To many brides, having a great bachelorette party is an important part of getting married. It’s a time to bond with your closest friends and mark a significant moment in your life. Plus, it’s a chance to really cut loose without your great aunt Nancy and future mother-in-law keeping a watchful eye over the proceedings. But let’s face it, a lot of what happens at a bachelorette is pretty sexist.
Maybe it’s just because we were late to the game: Bachelor parties have been happening since the 5th century BCE—really—whereas bachelorette parties didn’t make it to the scene until over 2,000 years later, with the women’s revolution of the 1960s. But why should a night meant to give us the same opportunity to celebrate as men—that has its roots in a revolution of female independence—reduce us all to penis straws and male strippers? We’re better than that, ladies.
There’s no problem with getting wild and having a great time—you deserve it, especially with all the stress of wedding planning. But there are ways to do it that tone down the sexism. Here are some pointers for having a fun, sexy, and empowered bachelorette.
Consider a Combined Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
One of the most inherently sexist things about bachelorette parties: you’re supposed to divide them by the sexes. A lot of couples have chosen to move away from the penises and glitter in favor of one massive party with both the bride and the groom’s friends. Not only does it make the whole occasion feel less dated, but it also makes sense—you probably have shared friends, right? Isn’t it more special to have everyone celebrate together?
Or at Least a Party With All of Your Friends
If combining the parties isn’t your idea of a great time, that’s totally cool—you may want some bonding time with just you and your friends to get ready for the big day. But why not include all your friends? There’s no point in pretending that men and women can’t be platonic friends—we’re way beyond that. And there’s a good chance that there are important men in your life who you would want with you on such a big night. Why leave them out?
Don’t Refer to It as "the Last Night of Freedom"
You are not being traded to your husband for an ox. You do not come with a dowry. In no sense is this your last night of freedom—plus, if you’ve been in a committed relationship, your last night of sexual freedom was probably some time ago. And invoking that rhetoric makes it seem like your life is over once you get married. You’re still going to be an amazing, incredible, independent woman. Your life doesn’t end with marriage—nor does it start with marriage. Sure, marriage is a massive, exciting moment that changes a lot of things—but you’ll still be you when the big day is over. So, don’t act like your bachelorette is the last night of your life.
Avoid Strippers—at All Costs
Feminism means equality—equality for everyone. Objectifying someone, especially one in a career path that so often exploits women (and sometimes men), shouldn’t be on the agenda. Even if you were going to go with a male stripper, why not swap it out for an activity that is a little more respectful? Going out dancing with your friends can be very sexy, without getting sexist.
If You Do Costumes, Keep Them Empowered
If you want to dress up, that’s great—it’s your party and it should be all about your idea of a good time. But instead of costumes that reduce women to nothing more than hair, eyelashes, and boobs, why not embrace costumes that also show off how strong, intelligent, and amazing they are? You can still look great while showcasing female empowerment—look at the suffragettes. Doll up as much as you want, but look strong as hell while you do it.
It’s easy to have a bachelorette where you have an incredible, over-the-top time, with none of the sexism. Just focus on what your marriage and your friendships mean to you and how they should be celebrated—let that lead the way. Plus, there are tons of sexy and strong women you can draw from. In fact, who else thinks Wonder Woman wear may be the bachelorette trend of 2017? Let’s do it, ladies.