“Why you gotta be so rude? Don’t you know I’m human, too” Why you gotta be so rude? I’m gonna marry her anyway.”
Marriage as a social institution has existed since the inception of modern society. For reasons of procreation, finances, and simply convenience, marriage served as a way to unite individuals, and more importantly, families. This “traditional marriage” involved a man and a woman who were both virgins, with the woman being “given away” by her father to her new husband. To this day, marriages still involve the father walking his daughter down the aisle to “give his daughter away” to another man. The troubling aspect of the discourse surrounding marriage is the patriarchal construct which is interwoven into so many aspects of it. What if someone doesn’t have a father to walk them down the aisle? What if they have two mothers instead? Alternatively, what if two men are getting married? Who walks whom down the aisle in that situation? Institutions such as marriage directly reflect dominant social discourse. No matter how far society drifts away from using marriage as it was originally constructed, troubling patriarchal discourses still remain.
Marriage as a reflection of dominant discourses also plays into the concept of compulsory heterosexuality for all individuals within our society. According to Hunter in “Change and continuity in American marriage,” 90% of individuals in America get married at least once in their lifetime. Until fairly recently, the only type of marriage allowed legally in the United States has been between opposite gendered individuals. Marriage, then, serves as a reinforcement to compulsory heterosexuality in our society.
In the song popular song “Rude” by Magic, the singer (a man) is expressing his anger about his prospective wife’s father who will not “give his blessing” to their marriage. He then goes on to say “I’m gonna marry her anyway,” which does leave one to wonder whether she wants to marry him as well. The entire song reflects the societal notion that a woman must be “given” from one man to another as if she is property. Worse even is the song’s failure to mention her own consent in the matter, or really anything about her at all.
Would this song be better if the singer was a female but all of the other pronouns remained the same?
Why do you think the tradition of a father “handing” his daughter off to her husband has remained so ingrained in our society?
Would you expect your significant other to ask the permission of your father before asking you to marry them?