WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This is probably going to be a little ranty. If you don’t enjoy ranty articles about gender roles, navigate away from this page now.
I’m in my mid twenties (shading late twenties, I’m in denial) and recently, I’ve noticed a pattern amongst my friends. A dangerous pattern that’s going to wind up costing me (and them) a lot of money.
They’re getting engaged.
At the moment I’m mostly just excited for them and anticipating a few good nights when their weddings eventually come around, but the whole trend has brought up a tradition that quite simply boils my blood. I am of course talking about the tradition of the groom to be asking the bride to be’s father for permission. Since this is the internet, and in order to keep this rant as short as possible, I’m going to present my objections in listicle form:
1. You are your own woman. You pay your own bills, and you make your own decisions. You’re the one who will pay for this wedding if and when it happens. Unless you’re underage, you do not need your father’s permission to get married.
2. Why is it only the bride who needs parental permission to get hitched? I’m assuming this tradition dates back to the days of dowries and women having no financial independence. You know, the good old days when women were traded like livestock. If I’m right then it’s an outdated tradition and its significance has been lost entirely. If it’s a sentimental “blessing”, why don’t men want us to ask their mammies as well? Surely in modern Ireland that’s a far more appropriate situation, given Irish mammies’ famous relationships with their sons.
Michael Fassbender and his Mammy at the Oscars
3. It’s a completely empty tradition. As a result of point 1 on this list, your father has no power to say no, even if he really hates your intended husband. Not to mention, many men only do it because they know their girlfriends want them to. Probably because their girlfriends have told them many times. I’ll say it again: EMPTY. MEANINGLESS. So why bother?
4. It’s impractical. Gone are the days of Irish people imitating salmon and returning to their native rivers to spawn. With the majority of our young population shipped off to Australia to look for work, when will your other half have the chance to ask your Dad? Over Skype?
5. It’s just plain immature. If you’re looking to get married I’m assuming you are at least a little more mature than a child. Grow up and stop looking for validation from everyone, particularly your parents. That’s a fast track to misery right there. Live your life for yourself and make your own decisions.
In this day and age women should be embracing their independence, not hiding behind their Dads. It breaks my heart to see my friends - educated, strong, intelligent women - falling for this tradition, and saying things like “oh he’d have to ask Daddy”. Unfortunately these women will pass the tradition down the line to their daughters, and so it continues.
In fairness, if I’m the only person who is insulted by the whole thing I suppose I haven’t got much of an argument. If it’s that important to you to send your boyfriend/fiancé over for an awkward conversation with your Dad then fire ahead.
However, if my own other half tries to pop the question to my Dad before he asks me, I know what my answer will be.