Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Personal is Political in Young Love's "Bride and Broom"

"Bride and Broom" is a short five page story from Young Love #90 (December 1971), chronicling the arrest of head-strong Sally Marshall after her participation in a march for Women's Lib.

A confrontation with a boorish cop who not only has a problem with the changing social landscape -- but with the blocking of traffic as well, sweeps our leading lady off her feet and into a paddy wagon.

A little jail time gives Sally a chance to think more about her quest for equal rights and how it affects her marital relationship. To Sally, the two are not mutually exclusive. Her reflection is interrupted however, when she is sprung from jail by none other than the arresting officer.

An invitation for a cup of coffee with the cop seems to do them both a wealth of good. The cop expresses to Sally that he will try to learn more about the philosophy behind her beliefs, and she agrees to not cause any more trouble on his beat in return.

After the coffee and conversation, Sally and the police officer go their separate ways... or do they? A domestic scene is depicted immediately after, with Sally (notice how she is now donning a jumper dress instead of pants) cooking dinner, which makes her feel "peaceful" after the events of the day. She is not cooking an evening meal just for herself, however. Her husband comes home and it is at this point that we the reader learn that -- SURPRISE -- Sally's husband is the cop!!!

Though this type of O. Henry ending (a man and a woman pretending not to know each other and then later it is revealed that they have been husband and wife all along) is rather typical of romance comics during this period, this particular story drives home the resounding sentiment of the Women's Movement -- 'the personal is political.' By bringing the couple's marital relationship onto the streets of a rally, the husband is forced to acknowledge in the public sphere his wife's need for involvement outside their tranquil home.

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