This is my sex entry for those of you (you know who you are) who want me to sex this blog up. I’ve never thought of “Dear Abby,” as my source for feminism, but here’s what she has to say about that little wedding ritual where the bride feeds the groom cake.
Abby quotes Tad Tuleja’s Curious Customs. “The cake-cutting at modern weddings is a four-step comedic ritual that sustains masculine prerogatives in the very act of supposedly subverting them.
“In the first step, the groom helps direct the bride’s hand–a symbolic demonstration of male control. . . . She accepts this gesture and, as further proof of submissiveness, performs the second step, offering him the first bite of cake, the gustatory equivalent of her body, which he will have the right to ‘partake of’ later.
“In the third step, the master-servant relationship is temporarily upset, as the bride mischievously pushes the cake into her new husband’s face. . . . Significantly, this act of revolt is performed in a childish fashion, and the groom is able to endure it without losing face because it ironically demonstrates his superiority: His bride is an imp needing supervision.
“That the bride herself accepts this view is demonstrated in the ritual’s final step, in which she wipes the goo apologetically from his face. . . . She is once again obedient to his wiser judgment. Thus, the entire tableau may be seen as a dramatization of the tensions in favor of the dominance of the male.”