CAKEzine ...Identity through an alternative wedding literature
The world is built in such a way that we must pick our labels, usually supplied in binaries, we lamented that it often feels as though we are left with little options but to define our identities through these labels, the meaning of which are always changing. Leading us to then buy (and buy into) another set of labels. All the while we must present ourselves as constant and reliably the same. We nonetheless concluded that we have influence and can question those labels to challenge what their meaning is to us. One way to do so is to adopt a historical approach to understanding how those meanings have changed and why. Another is to work with labels guided by feminist intersectionality thought. These labels are constructions, which never conclusive and always open to reinterpretation.
Non-conformity is seen as a failure. If you don’t have a certain type of wedding or lifestyle, you’re a failure. People are more forgiving if you do a bad version of the normal thing than any kind of alternative version of it. We should learn to move forward and question dominant models by forgetting expectations. The idea of living out the debt of previous bargains is ridiculous and we should call it out. This applies to claims of what is natural as well as claims of what is right, just, best or simply how things have always been done. These thoughts lead to getting over the stigmatization of failure. Accepting failure means giving yourself freedom to do what you like, what feels good. This includes thinking in new ways about how it might be otherwise.
Weddings as an institution, event and idea embodied many of our concerns and critiques around identity. All our personal concerns and interests seemed to encircle, manifest or play out in a wedding on a heightened level. The wedding became the benchmark, in so many ways, for our problems with the present system. It embodies so many heterosexual stereotypes, power dynamics, and neoliberal influences.
We began to develop propositions for a queer wedding or a queer critique of weddings. We began to question how we could disrupt the narrative composition within weddings that reinforce heterosexual normativity.
The project set out to reflect on understandings of identity by developing a critical approach to weddings. In an effort to critically read and reinterpret the wedding discourse we chose an extremely popular format: the wedding magazine. The heteronormative and neoliberal logic of weddings plays out on the pages of these magazines in vivid spreads and catchy phrases, top-down editorial decisions and production decisions.
This process allowed us to identify discrete points of concern and develop critical positions on them. Our approach aimed to open up these points, to lay them and their ideological baggage bare, rather than demonize them.
CAKEzine is fed up with wedding! It’s also a zine dedicated to making strange the familiar.
Enshrined in marriage are a host of inequalities, constraints and constructs.
CAKEzine is against discrimination guilded in tradition.
CAKEzine is against the toxic state-sponsored economic policies of the nuclear family.
CAKEzine is against the marital cash nexus.
CAKEzine is against the sex-gender industrial complex.
What we see effects what we imagine, so we aim to challenge the normal imagery of a ‘white wedding’ to be a more inclusive, equal, diverse and entertaining ritual.
Marriage doesn’t mean what it has supposedly always meant anymore. That much is decided. What remains unclear is what marriage could be.
CAKEzine is intended to explore, empower, and entertain its readers to imagine those alternatives.
Photos of the zine
Responsible for this project; Paul Flanders, Chiao-Wen Hsu, Henna Lampinen, Lucie Maine and Juha Vehmaanperä