by Caitlin Martella, Toronto ON

The music starts up – Canon in D, the traditional march, and as you look down at your bouquet and shimmering white gown, you smile to yourself. “This is it” you say, and with that, you put one foot in front of the other and walk towards the man you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. All of a sudden, your name is being called and you hear people snicker as you look up at the teacher who just disrupted your dream. You sigh to yourself, answer her question, and continue to think about your long white dress and the walk down the aisle.

You’re only 16 years old, yet you seem to want to rush into this whole marriage thing already. You’ve picked out your bridesmaids and their dresses, you’ve been to every wedding show in the city, and you’ve even got your side of the guest list written up. What I like to call this is Matrimania. A disease that almost all teenagers get at least once by the time they’re 16.

What is it that makes a wedding so special that teens are ALREADY thinking about it, though? Well, for one thing, weddings and marriage in general are way too glamorized for their own good. Take the world of Disney for example. Not one of the female characters in a Disney movie is happily ever after until she is married to that handsome prince of hers. And in other movies, there’s always such a beautiful bride and a handsome groom and a wonderful celebration. The movies don’t always look into what happens AFTER the ceremony and reception. All that teens, and even older women, see, is a beautiful bride, who they imagine they’ll look like when they’re in the same situation, a handsome groom, and a beautiful event. The long white dress, the fresh flowers, the beautiful cake, and all of the other stuff that come along with weddings, this is what they are looking forward to.

Also, marriage is seemed to be a step into success for a woman. If she finds a suitable husband and, in turn, marries him, she is considered to be successful. All her friends gush and let her know how lucky she is to be marrying. If she does nothing else in life, she will still be looked at as successful because she is wed. She is now ‘protected’ and ‘well-off’ if she has a man to ‘support’ her. He will bring in the money, he will protect her, and he will be a good husband, so it’s played out. But these days, that’s not always how it turns out in the end, and it’s not as easy as it seems. In the 90s, both the husband and wife work, unless there is a good salary coming in from one end, and both members of the relationship are sometimes so pressed for time that there is not much time for each other. A lot of other problems might come up between a married couple, and out of every marriage, about 43% end up in divorce these days. Still think it’s so great? I didn’t think so.

So, I suppose a lot of the illusion that marriage is such a great and wonderful thing, though a lot of the time it is, comes from the media and our society. As women (especially young women), we are constantly being made to believe that it’s bad to be single and on your own. What the media should really start doing though, is making us feel powerful by ourselves and allow us to become the beautiful, independent creatures that we should be. So, think about this, before saying ‘I do’ to a man who might not be the greatest for you, take some time to know yourself and appreciate all the things you can do on your own!

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