By Kendra Clark
Stag Do’s have been around since as long as weddings have been around, they trace so far back in time that there isn’t really much evidence that confirms when they actually first began. However the majority of researchers believe that they go as far back to ancient Greece where the Spartans began the tradition in the 5th century BC. During this time, women were not equal with their male counterparts as they were unable to vote, own or inherit land and a women’s purpose in life was to be a housewife and have children. In Athens women were actually considered lower than slaves and were not allowed any forms of freedom, they were not even allowed to walk the streets unaccompanied by a man.This would differ between the different areas of Greece where to contrast, in Sparta, they were slightly more equal as they were thought to be more independent and could even own property. However across all city-states, it was considered improper for a women to have a political opinion.
The history surrounding the beginning of stag do’s is important because if women were not treated equally when they were created, it’s hard to imagine that stag parties respected the brides boundaries and wishes. It’s also very interesting to compare how different the bride and grooms celebrations were the nights before their wedding. Whilst the groom would hold his stag do and focus on the loss of his bachelorhood in all ways you could imagine, the bride would anticipate her loss of virginity and make offerings and sacrifices to the gods. She and her mother would especially pray to Artemis, the goddess of chastity and childbirth. A women’s place in life was to be at her husbands side when stag do’s began and arguably, they have not changed that much since then, meaning that modern men may be disregarding and degrading the bride to be just as much as ancient Greek men used to do.
Just like the traditional ideology of a bachelor party, modern day stag dos still symbolise the last time when a groom is truly “free” and without the influence of his new wife. But if you’re looking at the last night of being unmarried as freedom, doesn’t that mean you see marriage as being trapped? Which if that’s the case, why is anyone getting married at all?
Needless to say, stag do’s should not be cancelled at all but maybe just modernised. Of course, hen parties can be as offensive to men, but the historical source of them is not nearly as crass or brazen as the mens version. This is because women of the past would actually celebrate being married and pray for the future, however men typically saw marriage and women as almost a burden or something that was expected of them and would mourn their loss of bachelorhood.
It should also be noted some of the activities that typically take place. Such as going to a strip club. Some people even believe that a stag do is not done right without some lap dances. Of course, there are some women who are more than happy with things like this but looking back at the history of this tradition it can seem really disrespectful. So if you’re planning on going to a strip club its probably best, for your sake, to speak to the bride beforehand.
A funnier tradition and leaning more towards the bright side, is stag do’s getting all dressed up (or dressed down in this case) in something crazy and embarrassing. For example, in 2019 The Sun reported that four British men were in trouble with police for their costumes, with the headline “Brit ‘stag lads’ facing jail for parading through Polish city in mankinis”. The purpose of dressing up on stag do’s is always to humiliate the groom and have fun whilst doing so, just like when a stag party in Benidorm strapped the naked groom to a tree with clingfilm. These are the kind of traditions that more women find funny and would much rather their husband to be do than be in a strip club.
Clearly I’m not saying that we should be cancelling stag do’s and eliminating all fun activities, but rather if you’re planning one then read up on the history of them for a short five minutes. During this time you’ll find out why some women are disgusted by the practice. After doing so you may find that some of your plans may have been more appropriate a couple hundred years ago or could be needlessly reckless. If done right, stag do’s can be so much fun and a really good night to remember, but if done wrong some women have actually canceled their weddings over what happened during the grooms stag do. It’s seriously something you don’t want to mess up.