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Old 03-26-2013, 12:10 AM
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Default Stoya on the Pitfalls of Heteronormativity and Monogamy

http://www.vice.com/read/stoya-on-th...y-and-monogamy

It's an interesting article but...I dunno, it feels like it says a lot without really saying very much. I dont know if that's because Stoya just didn't go into that much depth or if she just pursues a much more anarchistic style of relationships.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:29 AM
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I found it an interesting story about a person and her life; but not a terribly interesting or informative commentary on society.

Probably because we're part of the counterculture. Most of us have some experience very like that, and don't find it that unusual.

In fact, I went to a wedding with a story very much like that. CBF's sister. It was gorgeous. I didn't have to fend off anyone as rude as she did. I didn't give it much thought, but CBF had many thoughts very much like the article. He's counter culture, he just has a little trouble admitting it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:19 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I have read this article a few times now and just can't see how it outlines any pitfalls of heteronormativity or monogamy.

The author writes eloquently, in my opinion, on the value of good, clear communication in relationships and on tolerance for those who are different. I find myself in wholehearted agreement with her frustration at the assumptions and irritations of finding yourself at a wedding as somebody who hasn't followed the traditional path in life.

I just can't see any description of pitfalls in it.

I had to smile at somebody talking about marriage in such negative terms while wholeheartedly, it seems to me, embracing a relationship that embodies one of the things that I see as making marriage a rather unethical pursuit.

One of my moral problems with marriage is the notion that generally speaking one man gives the woman to another man. Sometimes now the woman gives herself away - something that I find utterly bizarre. Bad enough to be given away by somebody else. Maybe then you could claim coercion but to give yourself to somebody like you are property seems utterly odd to me.

And yet - the author of this article firmly describes herself (or at least parts of herself) as being owned by a man. The idea of having to ask somebody else for permission to touch myself makes me feel fairly sick.

I kind of question also just how outside society a conventionally very pretty girl working in the porn industry actually is. It seems to me that it's a job that very firmly buttresses the main stream notion that women should be pretty, should wear make up, shouldn't talk much and should make sure they are skilled at sex. Oh yes - and that it is a woman's job to be sexually available and able to satisfy her man.

I see nothing in this article outlining pitfalls and nothing at all in it that suggests alternative ways of living. At heart - I think this is about finding ways to conform while claiming otherwise.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
I had to smile at somebody talking about marriage in such negative terms while wholeheartedly, it seems to me, embracing a relationship that embodies one of the things that I see as making marriage a rather unethical pursuit.

One of my moral problems with marriage is the notion that generally speaking one man gives the woman to another man. Sometimes now the woman gives herself away - something that I find utterly bizarre. Bad enough to be given away by somebody else. Maybe then you could claim coercion but to give yourself to somebody like you are property seems utterly odd to me.
Marriage has changed. We're so far beyond "marriage is changing" that it deserves the past tense.

I accept that it's not for everyone. I have no problems with marriage being against your own personal moral code, i.e. something that you do not feel is right for you. If you even want to be judgemental about people with different life choices than your own, that's fine too. But please realize that telling me I must not marry makes you just as bad as the patriarchal father who tells me I must. It means that you're giving yourself the ability to choose what is and is not allowed for me. Thank you very much for your concern, but you are not my owner.

Ultimately, it's about choice. I chose marriage on my own terms. I'm the one who proposed. Nobody gave me away, least of all myself. I am still every bit as much "my own" as I was the day I was born. Mine is not a 15th century betrothal. I was not exchanged for a herd of cattle. I chose to become married, and I can choose to stop being married any time I want. It just so happens that I'm rather fond of the situation and I choose to remain in it.

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And yet - the author of this article firmly describes herself (or at least parts of herself) as being owned by a man. The idea of having to ask somebody else for permission to touch myself makes me feel fairly sick.
At least this time, you spoke in the first person: The idea of you having to ask permission to touch yourself makes you sick.

However, that doesn't mask the disdain you clearly feel for her choice. She's in a power exchange relationship because she chose to be. She chooses to ask permission to touch herself because it excites her (or whatever her reason for choosing a submissive role in her current relationship).

The significant point is she CHOSE it. Her father did not give her to her partner. She gave herself. And she can un-give herself any time she chooses. Such is the nature of BDSM. It's all consensual. Not your bag of tea? That's perfectly fine.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:14 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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But please realize that telling me I must not marry makes you just as bad as the patriarchal father who tells me I must. It means that you're giving yourself the ability to choose what is and is not allowed for me. Thank you very much for your concern, but you are not my owner.
Totally agree. I don't believe I told you to do or not do anything. If I came across like that it was unintentional.

In fact, while I have an enormous problem with marriage, I have been very involved in several weddings and a bridesmaid at 3 of them. I'm happy to share in my friends' joy at their new unions and confine voicing my opinions on marriage to the times when I'm asked why I have never married.

I have also signed multiple petitions and written several e-mails in support of Scotland changing its laws to allow same sex marriage. And would do the same should it ever happen that we are debating changing the law to allow more than 2 people be married to each other. I think that if people want to get married, they should be able to. Their choice, not mine.

I hope that's a bit more clear.

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Nobody gave me away, least of all myself.
Maybe marriage is done differently in your part of the world. In the UK where I live, it's usual (there may be exceptions sometimes) for the father of the bride to 'give the bride away.' Sometimes another male relative performs the role if the father isn't available. I have been at at least one wedding where the bride walked up the aisle herself and 'gave herself away.' This is what I refer to.

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I chose to become married, and I can choose to stop being married any time I want.
Of course you can. And so can anybody in the UK. The giving away of the bride is just pretense. She pretends to be given away knowing that she can remove herself from the situation whenever she wants.

Both parties usually (although I know there are exceptions) also pretend to make a commitment to each other that will last until one of them dies. It, of course, is pretense too. What they mean is that they will stay together unless one or both of them change their minds.

In the same way the author of the article in question pretends to give parts of her body and some of her decision making ability to her partner while knowing that she can change her mind at any time.

Both she and the couple getting married are I think engaged in a fair amount of pretense in their lives and I'm not sure either would be in a position to describe their own engagement with it as a pitfall in the other's chosen life.

The difficulty I have is that the pretense tends not to be stated explicitly. It kind of becomes like lying. People know it isn't true and that they don't mean it but they say it anyway because it's tradition/it's what everybody else does/it's part of the game (there are probably a ton of other reasons too).

I'm not comfortable with making large promises that I don't mean and I'm not at all comfortable that other people are either - I don't feel that making promises while lying is generally a good way to treat each other. I suspect that generally it does more harm than good (although there are I'd guess a ton of exceptions).

I would happily have my mind changed - I'd quite like in some ways to get married and stop having to publically live in a way that makes me not fit in with the general society - but in a long number of years of debating the whole morality of marriage thing, I haven't yet heard a good argument for retaining these sorts of pretenses.

So I carry on. If people ask me directly I tell them my opinion and happily debate it. And sometimes I discuss it unasked on internet forums - because I kind of think that sharing of ideas on subjects is what they are for.

IP
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:08 PM
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Totally agree. I don't believe I told you to do or not do anything. If I came across like that it was unintentional.
Glad to hear it. There are a few people on this forum who have taken the stance that no one should ever get married because it's patriarchal and unethical. I tend to lump those attitudes together, and I apologize for reading more into your post than you intended.

Quote:
Maybe marriage is done differently in your part of the world. In the UK where I live, it's usual (there may be exceptions sometimes) for the father of the bride to 'give the bride away.' Sometimes another male relative performs the role if the father isn't available. I have been at at least one wedding where the bride walked up the aisle herself and 'gave herself away.' This is what I refer to.
Well my dad walked me down the aisle, but he didn't have any other role in the ceremony. I didn't think of it as him giving me away, I'd been an independent adult for 9 years by then. Again, I think it's all about perspective.

My vows also included having me his taxes done every year by April 15th, and him not feeling too imasculated when I got my PhD and started making more money than him. That part will probably never happen. Turns out I'm more academic and it's pretty hard to get that good of a job in Academia... he, meanwhile, is extremely successful in his career. But I digress.

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Both parties usually (although I know there are exceptions) also pretend to make a commitment to each other that will last until one of them dies. It, of course, is pretense too. What they mean is that they will stay together unless one or both of them change their minds.
To me, commitment means that as long as we still love each other, we will do everything we can to work out any problems that arise. You can even help falling out of love, but like any aspect, it takes work.

But I can honestly stay I've never stopped loving anyone. There have been relationships that weren't worth saving so I let them go, but the feelings didn't just dissolve. There have also been times where I mistook infatuation for love, and that doesn't count. I'm reasonably certain that we're well past the infatuation stage...

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The difficulty I have is that the pretense tends not to be stated explicitly. It kind of becomes like lying. People know it isn't true and that they don't mean it but they say it anyway because it's tradition/it's what everybody else does/it's part of the game (there are probably a ton of other reasons too).
Our province actually governs the exact wording of the vows, and you're not allowed to change them. You can add extra parts where you make your little speech, but if you want to get married in the province, you have to say the prescribed words.

I guess there's two kinds of pretense. There's pretense to the world, and pretense to each other. We discussed our relationship boundaries very extensively, and we knew exactly which parts of the pre-written government ceremony we agreed with and which parts we were just saying for convenience.

In my head, I snickered as I said that whole "you and only you" bit. We know what the boundaries were of our relationship, and we didn't feel the need to make a big hooplah about it.

To me, the commitment and promises are about what we say to one another every day and reinforce with our actions. The wedding is not the marriage. Standing up in front of our friends and family and repeating some words does not a marriage make, it just puts it down on paper. I have two good friends with what I would describe as the "perfect marriage," in that they communicate, cooperate, all that... they've both been previously married, so they know full well that marriage isn't permanent and doesn't really mean a thing if you don't put your money where your mouth is.

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I'm not comfortable with making large promises that I don't mean and I'm not at all comfortable that other people are either - I don't feel that making promises while lying is generally a good way to treat each other. I suspect that generally it does more harm than good (although there are I'd guess a ton of exceptions).
I can understand what you're saying, but I think there's a difference between making a promise and saying some words. If both of you know you're just going through a speech for official purposes, then there's no pretense or lying. Lying means you actually intend the other person to believe your falsehoods. We consciously chose to view it as nothing but protocol. Our commitments to each other had been made long before, and the ceremony was just making them official.

The wedding was all about us. That some people heard me say some stuff that I didn't mean doesn't concern me. I didn't marry them. I married my husband, and he knows what I truly meant. I think that's what counts.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:15 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
Maybe marriage is done differently in your part of the world. In the UK where I live, it's usual (there may be exceptions sometimes) for the father of the bride to 'give the bride away.' Sometimes another male relative performs the role if the father isn't available. I have been at at least one wedding where the bride walked up the aisle herself and 'gave herself away.' This is what I refer to.

...The difficulty I have is that the pretense tends not to be stated explicitly. It kind of becomes like lying.
"Who gives this woman?" is a traditional part of the marriage ceremony here as well...we didn't use it. There is also a traditional part where the official asks "If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace." We didn't use that either. For that matter "Forsaking all others" didn't make an appearance either...(nor did any "obey" type promises)

We know exactly what we promised each other because WE chose what to say - I listed out 8-10 traditional vows that I was willing to voice, then gave the list to him and he picked out the 5-6 that he felt applied and that's what we went with...after a few years of conversation about what marriage meant to US.

Anyone at the ceremony who wasn't "in the know" would have just seen a very, very traditional wedding. But we didn't actually say anything that we didn't intend to say after serious consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Our province actually governs the exact wording of the vows, and you're not allowed to change them. You can add extra parts where you make your little speech, but if you want to get married in the province, you have to say the prescribed words.
Blech. How annoying! Here (PA, USA) - you pay the fee, the appropriate people sign the certificate and it's legal. You can get a "Quaker" license and marry yourselves - don't even need an "official". The ceremony itself is just for show - you can do whatever the hell you want.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I guess there's two kinds of pretense. There's pretense to the world, and pretense to each other. We discussed our relationship boundaries very extensively, and we knew exactly which parts of the pre-written government ceremony we agreed with and which parts we were just saying for convenience.

...The wedding was all about us. That some people heard me say some stuff that I didn't mean doesn't concern me. I didn't marry them. I married my husband, and he knows what I truly meant. I think that's what counts.
That's how I would have viewed it if I lived somewhere where you HAD to say certain words to get married. All that really matters is what you and your partner(s) agree matters.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
To me, the commitment and promises are about what we say to one another every day and reinforce with our actions. The wedding is not the marriage. Standing up in front of our friends and family and repeating some words does not a marriage make, it just puts it down on paper.
Amen and hallelujah! I have been told by people in the past that I am not "really" married because...I didn't change my name, we aren't sexually exclusive, I ID as bisexual, etc. (Interestingly, I have also been told that I am not "really" bisexual because I am married...go figure.)

Well, I consider myself married, my husband thinks he is married, the government lets us file taxes as "married", and I can name him as a beneficiary without hassle on financial documents/etc. - that's "married" enough for me. I don't really give a flying fuck what other people think I mean when I say "married" - that's their problem.

*****

Now, a more interesting question, to me is... would I do it again? Say if MrS and I met now, rather than 20 years ago - yes, probably, but for different, more practical reasons - at that point in my life I wanted the "security" of official sanction (I was 22 when we got married). I'm secure in our commitment with/or without the official recognition - so it would be more of a financial decision at this point. Same commitment, same promises, but without official sanction...I'd be fine with that - now.

If multiple marriages were allowed by law would I "marry" Dude, too? Maybe? Not yet? I could see the possibility of this in the future, but our relationship is not "there" yet. We are in what GalaGirl would probably refer to as a "period of discernment" - we are coming at things from different perspectives, we are figuring out what we mean to each other and what that means. We are committed to figuring shit out and not backing away when it gets hard...we are talking about years/decades/"forevers" of future togetherness as being an achievable goal, but it could still come to pass that we find out that we are fundamentally incompatible for that time frame - but we are both game for exploring the possibilities.

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Old 03-29-2013, 08:54 PM
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I also totally understand the whole "legal contract" approach of marriage.

My former supervisor and his wife got married because it was the only way she could get a Visa to stay with him in the US when he was going to school. They were all anti-marriage before that, but they figured it was just the easiest way to cut through the red tape. They were already planning on being together forever anyway, and they were common-law so all the property division stuff already applied.

I remember one person on here mentioning that the only reason she's married to the father of her children is so she could be on his health insurance.

Ultimately, I think marriage is whatever it means to the people in a specific marriage. No two marriages are alike, no matter how close the resemblance from an outsider's view. As long as both people in that marriage agree on what it means to them, then everyone else can just butt out.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:12 PM
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My first wedding was in France. Here, if you want a ceremony (religious or otherwise), you have to do it after the legal one. We're not religious, so like most non-religious people I know in France, we only had the legal one.

It has no walking down the aisle, it has no aisle. We showed up, there was a room with lots of chairs all facing a big desk, my future husband and I were sat in the front middle ones, our witnesses on either side of us, then our immediate family, then in the rows behind everyone else who had been invited sat wherever they wanted.
We were only ask to stand up and say "I do" (or rather, "oui"), the rest was the deputy mayor making a whole speech about what getting married meant.
Before it all started, two attendants who were the official witnesses asked if we were going to exchange rings, in which case they would have left room for that. We did not, which is also common (although usually because the people are planning to exchange rings in the second ceremony).

So, in short, nothing traditional occurred. We never wore rings because we didn't really see the point of them.

I'm planning to marry my second husband at some point. We already wear rings, because when I lived with my first husband and S and I were apart so much, it gave us something to be linked by. Originally my first husband Raga was supposed to get one too, but he wasn't present when we got them (spur of the moment) and I didn't know his size so I picked up a brochure, brought it to him and he was completely uninterested. So he never got one.
Sorry for the long background. My point is that we're going to use them as wedding rings, so we will be wearing rings, unlike my first marriage.
I'm also planning to walk down the aisle. I don't care that it started as a father giving his daughter away. I like the symbol of walking there as he waits for me. To me it's more about me showing up late than anything else, really.
I don't know who will walk me down the aisle, but the person who does will not, in my opinion, be giving me away. They will be there for support and to rejoice with me in that important event in my life. They'll be there to hold me back and make sure I walk there rather than just run and jump in his arms :P

Traditions might have an original meaning, sure, but in the end they mean what you want them to mean. Marriage was a property transaction but it doesn't have to be that every time. I plan to have ceremonies with anyone I consider to be my husband, regardless of how legal they'll be, and I see it as saying to the world "we've decided we're in this together, and we love each other, and we're committed to each other". And I don't think marriage is necessary but as long as people want to get married, I don't see why one should prevent them, either.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:21 AM
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I don't know who will walk me down the aisle, but the person who does will not, in my opinion, be giving me away. They will be there for support and to rejoice with me in that important event in my life. They'll be there to hold me back and make sure I walk there rather than just run and jump in his arms :P
LoL yeah... as much as anything, I just wanted an arm to hold on to so I didn't fall down the concrete steps in the Agriculture Atrium at the University. We did it in a public space on campus, pre-decorated with whatever houseplants they had growing at the time.
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