The Duchess of Cambridge

29 Apr

This morning,  April 29th,  Prince William married his long-term sweetheart Kate Middleton.

Why do I pose the happy event in such a way? Why not Prince William and his long-term sweetheart Kate Middleton got married. Why would I (who am obviously a manifesto-toting feminist considering my blog posts) position the woman as direct object to the male/active noun?

Well, I will tell you the first thing I heard when I turned on the BBC News (and no, it was not at 5 a.m. monarchy time), the words of the officiary proclaiming “I now pronounce you man and wife.”

He remains a man and she becomes a wife. What happens to her womanhood? And, what of his husbandry? The term “man and wife” is a relic of earlier matrimonial rituals, which have generally been transformed to suit more modern standards: hence, “husband and wife.”

To be the wife to the man is to serve as the man’s subordinate, the secretary to his husbandry, if you will. To be the wife to the man is to now be taken, to no longer be a woman, i.e. available.

The overwhelming anachronisticness of the monarchy in general is further emphasized by the enormous event of the royal wedding. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being happy about a massive church, a common girl, a flowing white dress, and the idea that two people are in love and will be married for the rest of their lives. Happy ever after.

To scoff at this is to expose oneself as a cynic, a hater. But that confuses me because of the simple facts of the state of marriage in 2011; hell, the state of marriage in the British monarchy.

As I watch a montage of Kate and William, Barry White plays over the shots. The desperation to modernize this event, which is essentially a hodge-podge of extraordinarily different rituals, ceremonies, ideologies, evocations, and generations, is not helped by the tagline: “man and wife.”


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