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April 18, 2009

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Dennis Tuchler

And yet, in the ordinary marriage ceremony, the father "gives" his gift-wrapped daughter to the waiting husband-to-be. This looks like a property transfer --transfer of a woman to her next owner -- plain and simple.

Alex K.

I agree that it might look like a property transfer, but that does not mean that it is one, though it once was. The modern wedding ceremony could be seen as parroting parts of the older tradition without examining their significance.

Alternatively, the "giving away" can be seen as expressing the feeling that a father has of losing his little girl when she marries a man and starts her own family. In a more egalitarian society, this feeling would probably be expressed by the parents together and not only the father, but that does not mean that the women is being transferred like chattel.

Dennis Tuchler

Alex K. said that the "giving away" ceremony can be made egalitarian and anodyne as an expression of losing the daddy's little girl. So, Why don't the parents of the groom "give away" their gift-wrapped son? The whole ceremony seems very much like a fond remembrance of the way things were, rather than some fond farewell to the daughter (who is going to the husband as ...?),

Alex K.

I don't think that I said that it can be made egalitarian (I did mention a more egalitarian society, but "more egalitarian" and "egalitarian" are not the same), but if it seemed that way I'm sorry. My point was not that the tradition is not sexist, but that it isn't a transfer of property and it isn't understood that way.

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