Wedding porn, why I won’t be seeing Bridesmaids & MN’s hate legislation

At about any given time on a Saturday you can scroll through your cable guide and find no less than four “reality” shows about weddings. Bridezillas, Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings (there is no and a Funeral. It’s just some show called Four Weddings. I get excited whenever I see it because who can resist young Hugh Grant?), and a bunch whose names escape me.

I call this garbage wedding porn and it usually makes me feel smug and superior as I scroll past the bullshit to get to something good like a marathon of “Project Runway” reruns.

My abhorrence of the $72 billion wedding industry is nothing new. I’m not a fan of weddings. However, I am a big fan of romance so when I do go to weddings I’m the one sitting there sobbing as the couple exchanges vows. It’s a weird contradiction that rests comfortably inside me — hating weddings (and not a big fan of marriage but that’s a personal choice. I fully realize marriage and weddings are two different things) while still loving the idea of people standing up and professing their love for each other in front of other people.

But ridiculous expense aside (I love the story my friend Heather tells of her wedding, which took place in her living room. They were going to have a fancy, catered event but realized what they were spending was a good down payment on a house.), the pressure for women to marry is ridiculous. It’s as though the only way you can be a whole, realized female human being is by attaching yourself to a man. We’re nearly fifty-years post feminine mystique and we’re still feeding little girls and women this garbage.

If you aren’t married by the time you’re, what is the socially unacceptable age now? 27? 30? 35? then you’re the weird, oddball sad sack who may seem happy and together on the outside but spends weekends weeping over pints of Hagen Daz and longing for a mate.

At least that’s what Hollywood would have us to believe. From what I’ve read, “Bridesmaids” follows the same well-worn troupe, marriage makes you whole. Asinine. While I can understand the importance a good showing at the box office for a female-led comedy (though it was produced and directed by a man), I cannot put my money behind a story that continues to tell women that they are less-than without a man.

A lot of my pent up wedding porn rage was focused last week on a bit I happend to catch on the CBS Early Show.

Here you can watch as author Emily Giffin, director Paul Feig, and Erica Hill trot out every ridiculous sexist wedding-related bit you can think of. At one point I shouted “Fuck that” at my TV.

But what really caught me was when Emily Giffin said, “The fact that you think about getting married from the time you are a little girl. I mean my four-year-old daughter Harriet with the royal wedding. . . ”

And the first thing that came to mind was “What if Harriet is a lesbian?” At what point do you tell the little girl that is dreaming of her wedding that she can’t have one if she loves another woman? Hmmm? How does the politics of marriage enter into all this wedding crap we pump into little girls?

Which brings me to the hate legislation here in Minnesota. On Saturday night the majority of bigoted, intolerant Republicans (and two Democrats) in the Minnesota legislature approved a measure that will allow Minnesotans to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriages.

Apparently having the bigoted, hateful, homophobic law on the books isn’t enough and we need to put the hate right into our state constitution. The rage this measure inspires in me cannot be put into words. This will be the greatest embarrassment of our generation. The way we are boggled by the institutionalized racism of the 60s our grandchildren (maybe even children) will be incredulous that people actively campaigned to take rights away from people.

Just think of the good we could do if we took a few of the billions Americans spend on weddings and put it into actively educating and campaigning for acceptance and anti-bullying (and make no mistake these kinds of measures are institutionalized bullying). Maybe weddings will be more tolerable when everyone is free to marry whomever they like, but I doubt it. Weddings will still suck.

6 Comments
  • Suzy
    May 23, 2011

    Amen!

  • Doug
    May 23, 2011

    As someone who reads as much as you do, surely you grasp that this sort of rant virtually ensures that someday you’ll find yourself… well, you know.

    While I am very much on the marriage-for-everyone bandwagon (and was disgusted when Prop. 8 passed here in California–even knowing it would be overturned), and certainly support anyone’s choice not to marry if he/she doesn’t want to, I cannot quite agree with your premise that spending a bunch of money on education would change the minds of the narrow-minded.

    Those midday “reality” shows to which you allude are part of why I’m glad I’m not at home at those hours so I cannot accidentally come across those freaks. But to say those are representative of the average wedding is… well, okay, kinda applicable.

    And not to ruin a perfectly good rant, but as one who saw Bridesmaids (and enjoyed it very much) I will say: You read the wrong things about the film. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of hideous movies worthy of being referenced in your rant, but you really should have gone on more than quasi-hearsay. If you don’t feel inclined to see it, don’t see it, but I really cannot get behind lumping it in with the other stuff in this post.

    • Jodi
      May 24, 2011

      @Doug, I’m not saying Bridesmaids isn’t probably (from what I’ve read) the best of the wedding ilk, but it’s still of that ilk where a man can/will make things better. Right?

      (and if I ever decide to get married and have a weddings I’ll disappear the shit out of this post)

      • Doug
        May 25, 2011

        Well @Jodi, I would not classify the film as a wedding movie; that may be a semantical distinction for some. However, on your larger point, men play a very small role in the resolution of the plot (in fact, only the charming Chris O’Dowd has much of a role at all of the male actors in it); I can say without equivocation that my take would NOT be that a man “makes things better” in it. (There’s even a specific jab against the Katherine Heigl drek in a bit of dialogue.) This movie has definite elements that seem in response to the sort of wedding porn, not playing into the same traps of it.

        I assure you: If it were that crap, I would not waste a single electron on this quasi-defense of it.

  • Lisa Weinstein
    May 30, 2011

    Dear Jodi, I saw Bridesmaids and was probably one of the few people who really didn’t like it. I felt the lead character was not likable, and was mean to her friends. The film used cheap jokes (bathroom humor) to get laughs. That said, it was more about growing apart from your friends than the pressures to get married.

    I also don’t understand the bigotry that leads to anti-gay discrimination. It makes no sense. And yes, people do spend way too much money on weddings. Looking back at my own wedding, if I had to do it again, I’d elope!

    • Jodi
      May 30, 2011

      @Lisa Weinstein,
      It’s funny everyone I know who had a big wedding said if they could do it all over, they’d elope. But the one person I know who eloped (and it’s only one) said she wished she’d have had a big wedding.

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