Dear Wedding Reality Show Creators,
I’d like a word with you over here, if I may, just for a moment in between your busy schedule of exposing the ‘reality’ of weddings to us all.
What? You don’t know what I’m talking about?
I’m talking about the way brides (and the men you identify as the ‘woman’ in gay male couples) are portrayed in your shows.
It would be one thing if there were truly any variety in how you portray us. Then it would be about individuals. But as things stand, you have two ways of illustrating what it is to be a bride in modern America, and neither portrait is either flattering or accurate to the vast majority of women getting married.
On the one hand, you show us the adorably befuddled girl (it matters not if she is seventeen or seventy-three; she is still a girl in this version) who just can’t wrap her tiny brain around all the very, very, very difficult concepts involved in planning a wedding. She can’t tell a canape from a camellia and desperately needs a big, strong wedding planner(/salon owner/cake decorator/florist/etc.) to make everything happen magically despite her utter inability to contribute thoughtfully to the process. She is patted on the head and allowed to cutely dribble in a corner while the experts figure out the painfully difficult logistics of getting her married in a way that won’t embarrass her every time she opens her wedding album (assuming she can figure out how to do that) for the rest of her life. Thanks to the experts, she gets her magical princess moment that she could never have made happen by herself, the silly little thing.
On the other hand is the vicious, sociopathic, potentially homicidal whack job (who, again, can be any age from Diapers to Depends and is gunning for a guest spot as the unsub in the reality version of Criminal Minds) who doesn’t know a canape from a camellia, but will cut you if you point that out. She is unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace and allowed to make a mockery of her marriage before it begins. But once she ties the knot, she becomes magically docile (or at least it turns out she really, really, really [maybe] is in love with the hapless mope she’s been abusing on camera for the past two episodes of the show), so it’s all worth it in the end because she gets her magical princess moment.
You see my problem here? You can’t? Let me spell this out as simply as I can: you’re telling us that all women are utterly incapable of planning a party and staying rational at the same time. That’s the bottom line of all your programming. We have the choice of being thought of as helpless or god-help-us with nothing in between.
Can you imagine for one moment if there was a reality show about planning black tie charity events where every single client who walked through the door of the planner’s business was assumed to be a blithering idiot with no clue how anything at all is done? And some of the women I’ve seen on bridal reality shows being presented as drooling, brainless incompetents say they have jobs where putting on big parties and organizing conferences is simply one of their duties.
Trust me, anyone who can throw a major charity event or put together a large conference has more than the skills required to organize a wedding reception, whether they rely on hired guns or become DIY divas.
And then you get the third layer where some of the worst antics in the history of the show Bridezillas have been committed by women who claim to be wedding industry professionals! Almost every season there seems to be at least one ‘zilla who is a wedding planner who still can’t seem to figure out why anybody should expect her to feed her guests or invite her MOH’s husband. In this case, even if you are a professional, you are still utterly incompetent to handle your own wedding plans! Why? Because you are a bride, and brides can’t do this stuff on their own.
So wedding reality show creators, STOP IT!
The vast majority of women getting married today are reasonable people of at least reasonable intelligence. Many of us have already planned major social events of one kind or another and have some clue about keeping guests at said events entertained and fed. Some of us have already been involved in the planning of one or more weddings, and understand what’s involved. Even if we haven’t done that, most of us are intelligent enough to comprehend the basic concepts once they are presented to us.
Whether we hire professionals to carry out our plans or choose to keep control in our hot little hands or – the most common approach – do a little of each, we are adults. We have our own tastes, preferences, dreams, and nightmares. We are not interchangeable dolls for the wedding profession to dress up however they see fit at the moment. We are not rabid dogs. We are not cautionary tales.
We are people.
And we’d like to be treated as such, thank you very much.