Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but the fact that I have just been visually assaulted by two gender-normative, wedding-related bullshits in the mere matter of minutes has really pissed me off. One was website selling “wedding blessings” to “celebrate the marriage of a man and woman…” And one was on Pinterest: a book titled “Prayers for your future husband” pinned under “for my daughter.”
And though it’s not surprising that both these things were religious-based — whatever — that’s not even what’s pissing me off. What is getting to me is the assumption that marriages are hetero-normative.
It baffles me that people still assume that it’s always “man and woman,” or “bride and groom,” or that your daughter’s going to marry someone’s son.
A while ago my friend Drew wrote an awesome post on that marriage equality equal sign that swept through Facebook: Don’t Let That Red Equals Signs Become a Hollow Gesture. My favorite part of it, as an editor, was this…
Back at my college paper, I had an editor who forbade the staff from using the phrase “raising awareness” because he felt that it didn’t convey meaning. Instead of just writing down “raising awareness” when you’re interviewing one advocacy group or another, he said, you should press further and ask for specific examples of how they were raising awareness — holding public talks, screaming at people from street corners, writing pithy slogans before doing nude backflips through the campus’s central plaza, etc. — because these examples would make for a more interesting sentence. He was correct.
Drew goes on to talk about how this rings true when it comes to you as an individual supporting a cause, like marriage equality. Don’t just “raise awareness” by changing your Facebook profile pic, be more active in your causal support.
It made me pause for a minute in some self-conscious reflection. I wasn’t one of the many that changed their Facebook profile pic. Not because I don’t believe in the cause, but because I think fleeting Facebook fads are silly. I also don’t want to deal with that awkward moment of like… when to decide your support of marriage equality is not as important as wanting to show off that SUPER good photo your friend took of you when you were at that party?
Besides, anyone who knows me should know that I support marriage equality. But do I actively support marriage equality? I haven’t donated to any charities in, probably, a year. And I haven’t attended protests since Prop 8 was shot down originally. So I started to feel a little guilty.
But then I realized that I am actively supporting marriage equality on the DAILY through the Offbeat Empire.
- On Offbeat Bride gay weddings are treated just the same as straight weddings.
- We work our tails off to make our wording gender-neutral — no saying “brides and grooms” it’s always “couples.” No assumptions that we’re only being read by brides. No “your future husband” it’s “your partner.”
- On Offbeat Home & Life we don’t assume that people are in straight relationships, or even purely monogamous relationships!
- On Offbeat Families we don’t refer to “moms and dads” or assume anyone is in a straight, two-parent relationships.
This non-gender-specific, all-encompassing love-acceptance is so freaking normal in my day to day life. It actually feels like the virtual equivalent to nails on a chalkboard when I read wedding articles that actively address a figurative straight bride reader, or use “bride and groom” when they should — seriously SHOULD at this point — mean “couples.” Or when I hear that a wedding magazine won’t accept gay couples in their ads. I find it shocking and angering.
It’s at times like that I have to remember that I live in this wonderful offbeat bubble. I forget that people make shitty assumptions based on either religious beliefs, or just your every day (and sometimes not even intentionally malicious) ignorance. And sometimes I wonder so far into the internet that it’s just 1997 web design, and hetero-normative assumptions all around, and I remember that I’m actually and actively part of the movement to normalize all kinds of wonderful-but-under-represented relationships. And it’s clear that I still have a lot more work to do.