Facebook Engagement Fatigue

I’m not sure what it is about chilly weather, but all the sudden diamond rings abound on my Newsfeed.

marryme

I should start this by saying that I am happy for people who want to get married and then get asked to be married, and that I hope everyone is successful in their relationships, and anything else they put their mind to for that matter. I always feel defensive when I talk about being irritated or annoyed or uncomfortable with this stuff, because folks assume that I am man-hating/bitter/hate love/unromantic, etc. But that’s categorically untrue.

That being said, all the hand photos, to show off the ring, and the #isaidyes hashtag and the really large bridal parties and the floofy dresses and the stuff… I don’t know guys. It has me feeling…. itchy.

mindyno

I think my itchiness comes from the fact that so much of what is shared is steeped in traditions that I find deeply problematic. Rather than coming up with new traditions, making room for alternative partnerships and lifestyles, we are creating hashtags and crafting cute announcements that show just how pretty and fabulous and romantic the whole event it using our iPhones and social media presences. But it’s the same old story (emphasis on old). I think most people’s journey is a lot more interesting than a photo of your hand with a new ring, or a new hashtag, or a new name…

a smattering of results from an #isaidyes search
a smattering of results from an #isaidyes search

Ah yes, the issue of names. On Facebook this is particularly apparent, because all of the sudden your friend from high school that you used to skip class with and drive around with and yearn for college with isn’t searchable under their name. Same with the girls who lived on your dorm floor in college. They have a new name. I can never think about these old friends as anyone other than the name I met them with. I can’t be the only one for whom this is disconcerting (can I?). It feels so retro, so abrupt. It seems so serious, so fundamental. And I guess maybe that’s the point, but who the fuck can keep track of all these old girlfriends, with their new names?

who?

I know people who are excited about changing their name, and that’s fine. But when you look at it in cultural context, I think this tradition sucks. I know this question isn’t exactly earth shattering, but why should women have to change their identifying name, their family name? Think about growing up, being part of your family, but knowing that one day your last name would be different and that you would, symbolically, be part of a different family and no longer your own. That’s fucking weird. I can’t imagine having a name that is different then my name now. It feels right, my name. It has a rhythm, I have a catchphrase, and I’d never wanna be anyone else. I think your name is a large part of your identity and personality, and like it or not this tradition places women in a cycle of having first their fathers and then their husbands determine this identity marker. Oddly enough, I don’t feel strongly about my own future child having my name because they will be their own person, a little monster with their own identity and personality. But I do feel strongly about my name, my ties to my own 3 person original family unit, and no matter what my family looks like moving forward I wish to always have my name to bond me to them and to my memories.

tradition-o

I know people like tradition. And I’m not really against a person changing their name to symbolize a new union. But why not have both parties change it, to maybe a hyphenated name (ugh, I hate hyphenating) or some kind of hybrid, or I mean it could be anything at all! Your drag queen name or an allusion to your favorite poet/character/musician or the street your grew up on or that you met or WHATEVER. Why does it have to be so literal, so patriarchal? And all those other traditions that are played out too, like why are all my girlfriends waiting for a ring presentation when these kinds of decision can (and arguably should) be made together? Why a diamond ring when we all know that tradition was invented and sold to consumers by the diamond industry itself? Why a white wedding dress when that color upholds virginity as the ultimate female virtue, and anyway not everyone looks good in white? Why not rethink all of it? I wish we could all think outside the box more when it comes to unions and love and partnerships.

blaineproposal
Homoerotic, but heteronormative. #justsayin

So yea anyway, love is great and I’m glad people are finding it. But just a heads up, no one’s hand looks pretty in those ring photos. It’s weird. Post a photo of you and your partner and your smiling, joyful faces. That’s what it’s really about anyway, right?

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13 thoughts on “Facebook Engagement Fatigue

  1. Totally following you now. And two decades ago I could have written this post. Bridesmaids and bachelorette parties and bands and blech. And my name? My name is solid. Really, rather awesome. I love it and I’ve published papers with it and it is Who I Am.

    And then… then I fell in love and married an Asian boy. And when people didn’t assume we were together in an elevator, or in a queue, or at the movies, or fucking anywhere, that sucked a bit. I mean, this is the man I’m thrilled to be marrying, over the moon to say is mine. Taking his name, and becoming a Lee, too, was one way we could show The World we were one. And it’s very, very important to me. Especially now, when my little half breed, husband clone children are never assumed to be mine, at least we have the same NAME. And I love that. Though I never, ever would have thought I’d be *that* girl… I’m totally that girl. xoxo

    1. Britt,

      Thanks so much for commenting and following today. Your comments are super thoughtful, and I really appreciate it.

      I totally get wanting to feel like a family. But why not have both you and your partner change it? Hyphenate, or create a hybrid of your names, etc? I just hate that it’s always women making this fundamental change, even if it eventually feels right. And obviously if it worked for you and you’re happy I am THRILLED! I just wish we could all rethink it a little.

      Thanks for reading,
      -a

      1. I hate hyphenating. I was hyphenated against my will for two years in surgery… because that crowd couldn’t believe I’d (gasp) take my husband’s name. Just didn’t wouldn’t believe it, so they put the hyphenated disaster on all of my IDs and forms and whatnot.

        But changing to a brand new name? Are you youngsters actually going to start doing this? I am immediately old old old all head-shaking and audibly clucking even trying to consider this seriously. But whatever unifies the pair and feel rights IS right… right? Being Lee was right for me. But what if his had been one of those impossible to spell names with lots of q’s without u’s and stuff? Well, maybe I’d be on your little hybrid name bandwagon.

      2. Haha actually I also hate hyphenating! I just want the change to be an all parties involved change. As far as I know you can always make a name change to anything, so why not a hybrid or a shared memory, if it’s right for your partnership?

  2. Just came across your blog and really like it. We have recently been talking about how everyone seems to be getting married like it’s going out of fashion! Clearly, your news feed looks similar to ours.
    But yeah, actually a very nice article! Never thought twice about not necessarily changing names or that “white” doesn’t even look good on everyone. But that’s exactly it – nobody really questions traditions, it’s more or less on auto pilot.
    It’s a wonderful ceremony and I guess there’d be many traditions I would like to keep but I will probably think twice now about the name.

  3. Hi! I nominated you for the One Lovely Blogger Award 🙂

    To accept it, you must publish a post in which you’ve added the logo of the award (which you’ll find on my site), a link to the person who nominated you, seven facts about yourself and nominate seven other bloggers.

    Cheers, and congrats! 🙂

    1. Hey, thanks for reading!

      I don’t actually make my own GIFs! They run abundant, so I just Google what I want (‘shake head no gif’, for example) and parooze the selection. I have a whole folder full of GIFs that I’m waiting for the perfect moment to use. They are pretty much my fav part of crafting posts haha.

      -a

  4. Okay I know this sounds weird (or maybe not) but I never NEVER wanted any of the usual romantic trappings of a ring or a wedding or any of that stuff. I never saw the point. It’s all cosmetic stuff – it’s the underlying relationship that matters.

    Until I got on Facebook and saw everyone else posting pictures of their proposals and their rings and their weddings and their “just because flowers” and their rose petal-strewn hotel room beds and all I could think was – “I want that!! Why didn’t my husband love me enough to do any of that for me!!”

    Granted, it could ALSO partially be because my ex-husband (may he burn in hell (once he dies of *cough* natural causes of course)) used to rub my face in the fact that he NEVER did anything romantic for me yet he was INSPIRED by his latest girlfriend to do ALL THE ROMANTIC THINGS for her. Because (his words) I “wasn’t woman enough.”

    Regardless of how these nagging feelings came to be, Facebook really does make it way worse. Yes of course I’m super happy for them, and my triggers are MY responsibility, but still. I’ll be glad when everyone I know is solidly engaged / married already. 🙂

  5. But to your point about names – that’s really an area where there’s no right answer except the one that feels right for YOU.

    For me it was very important for everyone in my family to have the same last name. Not because anyone would be “confused,” but just because it felt like the household would be more cohesive if everyone had the same last name. And then I screwed that up – I took my husband’s name, BUT my oldest daughter has my maiden name, my younger daughter has my first married name, and my son has my (and my husband’s) name. And you know what? The sun continues to rise and set just like it always does.

    I did, however, keep my maiden name as my middle name. Because I have a really great maiden name and I didn’t want to get rid of it just because I married some guy.

    Also, when I got divorced I was REALLY slow to change my name from my first married name to my second married name. The way I see it, regardless of how I got my name, it is MY name and no one can tell me otherwise. I figured, after being married for five years, the name was as much my name as anyone else’s. Now, it just so happened that my ex-husband got remarried (and his wife took his name) before I changed my name. I will never know why, but it REALLY bothered the new wife that I still had my first married name at that point. Like anyone was going to get us confused! And like I said, it was MY name in my mind.

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