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What about the President?

I’m sure there isn’t a bride of color anywhere in the US who wasn’t affected by the idiotic comments of Justice Keith Bardwell of Louisiana, about two weeks ago.

Having dealt with racism in its various forms my entire life (from the very overt to the completely subconscious), I am not at all shocked by these types of views. I am, however, disappointed and annoyed, for all kinds of reasons.

I have a strong suspicion that Bardwell’s comments about interracial children are just a cop-out, a  half-assed attempt to justify what is nothing more than blatant racism. After all, what if the couple in question turns out to be infertile? What if they decide to adopt? I just think these statements are too clueless and “See? This is for the greater good!” to be true. They just don’t make enough sense.

First of all, blacks have a long history of accepting mixed-race children… after all, nearly all of us who are African American (that is, descended from slaves) have some race mixing in our history. Yes, there are a few blacks who (often justifiably) worry for the well-being of a mixed child, mostly due to the racism they’ve experienced themselves. But really, how out of touch do you have to be to realize that some of the most famous Blacks in America, rightly or wrongly, are mixed-race themselves? And, it bears pointing out, there’s the President! Wasn’t he voted in by Americans of all races? More evidence, to me at least, that Mr. Bardwell is severely out of touch.

I just think Bardwell is a racist. I also think he is not alone.

When my (white) fiancé was born, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 U.S. states. No one needs to point out the ugly legacy of racism that we still deal with on a daily basis. If anything, Mr. Bardwell is a reminder, to me and to anyone else entering into an interracial marriage, that it won’t be particularly easy all the time, and that we (and our “mixed” kids) will have some idiots to deal with.

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

Only skinny white girls get married?

Photo by Kate Headley

Photo by Kate Headley

Two issues for the title of this post: One is that I have been diving head-first into the bridal marketing industry, and it is terribly vicious. It’s difficult being a part of a process that excludes me so easily.

It’s easy to see how people get swept up in the emotional aspect of it all. I’ll scream if I hear the phrase, “It’s your special day” one more time! Hopefully, I’m savvy enough not to fall for the unscrupulous vendors. One reason I might be able to avoid the rampant materialism and “Bridezilla” marketing tactics is that the bridal industry isn’t actually marketing to me.

The other is that I have been looking up photographers for my wedding, and since I am a photographer myself, am very particular. I’ve been looking at high-end photographers in my area, and I’m sorry to say that few of them have ever photographed any black people. It’s not a simple matter of getting your camera exposures right (although that’s a minor factor) but also, marketing your services to blacks. All the beautiful weddings I see feature almost exclusively White or Asian brides. Even if a photographer has included Black weddings, they are usually not prominently featured on his/her blog or website. I’ve been thinking about this for weeks and I have nothing but questions.

Why aren’t we represented in Bridal marketing? Where am I? I am TIRED. Doesn’t the “wedding industry” want our money, too? Do they not believe we will pay them? I know black people spend money, so it’s not like we wouldn’t pay if we liked it enough.

Looking at the advertisments, one would think that only skinny White girls get married. Or, is it just that Blacks & Hispanics do get married, but don’t hire high-end photographers worthy of being featured in any “Real Wedding of the Week” features? Where are we?