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Brides: a father's gift to give away?

Crown Princess Victoria de Suede with two of the main men in her life, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden (topless model dater, racing car driver and nightclub regular and cutlery designer) and hubby-to-be Daniel Westling (glasses).

Crown Princess Victoria de Suede with two of the main men in her life, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden (topless model dater, racing car driver and nightclub regular and cutlery designer) and hubby-to-be Daniel Westling (glasses).

Needless to say my travel plans are kaput.

The calamity? Crown Princess Victoria wants her dad to walk her down the aisle when she weds her personal trainer boyfriend next month.

MADNESS!

Mock horror aside, I can’t believe that the old fashioned dad-daughter-giveaway is the element of this union causing the most consternation – forget the fact the heir to the throne is getting hitched to a commoner (and personal trainer no less!).

But what prompts the ‘ahhhh, only in Sweden…’ sigh and head shake more than anything is the fact that the loudest critic paddling furiously amidst this matrimonial maelstrom is the man of the cloth set to officiate proceedings, Archbishop Anders Wejryd.

According to the Archbishop, this charmingly antediluvian, Anglo Saxon custom smacks of sexism and contradicts the progressive, egalitarian principles his country proudly stands by.

"I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouses' equality,” he said in a formal statement, affirming his support for Swedish tradition that has man and woman walk down the aisle together.

He was backed up by Annika Borg, a priest and theologian, who said modern Swedish brides were going backwards in coming forwards thanks to a perilous obsession with Hollywood-style fantasy romance.

"It's unfortunate that Sweden's future head of state has chosen to follow a practice that is not Swedish tradition," she said.

"The idea of the couple entering the church together symbolises that the man and the woman are entering the marriage of their own free will.

"In the future it is going to be very hard for us to resist requests from brides who want to be given away."

Oh. Well. When you put it like that…

How dare that brazen royal hussy dishonour Sweden and feminists and Swedish feminist clergypeople! How dare she reverse the progress her country has made!

I mean, we all know that our Anglo Saxon marriage tradition is steeped in patriarchal pomp and ceremony. That the giving away the bride is symbolic of a dark stretch of time where women were the property of their fathers until their husbands bought them for handsome sum.

That’s why when we get married the 'old fashioned way', we’re really just making a very clever joke about the fact that relationships in our society in this day and age aren’t bound by ridiculous, outdated, divisive ideas that prevent us from having happy, fulfilling, lasting –

Oh.

Sack the sarcasm for a second and shoot straight. Is this much ado about nothing - or a timely opportunity for us to revise our attitudes and expectations about marriage and relationships?

If Sweden is outraged by the decision of their heir apparent to do marriage the way I’m sure most of us have - or would - because it undermines a society built on social, sexual and political equality, what does that say about us?

29 comments so far

  • Couple's choice I reckon, even if others think it's dumb/antiquated/regressive/precious or whatever. I wanted five goats for my daughter - she took a LOT of effort after all. I got five plastic goats in a paper bag and a card saying one was donated to an African village. Cheap danged son-in-law. Daughter wanted both parents to walk her down the aisle (actually across the park) which I thought was just right. Not "giving her away" per se, just a loving escort/guard of honour.

    Commenter
    Greybeard
    Location
    The Swivel Chair of Wisdom
    Date and time
    May 26, 2010, 7:12AM
    • Anyone would want a good solid escort for that long walk up the aisle, and who is surprised that she shose her father? Never mind all the expositons of symbolism. She probably reckons it symbolises whatever she wants it to symbolise.

      Commenter
      Jacqueline George
      Location
      Cooktown
      Date and time
      May 26, 2010, 8:27AM
      • Hi CK,

        I love it when you use big words - "antediluvian" - I had to look that one up. Thanks I learned something today. I agree - much ado about nothing.

        While it may be a primitive / old custom, so is the whole idea of marriage itself, but it still happens. The whole love, honour and obey (although the last is rare these days) is outdated given the relative ease (but not without cost) of divorce these days. Defacto relationships are becoming more recognised at law, so where does that leave marriage itself? Perhaps a topic for another day?

        It is a nice custom and brings the family into the ceremony, so where's the harm in that?

        JT

        Commenter
        JT
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        May 26, 2010, 8:35AM
        • Much ado about nothing I feel... If she wants her dad to walk her down the aisle - good on her!

          My dad was the only choice for me... 1 because I love him so much and I wanted him beside me for that scary walk and 2 because it was an honour for him and there was no way I'd ever take that away from him...

          Commenter
          Cupcakes
          Location
          Hell... aka... Work
          Date and time
          May 26, 2010, 8:59AM
          • It's the "given away" bit that is the issue here - it's a term which harks back to an era where women were considered to be a burden because they could not work in the fields to make the food that fed the family...

            Not only that, but you had to take a bribe (dowry) to take the poor useless things in....

            (Never mind the work that women did to look after the household and children was every bit as physically demanding).

            If the term had long ago been replaced with "escorted" or an "honour guard" then the Swedish Royal family would have no issue with the concept - I'm sure there will be much rattling of sabres in the pomp and ceremony.

            Anyway, lets clear up the crap. Society is not equal and never will be. Some laws are biased pro-male and some are biased pro-female. If women don't believe that they should look into maternity leave, criminal law dealing with rape, assaults and AVO's, or pretty much any section of family law at all.

            At present the overall balance in western society probably isn't too far off the mark until someone tries to do something significantly out of whack with societal norms.

            Now it may be wrong to suggest that is the way society should be, it is the agreed (or implicit) social contract that forms and bonds a society. We just have to wait until the weight of social opinion believes there is enough need for change to see those laws overhauled.

            We're gradually getting rid of those gender biases, but remember, for laws to be changed, our 1901 based constitution needs to be changed (which is very hard to do politically).

            Commenter
            The Aviator
            Date and time
            May 26, 2010, 9:09AM
            • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh How dare someone in our progressive society think that they have the right to make a personal choice. Unheard of!!!
              pffft who do they think they are.
              Be progressive please, but on our terms

              Commenter
              THE FLASH
              Location
              I KINDA THINK THE PRINCESS IS HOT, NICE DIMPLES
              Date and time
              May 26, 2010, 9:27AM
              • Dear CityKat, really and truly . . . get over it.
                I do not want to offend the CityKat, but this column has brought out the grumpy old man in me.
                Today's column sounded as though it could have been written by a d****-wearing member of the femiNazi sisterhood on her way to a Dykes on Bikes pep rally. Or, in your case, someone who has been fully manured by the Marxist indoctrination process that is passed off as education in this country.
                Tradition is tradition. If someone wants to do it, then good luck to them I say.
                If not, that is also their choice.
                Is it a Swedish tradition? I would not have a clue.
                There are historical reasons for the tradition. Like them or not, that is the reality. The feminist (aka Marxist) attempt to have their own little cultural revolution (that idea worked so well for the Chinese . . . not!) reminds me of the scene in The Life Of Brian, where at the arena Stan wanted to be called Loretta because he wanted to be a woman and screamed that he was being oppressed when the self-evident reality that he was a man was pointed out to him. Python fans will understand.
                The denial of our cultural traditions is part of the process of Marxist-inspired political correctness, which hopes to change reality by telling lies. Night will not be day and cannot ever be, no matter how many times the lefties repeat a mantra that night is day and day is night and persecute anyone who speaks the truth.
                Rejoice in the cultural traditions of your ancestors, CityKat. It is where you came from and what makes you who you are.

                Commenter
                Wodensvolk
                Location
                Gold Coast
                Date and time
                May 26, 2010, 9:29AM
                • (Shrugs)

                  To each their own. If that's what the happy couple want to do, so be it. But I think it's an outdated idea. As Aviator says, it harks back to a time when the father of the bride literally gave his daughter away, and it implies an antiquated notion of possession. It's right up there with the prospective husband asking the prospective father-in-law's "permission" to marry his daughter. Again, this concept is as outdated as powdered wigs and the North Sydney Bears. You children aren't chattels.

                  And W-Volk, ta for providing me with my regular Wednesday morning belly laugh. Your weekly whine about the rest of the world not being stuck in 1937 like you never fails to amuse. Keep it up!

                  Commenter
                  Big Willie Style
                  Date and time
                  May 26, 2010, 10:40AM
                  • Hi, Auntie Kat, Nah, let's stay with the tradition, it helps clarify the circumstances, if the groom has accepted the dowry from the brides father, (the fee he pays for getting some sucker to take her off his hands) then he's entitled to have the public recognition of having her owner (father) handing her over to her new owner (husband) so don't believe that bullsht about 'giving her away', he tried that and nobody would take her. It seems to work OK for jewish mums when they hand over control of their sons to his new owner (his wife). These long standing traditions should be treated with more respect, you never know when you may need them to get rid of a useless offspring yourself.

                    Commenter
                    The Stump
                    Location
                    Australia
                    Date and time
                    May 26, 2010, 11:00AM
                    • Why is anything that is steeped in more than 3 mins tradition now sexist? Tradition or course can be good and it can be bad. But something as simple as father walking his daughter down the aisle is not sexist, its a reflection of their love for each other, on what will no doubt (feminazis strike me down now) be a very special day in the bride's memories for a long time to come - why wouldnt she want her Dad there for support?

                      As a relatively new Dad, I would be devastated when my little Princess decides to wed (if she does, sorry, if she choses. Yes, yes, free will, I forgot marriage is obviously now viewed by the masses as an outdated institution where women are forced to cook, clean, obey and lay back and think of England when they submit to their marital duties, and in no way could it be a loving union) that she didnt want me to walk her down the aisle.

                      As a Father of a daughter, you have primal insticts to protect (Im sorry for saying men can protect women, how sexist of me once again) and in my opinion, when you are walking her down the aisle, you are, for the last time, being the main protector.

                      Sappy? Yes. Sentimental? Yes. Do I think that modern women these days look a little too deeply into issues to try and uncover sexism when perhaps there isnt any? Of course. (I still let women into and off the elevator first, am i a gentleman or a horrible sexist pug stuck in the repressed 1950's?).

                      That is all.

                      Commenter
                      Cupcake
                      Date and time
                      May 26, 2010, 11:00AM

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