Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Can’t buy me love — or patriarchy or materialism or…

I agree with Ann Friedman’s point here…

diamond-ringAs Dana points out, the engagement ring doesn’t quite mean what it used to — a downpayment on a woman’s virginity. But I would argue that in many cases, an expensive diamond ring does still function as a signal to other men that a woman is “taken” by someone who has paid a lot of money to tell the world that she’s his. The bigger the rock, the stronger the “off limits” signal.

…but I think that the phenomenon of buying as big a diamond as you can also has something to do with the ethic of competitive consumerism. It’s not just a relic of a sexist practice; it still is one, as any notion of buying a ring for a woman to “claim” her for marriage would be. But I think it’s also tied up in a dynamic of purchasing the gaudiest, most expensive thing you can to somehow show your “love.” Think buying a Lexus for Christmas — but with creepier, patriarchical overtones.

(image from Tambako the Jaguar under a Creative Commons license)

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April 7, 2009 - Posted by | Feminism | ,

1 Comment »

  1. This all may be true to some degree, but I would estimate that in most cases, men buy these giant rings because women want them. Guys who buy them to “stake their claim” were probably still jealous, chauvinistic jerks before they bought the ring, when they were presumably in a relationship with the recipient.

    Having gotten married, and bought an engagement ring prior to that marriage (albeit not a gaudy one), I don’t feel like I did it to demonstrate any proprietary claim.

    Comment by Kenny B. | April 9, 2009 | Reply


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