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Monday, April 17, 2017

The "Groom's Cake" Tradition is So Sexist

Enterprise cake. (Star Trek.) Image source.
From the moment I heard about the "groom's cake" tradition, I hated it.

Basically here's how the tradition goes: At the wedding, there's a second wedding cake, called a "groom's cake." They are often decorated according to the groom's interests and hobbies- go ahead and look on Google Images for some examples. Common themes include sports teams, video games, and Batman.

Yeah, not cool.

Because if the second cake is a "groom's cake", then what's the regular wedding cake? The bride's cake? This plays right into the cultural expectation that women have tons and tons of detailed opinions about EXACTLY how their wedding should be, and women are good at planning weddings, and men don't really care and don't have a responsibility to be involved. As if the wedding belongs to the bride, and the groom just kind of goes along with it.

I hate that stereotype. A wedding is for a couple. The wedding belongs to both the bride and groom, and the wedding cake belongs to both the bride and groom. (Note: I'm specifically talking about a wedding between opposite-sex partners, but don't forget that same-sex weddings exist too! And non-binary people exist!) Hendrix and I have talked about the cake design we want, and agreed on it. It's not "my" cake, it's our cake.

But here's the thing I hate the most about the "groom's cake" tradition: The "groom's cake" gets to be AWESOME. Like, seriously, look at those images on google. Cakes shaped like all sorts of colorful, fun, nerdy things. I love that! But if you call it a "groom's cake," you're saying I'm not allowed to have a cake like that, because I'm a woman.

If the regular wedding cake is the "bride's cake," that means that, if you're a woman, you're only allowed to have a cake that looks like what society expects a wedding cake to look like. White, layers, frosting piped like lace or flowers. You'll probably have people criticizing you if you have a cake that doesn't look wedding-y enough, or even claiming that it's just not allowed to have your wedding cake be Batman-themed, with no white, layered cake anywhere to be found at your wedding. I can easily imagine parents or relatives being like "well that's a nice idea, but not for a wedding cake."

As a nerd girl, this "groom's cake" nonsense is particularly hurtful to me, because I've had to spend so much effort purposely avoiding "feminine" interests, out of concern that people will see me as some kind of girly stereotype, and won't think I'm a nerd. The "groom's cake" tradition says that only grooms are interested in nerdy things; that brides certainly aren't nerdy enough to want a Star Trek cake instead of a white cake. This is not okay.

If you're a bride, your cake needs to look like what people think a wedding cake should look like. If you're a groom, your cake can be AWESOME. The whole "groom's cake" tradition says that women have to fit some feminine stereotype, and men get to be real people with unique interests. That's so sexist. We are NOT doing that.

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