Let me be clear; I love my parents dearly. Their opinion of my relationship is extremely valuable to me. That's why there will still be a parental blessing at the ceremony. That's why we aren't eloping. We want to stand before God, our families, and our community when we make that covenant commitment and pledge our love, faithfulness, and forever days to one another.
But I will not be given away. There will be no transaction from father to husband.
The "giving away" terminology bears the implication that I am property.
This implication stems from (what most consider to be) an archaic notion that women are less valuable than men, that for some reason women can be bought and sold like a horse or a house.
I'm sure my parents would agree that the leftovers of patriarchy in the wedding traditions are absurd, especially considering how empowered and strong many young women are today (I have a master's degree, thank you very much).
The problem is, there are still women in the world today who do not have control over who they marry, where (or if) they get an education, or what vocation they spend their lives in.
Jesting about how many goats my fiance will present to my father on my wedding day makes a mockery of women who are forced into relationships they don't want, neglected the education they deserve, and don't have the access to the freedoms I take for granted. Why don't we perceive similar statements on the same level of offensive as a joke about a black person being sold for $400 in a light-hearted throwback to slavery?
I'm thankful for the spiritual responsiblity my father has taken for my family, and I appreciate my future husband's willingness and ability to do the same for our family.
Being protected, loved, cherished, and on the same team as someone is completely different from being owned, traded, and counted among property. Women in America should be grateful for the equality they have fought for in terms of education, the workplace, and in the family. However, making light of what we consider an archaic system dismisses the sobering reality of the plight of millions of the world's women, our sisters who have no say, let alone control, over their marriages, education, and destiny.