Home > family, marriage, media > A Sucker for the Bridal Industry

A Sucker for the Bridal Industry

Bride WarsSo my coffee table is *covered* with bridal magazines (and one issue of Fitness). On the mantle, on display, are the gorgeous bargain earrings I picked out. I have hundreds of Internet “favorites” in a folder marked, “Wedding.” Oh no! The industry’s gotten to me!

It was only a matter of time. I am an unabashed romantic. I love love, I love the fact that I’m going to be married, and I’m excited that I am lucky enough to be able to plan a wedding, and most importantly, I love my fiancé.

When it comes to the wedding industry, I generally think it’s perfectly okay to be romantic, enjoy “girly” things, and revel in bridal excitement. I think I can do these things and still be thoughtful and intelligent about it; all aspects of planning a wedding aren’t evil (though the industry as a whole can be) and I enjoy many of the traditions & symbols inherent in weddings.

That said, this weekend I watched two horrible products of the wedding industry and actually enjoyed them! (gasp!)

I watched Bride Wars, which by many accounts, is a terrible movie. It could have been a good satire, and passed up a chance to be an intelligent commentary on such things as the nature of womens’ friendships, the bridal industry, and how wedding planning affects relationships with your fiancé and how we perceive ourselves. And it missed on all counts! The movie is a nightmare. Horribly inconsistent, completely impossible storyline, and inane drama. (Although Anne Hathaway is excellent, as always). And still, I watched it–twice! (For the record, my favorite aspect were the depictions of the friendship between the two women; this, I thought, was relatively well done.)

Also tonight was the premiere of the newest season of “Bridezillas.” Am I completely insane? “Bridezillas” is terrible! I swear, those women must be coached, or maybe paid under the table. But I still watch it. And unfortunately, also the “10 Best Bridezilla Moments” that aired before it.

This show is particularly awful; it perpetuates horrible stereotypes, most notably the White Trash stereotype, but also the “Oh No She Di-in’t” Angry Black Woman stereotype and, new for this season, the fiery hot-Latina stereotype. It’s particularly cruel. And still, I watch. The women are abusive and mean — and fascinating. Most of the time, I turn the show off in the middle because it’s so awful. But I still patronize it. Horrible!

What does it say about women when we buy into the Bridal Industry? Are we all, no matter how intelligent & thoughtful, susceptible to the Wedding Industrial Complex? And, why, much to the chagrin of the feminists, do we treat marriage as an exclusive club to which we have FINALLY gained admission?

In other cultures, the wedding preparation is a time of reflection, when a bride gets together with other women and prepares for the next stage of her life. Fully acknowledged are the different emotions inherent in such a change: sorrow for the bride leaving her family; a sense of mystery about the marriage bed; the anticipation of starting a new life & family. These emotions are still felt, despite Americans’ best attempts to hide them, and I wonder if our bridal-planning stage is our expression of that.

Categories: family, marriage, media
  1. Janice
    September 28, 2009 at 8:05 am

    You people are so dumb. You’re wasting billions and billions of dollars that our economy could be using to help other people who actually need nice things to survive! Just get eloped and use the money for a better cause!

    • secretsociologist
      October 13, 2009 at 9:26 pm

      What does this comment even mean?!

      Weddings are important; marriages are important, and the celebration of that is part of what makes society what it is. I am not personally “wasting” anything. The money brides spend actually helps thousands of people and keeps them employed in their professions (but I guess they were stupid for choosing to work in the wedding industry…?!). Yes, the fetishization of “bridal culture” has gone a bit too far. But fixing that doesn’t mean eliminating weddings entirely. The only “dumb” person here is you, for failing, on SO MANY levels, to understand that the need for celebration is part of human nature, and for just… failing in general.

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