Redhills trustee Rachael Lennon has launched her debut book Wedded Wife: A Feminist History of Marriage, which was released on 20th April 2023.

What is Wedded Wife about?

The book, which is Rachael’s debut, explores themes such as the pressure to marry, the politics surrounding proposals, the spectacle of marriage, and the business behind it. As well as a look at the pressures tied to consummation, issues such as taking a man’s name, the nuances of marriage vows and obedience, ‘having it all’ and trying to keep up the fight to have an enduring marriage.

Having married her wife just a few years after legalising same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom, Rachael interweaves her marriage experiences with stories and anecdotes from throughout history. She explores how the history of marriage continues to influence, pressure and shape women’s choices today.

In shaking off patriarchal expectations, Rachael examines marriage’s troubling past. She celebrates a more joyful present, celebrating the feminist activists who have fought to make marriage a more equitable celebration of love, open regardless of gender or sexuality.

She asks what compels us to keep making this choice. Can we let go of the gendered baggage that we have inherited? Can we hold true to feminist values as we commit to our partners? And what does that look like? How can we build on the past to continue to redefine marriage for the future?

Where can you purchase Wedded Wife: A Feminist History of Marriage?

You can purchase Rachael’s book online at Waterstones. You can also read an interview with Rachael, which was published in The Observer here.

Who is Rachael Lennon?

Rachael is a heritage practitioner, curator and writer. She currently works as Strategic Cultural Partnership Manager at Newcastle University.

Rachael sits on the Collections Management Group for Queer Britain, the UK’s new national LGBTQ+ museum. In 2020 she founded the Queer Heritage and Collections Network, an award-winning UK-wide research network which provides training, guidance and support to museums and heritage organisations working with LGBTQ+ collections. Rachael grew up in Birtley and Chester-Le-Street and now lives in Durham City. She has worked for a range of independent museums and galleries across the North