Each time I've been pregnant, I've had a close friend who was pregnant at the same time. It's been awesome to have someone to commiserate with, and a friend on maternity leave at the same time as me. Inevitably, though, someone always makes a joke about our kids marrying each other some day. It seriously rubs me the wrong way. You might think these kinds of jokes are innocent, but there are a few reasons why I won't joke with my BFF about planning our kids' wedding.
Before you tell me to lighten up and not be so sensitive, consider the idea that talking about who your kids might marry before they are even out of diapers is presumptive, heteronormative, and sort of implies that parents should have a say. It might seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it perpetuates this idea that kids, especially daughters, are under our constant and unwavering control. I don't see my kids as property, and even if I did, it's not likely that my kids will let me pick who they love or marry someday (if they even get married at all).
Also, I am so tired of people sexualizing kids. It seems like baby stores everywhere are filled with onsies that say things like, "ladies' man," "future princess," and even "lock up your sons, daddy's got guns." For real, I wish I was joking. Let's let our kids be kids. It's not cool to project adult ideas about sexuality and marriage on them, especially archaic, sexist ones.
So, as much as I love my BFF and her baby, I'm not going to joke about our kids getting married some day.
Why do we assume that our kids will get married or even that they will want to get married. It's pretty presumptive.
We don't often joke about our two sons or two daughters marrying each other one day down the road, or even consider that our kids might not be straight.
I Don't Sexualize My Kids
I don't like to think or joke about my kids doing adult things. It's gross.
I Believe In Autonomy
My kids have a right to control their own bodies and to love whomever they love, no matter how I feel about it. I don't get a say, so why would I joke about it?
Imagining a future where my kid marries the person of my choosing seems really sexist considering that not long ago, men were expected to ask parents for permission to marry their daughters. *shudders*
Children Aren't Property
I don't get to decide who my children marry someday. Just like the bullsh*t jokes about fathers having "rules for dating my daughter," these jokes assume ownership or decision making authority, when our kids are not property. Even though I do have a say in their ability to date before they turn 18 and what time they need to be home, I don't get to choose who they date or ultimately decide to spend their lives with.
It's Not Likely To Happen
The likelihood of this happening is so slim. Why do we even joke about it?
They Are Kids
They are kids. Why do we want to plan out their future relationships. I, for one, want my kids to stay kids as long as humanly possible.
Arranged Marriages Are A Reality For Many People
It's hard to believe, but arranged marriages still happen today and not just in other cultures and not just for adults. Child marriage is legal, not just in other countries, but in many U.S. states, too. In 2017, some parents still choose who their kids marry. This is not OK with me and is often harmful to the mainly girls whose autonomy is taken away. I don't think it's a laughing matter.
I'm A Feminist
I know it may seem like "just a joke," but as a feminist I refuse to participate in casual sexism, even if it seems innocent.