The Crown Princess of Sweden's father will escort her down the aisle at her wedding next month, but her decision to include him in the ceremony has been publicly denounced as "a step back for gender equality."
Remember that while it's common in America for fathers to give away their daughters, the Swedes have long since rejected this tradition in favor of brides and grooms walking hand-in-hand down the aisle, symbolizing the equality of their union. Only 1 in 10 Swedish brides are "given away."
"Being given away is a new phenomenon which occasionally occurs in the Church of Sweden," says Archbishop Anders Wejryd, head of the Swedish church. "I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouses' equality."
Priest and theologian Annika Borg agrees, and called Princess Victoria's decision "unSwedish," continuing, "the idea of the couple entering the church together symbolizes that the man and the woman are entering the marriage of their own free will."
We're not sure how easy it will be to discuss this here in the US, where the tradition of being escorted down the aisle is far more common (in fact, most wedding's we've attended have included it!), but let's try:
It is true that the roots of the tradition originate in patriarchy, and the giving of "property" from one man to another. But it's also true that that's not what it symbolizes anymore to many brides-to-be (or to their dads looking forward to it).
And it should be remembered that this is what the Princess has publicly stated she wants, not something that is being forced upon her. On the other hand, it is part of her role to represent her nation, which is strongly apposed to this tradition on moral and ethical grounds.
So this issue is a confusing one: National, religious and cultural traditions all colliding in Sweden, and being judged by people throughout the world with very different perspectives.
What do you think? As a political figure and national representative, do her wishes for her wedding outweigh what Sweden's value system?