Right. I’m annoyed. This is wedding related. It’s been brewing a while.
We are being disappeared from history. An official public record is representing us as the less important sex even now, in 2012.
In England, when you apply to get married and when you write your name in the register, you have to give your father’s name and his occupation. There is absolutely no mention of your mother, because obviously a) who cares who your mother is and b) How on earth could her occupation could be of any interest to future generations whatsoever?
When I asked the nice man at the registry office why this was (sorry I can’t remember your name, nice man at the registry office) he agreed it was ridiculous but said it would require an act of parliament to change it and it’s a bit faffy for such a small piece of legislation (I paraphrase). More sensibly, on the Civil Partnership certificate people do put their mothers’ details, he said. It’ll be interesting, said he, in about twenty year’s time, since now two women are entitled to register themselves as a child’s parents and their children will start getting married around then.
There are loads of arguments for recording your mother’s details on your marriage certificate.
Let’s put to one side (and people do love to) the fact that she carried you in her womb for nine months, went through the agony of childbirth and probably spent at least three months sleepless to make sure you survived past infancy.
Quite simply, it’s sexually discriminatory not to have them there. Fathers should not be officially more relevant than mothers. It’s symbolic of our opinions as a society.
The truth is, women have jobs these days. They are doctors, teachers, midwives, middle managers, call-centre workers, management consultants, cleaners and some are even allowed to be politicians and one or two run countries. Your mother’s job might well be more interesting and historically relevant than your father’s. Maybe she had one profession at the time of your birth (which you’re magnanimously allowed to record) and another at the time of your marriage. These things are relevant. Our descendants might actually be interested in this stuff and might – gasp! – want to follow their family history through the female line.
I find the traditions of English Christian weddings a bit tricky already. Conventions like being given away by your father, the women at the wedding being mute, and having bridesmaids present to fend off the devil seem a bit archaic to me. But you could at least argue that they’re nice old folksy things that we don’t want to lose because we don’t want to forget our cultural traditions.
I cannot see a single argument why the official government document that records a major event in a family’s history should disregard mothers, motherhood and, let’s face it, women. Basically, women are being left out of history because nobody can be arsed to change the law.
So I’m on a mission. Anyone with me?
Recently I saw this petition started by someone with, I hope, more sticking power than me. Please sign it.
Typically, I lost impetus and my epetition is now closed.
I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren to know I existed. And I want yours to know you did, too.