World

Freedom Trash Can: Wedding ring

Wedding ring image
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Before its modern associations with love and romance, marriage was traditionally used to form tribal and political relationships.

Today ceremonies are big business, with a recent survey finding the average wedding costs couples in the UK £30,355 ($39,000).

Some argue the practice of marriage, and of engagement rings, is outdated and undermines feminism.

"I believe engagement rings are anti-feminist," says media strategist Matilde Suescún, writing for 100 Women.

"They symbolise an attitude which is in complete antithesis to the idea of an independent woman - signifying that the woman with the ring belongs to another person."

In 2015, marriage rates in the UK hit a record low, with the decline attributed to factors like the increased social acceptance of unmarried couples co-habiting and the potentially crippling cost of wedding ceremonies.

Select an object from the list and find out how it might be considered an object of oppression.

  • Make-up

    "Men aren't judged for leaving the house without a full face of make-up." - Anonymous

    Read more about Make-up
  • Uncomfortable fashion

    "I cannot fathom why people wear heels. They're painful, impractical and can cause permanent damage to your body." - Anonymous

    Read more about Uncomfortable fashion
  • Home cooking

    "I'm fed up of the idea of women belonging in the kitchen being normalised." - Emma

    Read more about Home cooking
  • Domestic chores

    "Equality begins in the family, so get off your backside and get cleaning, guys." - Anonymous

    Read more about Domestic chores
  • The bra

    "I shouldn't be forced to look 'pretty'. I am beautiful and intelligent without it." - Lisa

    Read more about The bra
  • Celebrity culture

    "All the models have the same body shape, and they look miserable. It's boring!" - Wendy

    Read more about Celebrity culture
  • Marriage

    "I believe engagement rings are anti-feminist - signifying that the woman with the ring belongs to another person." - Matilde

    Read more about Marriage
  • Social media

    "It's very toxic for young people's mental health, especially girls. They are constantly faced with unrealistic and dangerous ideals." - Roshan

    Read more about Social media
  • Gendered toys

    "All the gendered children's toys tell girls and boys they should only like certain things." - Anna

    Read more about Gendered toys
  • Bonus object

    What are objects of oppression? Discover the thinking behind the Freedom Trash Can and suggest your own object.

    Read more about Bonus object

But it's not all bad news for people who are marriage fans.

In the US and UK, the proportion of people marrying may have been decreasing for the last three decades, but divorce rates have been falling too.

Pick another object to explore