For feminists, weddings in general are littered with landmines of gender politics -- from the wearing of white to the keeping of names to the asking of permission for someone's hand. It's certainly no secret that the tradition of having a father walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day and "give" her away is deeply rooted in sexism, basically symbolizing the passing of a woman -- the "property" of one man, her father -- to the next man, her husband.
The fact is, Meghan Markle can have her mom, or Prince William, or Prince Charles, or no one at all walk her down the aisle. She can walk down the aisle by herself if she wants to. It is her choice.
Being walked down the aisle by a father does reinforce the perception of women's economic dependency, but also carries the strong implication that women are incapable of being in control of their own lives.
I had my wedding at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a neutral but feminist space, and had my brother-in-law read the passage on marriage from the Koran, which emphasizes equality in your union, something many people don't associate with Muslim unions. I also had an entire table of my then-colleagues from the Feminist Majority Foundation at the wedding. The point is, we did a lot of things not usually done in either my husband's or my cultural wedding traditions. We pulled the whole thing off, and survived.
Markle has said that she does not feel as though she is giving anything up by not acting anymore, but rather views her focus on more humanitarian causes as a change and a new chapter.
She will make her own decisions about modernity, tradition, and who walks her down the aisle. And it is precisely this attitude that makes Meghan Markle an authentic, relatable, modern bride.
Because, after all, isn't respecting a woman's decision, whatever it may be, at the core of what feminism and the modern woman are supposed to be about?