Wedding Rings and Gender Roles, Pt. 2


Last time I examined the discussion over whether or not men should have to wear wedding rings. Just about all of the arguments either for or against skipped one relevant consideration: whether or not women should have to or even enjoy wearing them.

Only one article I found briefly acknowledged the idea: the author said that neither of her parents has worn a wedding ring for decades, for a variety of reasons. That’s all we’ve got: in the wedding rings debate we have in-depth considerations of male class traditions, shifting perspectives of masculinity, and a man’s role in a marriage, but only one throwaway sentence about women in an article otherwise about men.

I understand that views on femininity have a lot to do with it. It is still the norm for women to wear jewelry much more than men. It just doesn’t stop irking me, though, that women are given so little consideration for themselves on the topic (aside from how they might feel about their husbands not wearing their rings, which, while valid, still views them by how they relate to men).

I don’t always wear my wedding ring. I don’t around the house and I don’t if I’m running errands or going out with friends. I do when I volunteer or am otherwise in situations where there is more social stigma attached to it (like when I attend my weekly quiz night at a bar). Although I find the ring much more comfortable than I did at first, I still don’t like it that much. My husband doesn’t care either way and because I don’t wear it he doesn’t either. This way we can keep them in a safe place. If he wore his all the time he’d take it off when doing a project and then leave it somewhere random.

Although the English major in me is all about interpreting symbols, in my day to day life I don’t have much use for them. Jon and I both know how we feel and we don’t need the rings to tell us anything. We also don’t have to justify ourselves or anything about our relationship to anyone else. So although I bow to stigma sometimes and put it on, I’m not really bothered about it. We trust each other completely; neither of us is going to cheat on the other. Even in a hypothetical situation the wedding ring is hardly a barrier to cheating.

If wedding rings are important symbols to you, fine. My stance on romance has always been that I have no problem with how others want to do it, as long as it’s not imposed on me. There are multiple valid, healthy ways to go about a marriage, and the wearing of rings is another facet of that.

If we can argue for some reasons why men might not want to wear their rings, I don’t see why the same can’t be applied to women. I realize that it’s one of our central mores, but at the end of the day I don’t see how my choice affects anyone else (other than my husband, who doesn’t care). Maybe single people might spend time flirting with a ringless person only to discover they’re married. But a person can still be in a committed relationship without a ring, so it’s a weak argument.

I guess this will just have to go down as another thing that Jon and I do differently. Hopefully at least some acknowledgement will spread that the wearing of rings is not such a one-sided issue.

Related Articles:

Diamonds Do Not Equal Love

Unpleasant Wedding Humor

Planning Special Moments

Quelling Irrational Romantic Expectations

*(The above image by Boykung is from