Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Bridezilla" is an anti-feminist concept

In my many travels as a feminist bride, and in the several interviews I have done with reporters, it is inevitable to come across the notion of whether or not I consider myself better than those "Bridezillas" out there. You know, as a feminist, who has basically completely rejected the notion that my wedding was going to be about me as a bride, people assumed I would have a natural aversion to these monsterish, spoiled demanding brides with their faux tans, brazillian waxes and diamond studded veils, standing at the door of the chapel foaming at the mouth because the hydrangeas are the wrong shade of puce.

But while you might think my journey of self discovery would have put an even wider wedge between my and my tiara donning counterparts, that is not exactly what happened.

Look, its easy for me to make the case that my wedding day is not all about me, and not the most important day of my life (although I will say, it was one of the most FUN days of my life), but that is because I was raised to believe I would have many important successes and that finding a partner, while incredibly important, would not be defined by the day we made it official.

And even I, to whom getting married was not a main focus of my life, felt immense pressure when in the thick of it. When you have so many people coming to an event, when you know everyone is going to be looking at you, when you have some significant money invested (and lets be honest, its almost impossible to do it without that unless you are having a picnic in the woods, which sounds really nice, but comes with its own challenges I imagine)...basically, unless you are eloping, there is a lot of stress involved. And its hard to get help. Because a wedding is perceived as female territory (a designation both imposed on women, and by women), many men feel uninterested or uninvited to take part in the planning. Wedding planners and merchants make "once in a lifetime events" everyday of their lives, and a lot of them are terrible at making you feel like yours in anything special. Often there is strife between in-laws and parents and siblings and couples regarding the details and then there is the subtle, corrosive societal pressures that very few among us can ignore completely.

And in the middle of it, is a bride. A woman who is told that this is the most important day of her life, that she has to look perfect, be fit, have her makeup and hair just right. She has to have planned the perfect event, having thought of everyone, foreseen all details, and wear white no less! Can you imagine the pressure cooker situation this is for the average person who has never planned an event before, has no experience in public speaking or even posing for pictures? And when there are cracks, when a bride has an explosion, or makes demands, or get extra frustrated with uninvested parties, we turn around with shock and awe. "What a bitch!" We think. "A total Bridezilla."

Now, I am not above this gawking. I have seen the shows and looked at the pictures with disgust. But going through the wedding myself, and having a few borderline moments, I have a different feeling for these stressed out brides: Pity.

I just think as a society, its really unfair to teach a girl from the time she is born that her wedding day is the crowning acheivement, that it is a reflection of who she is and how well she has done in life, set up IMPOSSIBLE standards for her to reach economically, physically and emotionally, and then turn around and point and laugh in horror in what she becomes.

Not that some of them aren't horrible women, and would be detestable in any situation. But then why are we focusing on them on what might be one of the most stressful days of their life? "Peoplezillas" maybe. "Bridezillas"...I say no more.

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