I'm currently in a committed relationship, and I know that if my boyfriend ever pulled anything like asking for my hand in marriage, the answer from my mom and dad would be "no" (and simply because he asked them, they certainly know me enough to know that I don't go for that shit), and if not, I'd certainly make it clear to him. And even engagement rings are sexist to me. It perpetuates the high-priced whore stereotype. Give women shiny things in exchange for sexual relationships. Not only that, but I don't think I'd ever want a diamond-encrusted leash, either. It's absolutely patriarchy approved, and I can't endorse anything that the patriarchy endorses.

In fact, I think most marriage practices are ridiculous. I'm not even going to touch marriage consumerism and how that feeds into economic oppression, especially of the sexist variety. But the whole "giving away" thing is, once again, a throwback to marriage as property exchange laws. Might as well just add the "and obey" back into the vows. Also, the veil is not something that should be in practice. Why do women have to be faceless and identity-less until their man reveals their face? Is it that their identity is only derived from interaction with a superior male? I believe so! Well, that's the intent within the social context, anyway.

Also, if I were going to get married, I wouldn't want to be "surprised" with a proposal. I think it would be much better if the decision to get married were made by both of us, together and talking about what would be best for our futures, and if we want to be legally bonded or not. The whole thing of the "surprise" looks to be inequal to me. The man is once again the dynamic figure, making the decisions, and the woman basically just goes along with it or does the unthinkable and refuses. I don't understand why a couple just can't come to the decision together.

Yeah. That's my rant on marriage politics. I haven't had a good rant on here in a while, and I've been thinking about sexism in personal relationships, and how it shows up in small doses, for a while. All it takes is one more sexist-haha from Bush and I'm off on a tangent.

P.S. This is nice and ironic:

Q: Would you like to have a White House wedding?

Mrs. Bush: “Of course, a White House wedding would be a lot of fun. But I also know it wouldn’t be very private. And of course we want to do what Jenna wants to do.

Emphasis mine.


Belinda said...

I like diamonds and jewelery but yeah they are tainted as you said.

The Feminist Bride says you can reclaim things like the jewelery the veil and the "virginal" white wedding dress - i hope that's the case cause it's very important to do so.

Megan said...

I dunno. I don't think I buy it. Are we going to reclaim and embrace the "love and obey" line, too? Not all sexist traditions are salvageable.

FEMily! said...

I think people, particularly women and their families, get really caught up in the traditions of weddings. I wouldn't be surprised if the stresses of a traditional wedding might start the marriage off on the wrong foot. Like if a casual ceremony (or no ceremony at all) with no expensive engagement rings or anything like that might be less stressful on the couple.