Bride on Bride: Patriarchy, Bride Culture, and Space to Be Queer
Engaged in the D blog post by Katherine
First, a confession: Sometimes I spend a lot of time on Facebook. It can be both a useful tool for staying connected with people, and a time-suck that drains all of one’s emotional energy and leaves one sort of generically angry and displeased with the world, and yeah, I use it for both. Now that that’s out of the way.
Last year, before I was engaged, nearly all the ads I saw on Facebook were for engagement rings. That’s not particularly surprising, I’m a mid-late twenty-something, and I listed myself as “in a relationship”, I’m sure without knowing anything else about me, that made me part of the prime market for such a thing as far as the algorithms were concerned. It did feel a little eerie, though, to see those ads all the time, while I was nervously ordering Chelsea’s ring and planning the proposal.
And then, I proposed. And then, yeah, we had to change our relationship status on the internet. It was easier than calling every single person we know.
And then, like magic, the ring ads disappeared.
What came next was an awful lot of ads to help us plan our wedding. I’ve never planned a wedding before (first and only time doing this!) and so I found myself wondering which, if any, of these sites that were being advertised would be helpful to me. I even clicked a couple of them.
And then the problem became apparent. Did I say “ads to help us plan our wedding?” because that isn’t actually correct. I meant “ads to help me plan my wedding.” That’s when I discovered what I now refer to as “Bride Culture.”
Bride Culture is the culture of immense pressure put specifically on engaged women. It was that the wedding is mostly about the woman, mostly about the dress. It says that everything has to be perfect, and by perfect, we of course mean perfect according to your 8-year-old self who watched too many princess movies, regardless of whether or not your values and goals have changed since then. Bride Culture assumes that your wedding is the most important day of your life, and that it is planned by the Bride (and maybe her mother) with very limited input from whom she is marrying.
And just in case it isn’t obvious, Bride Culture is definitely part of patriarchy.
Now I don’t have a problem with how anyone else has their relationship, or how anyone else plans their wedding. If you determine that one partner has more interest in or time for planning the event than the other partner, cool, that person should probably plan it! If that person happens to be a lady, that’s cool too. The problem that I have is the cultural assumption that women are the ones planning weddings, and the implication that there are these crowds of disinterested partners (mostly grooms, but I found the same assumptions on plenty of gay wedding sites as well) just waiting in the wings for their blushing brides to finish making all the decisions.
Put quite simply, it just wasn’t us.
Want to learn how Katherine and Chelsea have shifted away from the Bride Culture paradigm in their wedding planning process? Come back to LoveintheD next week to read more!