Wedding Bands and Rings

Wedding Bands and Rings: Bands and Rings as an Androgynous Culture

Wedding bands, traditionally speaking, get seen as a woman’s thing. Something for women. It’s decidedly not for men. The reasons for this are several. Part of the issue comes from basic cultural stereotypes. Another is a confluence of factors. It comes down to the conflation of terms.

Whether wedding bands or wedding rings, the neutrality of the language should allow an easing of the culture into allowing men and women to take part in this tradition more equally. Americans love marriage. Why not share the loving expressions equally?

For example, a wedding band is different than a wedding ring. A wedding band can be worn by men and women, as a wedding ring can be worn by men and women. Often, the wedding band and wedding ring can be conflated items. 

When people say, “Wedding ring,” they mean, “Wedding band”; when they say, “Wedding band,” they mean, “Wedding ring.” In either case, though, most often, both terms are used to mean the wedding ring.

Culturally, it is assumed as more important to the woman, to the female partner, to the wife, in contrast to the man, the male partner, or the husband. So, commentary will be directed to the idea of women.

It will directly be stated about or spoken about the woman when speaking of either a wedding band or a wedding ring. Both will associate with the wedding ring and the woman. It’s in all the shows. It’s in much of the media. 

Wedding bands and wedding rings are seen as women’s things because weddings are seen as women’s things. So, there’s a lot of work to break down some of the cultural assumptions. Because there seem to be indications the men wouldn’t mind that much.

In that, men simply wouldn’t mind if given the chance. However, there’s a stigma to men being too gung-ho about weddings in general. So, if you are partnered with a man, then one thing is to make space.

Or if you’re a man reading this, then you can request some room. The idea is to get some social legroom to stretch out and try new things, including considering wedding bands. If this is truly important as a couple, then this is something requiring reflection.

We all come with cultural and social baggage. Our collective thou shalts and thou shalt nots governing our lives. How we present ourselves, live our lives, choose our path, and select partners if we do, it’s about inertia and individual choice. 

Yes, we have baggage. No, we don’t not have a choice; we have choices. That’s where these cultural norms can be questioned, individually, and in relationships. How do we want to present our best selves to the public, to friends, to the family?

In reality, with an opening of the flood gates on so many gender conversations, wedding bands or wedding rings seem like an easy question. It’ll be one of those things most easily adapted. For one, many women and men may want to see this as a gal thing. 

However, many men are likely more passive and open to it. They simply don’t take the initiative because they’ve imbibed the message of weddings as a woman’s thing. It’s something out there for the taking by both men and women.

It’s just going to take a minor decision individually and as couples. Because they’re wedding bands and wedding rings. They don’t have a gendered expression in the language. They have a gendered manifestation particular to cultural interpretations.

So, it’s only a matter of changing the culture or those manifestations of gender in the culture. No alteration of the language necessary. In this sense, wedding bands and wedding rings can be seen as an androgynous culture. Neither for men or for women, but both.

While, most commonly, it’s expressed as something womanly rather than manly. More realistically, it should be seen as something consequential financially and androgynous culturally. Rings can cost a lot. But they can mean even more to the men and the women in relationships.

And that’s the end game in what matters, regardless, finding some meaning in love with a partner.

Photo by Andre Jackson on Unsplash

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen