CULTURE

Public Shackling

By Zoë Hinis

Someone asked me why I felt the need to get riled up by the ostentatious nature of the wedding between Charlene and the Prince of Monaco when it has nothing to do with me. But it has everything to do with the things I believe in, and therefore I do have something valid to say about it.

I feel that one of the major goals of feminism is to allow all women to be able to make the choices they want without fear of stigma. The issue here is not that Charlene is getting married: the major issue is that a very large amount of money is being spent to hide the fact that this poor woman’s passport was confiscated after she tried to get out of marrying the philandering prince-thing. She is being publicly forced into what amounts to sex slavery, but how terrible can it be with a wedding at the Oyster Box?
Admittedly society already has a problematic relationship with the concept of marriage, and while I would never stand in the way of a woman publicly declaring her love for someone, I do feel that we should step in when the bride tries to run away three times and gets dragged back to the cave. All the money being spent on this partially unwanted wedding could go into several funds to help everyone from street kids to women’s shelters to animal welfare. Monaco itself is a monarchial mini-state that needs to consider what it could be doing to help the world instead of clinging to a world of gauche wealth and elitism.

This second royal wedding in a year continues to feed the badly-formed dreams of little girls, already growing up on a diet of Kardashians, Cosmo and Kendra and being told that there’s no need to work hard while there are men to marry and serve. With so many people fawning over this wedding, there aren’t enough voices asking why the bride doesn’t look nearly as radiant as she should. I’ve been to weddings where bride and groom are beautifully, vibrantly happy and are genuinely sharing their love and excitement with those they invite. It is a special thing to see, and something that I would wish for anyone who wants it. Whilst marriage was once a transfer of property and done for less savoury reasons, I like to think that feminists can reclaim marriage to mean something better. After all, fighting for gay marriage is a big way to reclaim marriage as a union between lovers instead of being a hetronormative public shackling. Charlene, who is beautiful and hardworking and talented, will have to stand next to this revolting philanderer for five years because of a financial contract, bear his spawn and smile through it. It’s like Princess Diana all over again, but I hope Charlene will find her way out of this intact.

I don’t like seeing any woman, regardless of her income or status, being mistreated. Its not alright because she has a palace and an Armani dress. A lot of people will say “but she has everything, how can she be unhappy?” This kind of rhetoric suggests that all indignity can be salved away with money, an idea as odious as it is blatantly untrue. And agreed, poverty doesn’t exactly imbue anyone with dignity, but there have to be better ways to be happy than being chained down with platinum.

So if you, like me, are uncomfortable with this wedding and the disgusting amounts of money being used as a smokescreen, then speak up. Don’t let anyone tell you that “all feminists hate fun and happiness”. We don’t, we never have. What we do hate, however, is seeing our sisters trapped like cattle.

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2 thoughts on “Public Shackling”

  1. I’ve seen many a happily married couple, straight or gay (Zackie Achmat) absolutely radiant, bouncy and elated to share a life together, only to divorce 3 years later, acrimoniously. I’ve seen many a shotgun wedding, with both partners unhappy but putting on a brave face, and then stay married, happily until death do them part. I’ve seen many an arranged marriage (Indian/Pakistan/African) flourish with love, friendship and companionship and some never taking off. We have NO right to predict any outcome of any marriage or relationship as we have NO clue what actually is transpiring between the partners.

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  2. I agree with Zoe. Why should this woman be compelled into marriage by a more wealthy and more powerful family who can dangle carrots in exchange for children?

    If they were Indian it would be considered an outrage.

    If he were a ‘shiek’ from some Islamic state, the whole world would be telling South Africa to take up some position in the U.N. or throw some diplomatic tantrum.

    And apparently he’s into black women, the palace is trying to guarantee white kids.

    Then he shouldn’t have chosen a white South African Afrikaner… they’re 90% black by DNA…

    (But was she really forced. Who can trust the papers)

    Simone is right, traditional marriages last longer… because they’re not about love primarily, which is an unstable emotion… traditional marriages put the marriage first not ‘the feeling’…

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