Presents and Patriarchy: A History of Weddings As The Possessive Exchange of Women

One of the most mental things I’ve ever seen given at a wedding was a full set of windows for the ‘happy’ couples new house. As I remember the brides dad worked for this window company in Liverpool. The weird part was, he actually bought all the windows to the wedding. It  felt a little like a publicity stunt if I’m honest. But through the entire history of weddings and wedlock the exchange of gifts has played an integral role. For many guests deciding what to bring as a gift is one of the main stress’s and worries that comes with attending a wedding. Apparently. But as you might imagine, considering that marriages are something that involves women, men, and history, they are pretty wrapped up in patriarchy. Originally the exchange of things at a wedding where as compensation for the main thing that was being exchanged: the woman.

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Pictured: A thing to be exchanged

So originally the woman’s family would be compensated with some sort of dowry  or ‘bride price’. These were most often things like land, animals or money. So the man would give the woman’s family a farmyard animal because the family would decide that they were better off with a cow than with their daughter because, I presume, they can’t make cheese from the milk of their daughter, and the future husband would decide he was better of with the woman than with the cow because, I presume,  you can’t fuck a cow. Well, you wouldn’t want to.

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Though you might, apparently, want to fuck a dead pig in the skull.

But David Cameron having full intercourse with a dead pigs head until completion aside, the first dowry on record was apparently exchanged in 3,000 B.C, which is an uninteresting fact for which I will provide no evidence. Luckily for woman everywhere though a few thousand years later the Renaissance came. Ah the Renaissance, where we moved out of the dark ages and all our ideas developed, where we stopped being bogged down in the prejudices of the past, and started thinking rationally about things and adopting a more ‘humanist’ approach to the world, seeing peoples value as people. Well, that worked out great for woman, with the introduction of wedding chests.

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The bride would put all her worldly possessions into the chest and then drag it with her teeth (probably) to the house of her new husband. This was an early form of the hope chest in which an unmarried woman would put ‘all the linens and things they would need to embark on married life‘ and set off in ‘hope’ that some kindly man would take her it. That’s right! All of your life’s essential linins! All the linens you’ll need! ‘Are you ready to embark on your entire life sister?’ ‘Oh I’m not sure! I’m not sure if I’ve got enough fucking linens to achieve all of my life goals! You know, goals like make the bed and, erm, wrap myself in linen and throw myself in a lake’.

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“Is my marriage happy? Er, have you seen my linen cupboard? I have all the Linen I can eat!”

But don’t worry women, things get so, so, so much better. Because luckily some woman were lucky enough to start living in the ‘evolved’ west where we ‘evolved’ into seeing the these things as a little more symbolic. Because that’s what societal and cultural evolution is, it’s doing things because they are symbolic traditions, not because your just some mad tribe!

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Pictured: Mad tribe

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Pictured: Totally not a mad tribe, this is a symbolic traditional event, not a mad tribe. Definitely not a mad tribe. Definitely not tribal symbol worship. Definitely not those things.

So in the evolved west we evolved into more symbolic forms of gift giving such as a thing called a ‘key basket‘. This was a leather basket filled with keys to things like doors, chests and cupboards (where she can put her linens probably) in her new house. Oh how excited she must have been! If only they’d put a toilet brush and and some washing up gloves in there too! This lovely gift is said to be ‘symbolizing her new status‘ and that is meant to be a good thing! 

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“Oh! What a lovely symbol of my new status!”

What a status to gain! Apparently the leather key basket was toned down from the original idea of chaining the brides leg to an oven that she has to drag from her fathers house to her new home whilst the grooms friends pelt her with cleaning products. The symbolism of this ceremony was just considered ‘a little on the nose’ by many wedding planners.

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‘Yeah you better run! Because this cilic bang is heading right for your shitting skull!

Nowadays of course we have ‘evolved’ much further and our wedding ceremonies are completely gender neutral, everyone simply wears state issued grey overalls and speak through grilled masks meaning all genders are completely concealed. The priest simply says ‘the citizen may connect mouths with the citizen’ and the two citizens enter the birthing sack, wherein they will fornicate and wait for 9 months until a baby will come out, meaning that the burden of child birth is shared as equally as possible. The baby is then fitted with a neck collar…

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… like so…

… to prevent it identifying its own gender until it eventually enters its own birthing sack. Is that what you want? Is that what you want feminists? You want us all to be completely identity-less? Huh? Do you? Huh?! No? No that’s clearly not what you want? Demanding equality does not mean demanding the irradiation of difference? It means not being seen as an object to be traded amongst men? Oh. Oh right. Oh ok. My bad. Thanks feminists!

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“No problem.”

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P.S When Google image searching ‘Woman with her thumbs up‘ well over 50% of the results were women in some state of undress, often simply in their underwear, and the most common reason for having thumbs up was weight loss! Including these gems:

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So weight loss I guess? It is also the pose of a three year old who has just successfully shat themselves and confused it for an achievement.

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There’s no way she’s only just realised those jeans don’t fit.

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Wow. Erm. What? What a very incongruous everything

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Yep. That makes sense.

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You know what they say: If in doubt, phallic symbol

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What a startlingly uncomfortable looking position

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Yeah… she hasn’t even got any thumbs up! Is she about to collapse? Is that a bottle of chloroform?

There is almost nothing you can search on images without a half naked woman showing up on the first page. Thanks google!

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