Womenless Weddings Used to be a Thing

When 'Womanless Weddings' Were Trendy, By Linton Weeks, June 16, 2015 - NPR.org 

So it definitely used to be a trend in the 1800s and early 1900s to hold fake comedic male-only weddings as fundraisers for charity (they hung around a bit in the latter half of the 1900s but they're pretty rare now). You can read more at the link below about them - it's a pretty straightforward article - but this part toward the end of the article really stuck out for me.

"So, when all the 'I do's' are said and done, what were womanless weddings all about? In his book, Friend suggests that the womanless wedding was a "ritual of inversion" created not to undermine, but to reaffirm community values.

Photo from 1918, in the Public Domain.

Photo from 1918, in the Public Domain.

'In mocking the very ritual they found most central to communal stability,' he writes, 'organizers and participants in womanless weddings raised questions about the society in which they lived. In the play, they called attention to real social change and its effects on marriage.'

But, Thompson adds, 'even as it reversed and violated the ideal, the womanless wedding replicated and buttressed reality.'"

You can find a lot of videos of these on YouTube, including one below. 

It's definitely...something. The NPR article ends with Stephanie Coontz (writer of "Marriage: A History") opining that they're out of fashion now because they're not very compatible with a society that now accepts same-sex marriage. The counter argument to that may be the existence and wide acceptance of drag queens in LGBTQIA culture. I guess the distinction is that 1. I don't know the statistics but I imagine the vast majority of drag queens or kings are at least accepting of LGBTQIA people, if they don't identify as part of that community, and 2. People participating in "womenless weddings" may not have been. Perhaps it could still be a thing in the right context, time and place, but I can definitely understand why it's gone out of style now.