I succumbed and created a Pinterest account. The only people I knew who had Pinterest accounts were baking and knitting enthusiasts, so for quite some time I had written it off as being a housewife website. Finally, one day, a friend of mine showed me her Pinterest homepage, all filled with beautiful shoes and clothes that did me in. I created boards for fashion that I like, quotes that inspire me, and photos of faraway lands that I would like to travel to- never minding the fact that I was just helping corporations with some free advertisement by “re-pinning” photos of their products… Anyhow, the one board that I have steered clear of creating for myself is the wedding board, which is probably the most popular category of boards on Pinterest.
Yes, that’s right- millions of girls create virtual bulletin boards on which to plan out their future (heterosexual) wedding, even if they are not engaged. Even if they are not even in a relationship. Even if they are twenty-one years old and not in a relationship and not getting married anytime soon. Even in these conditions, girls devote hours to planning out one day of their life that, who knows, might not happen until ten years from now. This absurd phenomenon represents the greater sociological issue of Why Are Girls so Obsessed with Getting Married?
When first pondering this, my initial conclusion was that girls are stupid, desperate, and insecure. They cannot be happy without guys in their lives, and even so, just having a boyfriend is not good enough. They put arbitrary timelines onto their lives and relationships, i.e., “I want to be married by the time I’m twenty-seven,” and, “We’ve been dating for 365 days- why hasn’t he proposed yet?” They spend countless hours looking at wedding dresses, diamond rings, floral arrangements, bridesmaids dresses, invitations, lighting arrangements, blah blah blah blah blah. Into what other single day in one’s life does one put that much time, effort, and tens of thousands of dollars? Would someone ever throw that elaborate of a party for oneself to celebrate, oh I don’t know, graduating from college or landing a dream job? And would one plan it out years in advance?
Would a heterosexual guy ever create a wedding board on Pinterest?
No, because his wedding day is not the most important day of his life.
However, while pondering all of this, I began to remember that so many girls are not insecure and obsessed with marriage because they are stupid- it is because we have been taught to be this way since birth.
One of my earliest memories was of watching my favorite childhood movie: Cinderella. This classic tale tells the story of a poor girl who is saved from her shitty life as her stepfamily’s maid by the grace of a handsome, wealthy prince. So goes the tale of basically every Disney movie, drilling the message into girls’ heads that the only path to happiness and financial stability is through a guy. The movie The Beauty and the Beast goes so far as to tell girls to stay with a guy who is violent, temperamental, and controlling; who is, well, a beast. Alas, the message is conveyed that underneath that beastly, scary person is a nice, handsome guy- and that the girl just has to help him reveal his true self by kissing him.
We play with baby dolls to prep us for motherhood. We play with Barbies who are our role models for pretty- who has a hot boyfriend, and whose real-life measurements would force her to walk on all fours and not have enough space in her waist for all of her organs. We are told to lie awake at night envisioning our perfect wedding.
As we grow older, we continue to be told to lie awake at night envisioning our perfect wedding. The movies geared toward us become romantic comedies- adult Cinderella stories in which the female protagonist finally finds happiness through marriage. We read magazines solely devoted to how to keep a guy and why you should be concerned that he hasn’t proposed yet- oh and also how to lose weight. Our families start asking us why we are not married yet. Girls loathe other girls who post photos of their engagement rings on Facebook. We support the entire makeup industry, wherein we paint our faces to look like different faces because ours are not pretty enough naturally. We walk on stilts and wear shiny jewelry so that guys will look towards us in all of our flashy distraction.
A single guy with no makeup on is okay. A single girl with no makeup on is sad.
Now, I do not think that marriage is an inherently bad thing. I think what is bad is how much emphasis our society puts on weddings, in particular for females. Instead of marriage being about the relationship, it becomes about a ceremony, a party, a dress, a diamond. A girl is with her boyfriend not for the sake of being with her boyfriend, but because come X amount of time he will propose.
Why do girls care so much about this damn ceremony? Because she has been told throughout her life that her wedding day is the most important day of her life.
Why is her wedding day the most important day of her life? Because she has been repeatedly told that she is incapable of being a confident, happy, and worthwhile person without a husband.