Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The "Bridezilla" Craze

Today in my email in box was the weekly newsletter from my buddies at WeddingChannel.com. Featured topic today on "Girl Talk," the site's discussion board: is your maid of honor trying to outdo you? This is not the first time I've seen this kind of topic featured by the site. A few weeks ago, it was "Brides beware: wedding sabotage is real," in which WeddingChannel posted the question: "Do you or your FH ("future husband".... wedding language has almost as many acronyms as the military) have someone who's trying to sabotage your wedding day? Share your story now!" Note gleeful tone.

There are over 40 responses posted detailing tales of future mothers-in-law ("FMIL") gone bad, bridesmaids ("BM") who are "big fat cows," ex-girlfriends ("ex-GF") finding unlisted phone numbers, maid of honor (MOH) and bridesmaid "attention hogs," future sister-in-law (FSIL) "attention hogs," plotting mothers, brawling groomsmen, "crazy" ex-wives, crashing ex-fiancee's, etc., etc. My favorite:

"my hubby to be's best man wont waer what i have chosen as my colors and has informed me that he will be wearing all black to my wedding including a sword. OMG talk about grose." [sic]

Like all big rite of passage celebrations, to say nothing of holidays, weddings seem to generate their share of bad behavior, and the entertainment value of such has clearly been noted. Much of the attention appears to be focused on the "cattiness" of women and ballistic brides having temper tantrums. The WE ("Women's Entertainment") Channel runs a program called Bridezilla, a reality show featuring various brides who would be queens, and bridal meltdown videos are a ubiquitous feature on You Tube (some of them, such as the viral "Bride has massive Hair Wig Out," are staged, but the point is the popularity of the shrieking bride theme).

Like becoming pregnant as an unwed teenager, it seems, being a temperamental bride has all the markings now of some sort of pop culture badge of honor. One "bride" with the handle of "Deliciousnachos" has a video wedding blog on You Tube, in which she does not hesitate to have meltdowns in several of her postings. I haven't found anything to suggest that Deliciousnachos is actually an actress and the whole thing is staged, but it's possible. In fact, it's downright probable. It's also possible that she's for real, but that she's using this as a opportunity to audition for an appearance on Bridezilla. I mean, posting in public a video of yourself crying because the wedding dress you ordered in ivory arrived in cream, then launching off into a thing about the groom leaving for a "more fun" girl named Selena, strikes me as something someone would do only if they dreamt it up as a stunt. But real or fake, it points to the same thing.

Ah, but Mary... you are forgetting the nature of the Internet, are you not? Yes. After all, I have a "wedding blog" of my own going, don't I? And it's possible that before all of this is over, I'll have a few meltdowns. I would wager that people who know me well are already making book on that possibility. I won't, however, publicly present my meltdown(s) in a serious, non self-deprecating way. What would be the fun in that?

But back to the line of thinking that newsletter from WeddingChannel.com sent me; this sort of gleeful 'glorification' of women behaving badly (frequently toward each other) smells like a bad case of misogynistic schadenfreude to me. It's not so much a delight in the suffering of these women, but in how bad their over-the-top emotionalism makes them appear. It's as if there's a collective pointing going on, with everybody saying, "See how irrational they are..." I find it bothersome. Yet, there I was, hitting that link in the newsletter, definitely interested in reading some juicy tales of maids of honor, bridemaids and brides involved in "catty" little battles with each other in some imaginary on-going war between women to be the one that all the boys like better than any of the others. For shame.


Dee said...

For shame!

Actually, when I am in the waiting room of a medical office, the first thing I pick up to read is People magazine. There's something about the mindless voyeurism of popular culture that just fascinates. I mean, look at all the reality shows. In fact, isn't there some reality show about weddings?

DeliciousNachos said...

Oh wow. Haha.

I'm DeliciousNachos, I just found this after Googling my screen name. Those posts were for an art project where we created an online identity.

Sadly, I'm not a bridezilla. :)

MisAnthropology said...

I figured as much, Delicious. Nice work, I suppose, although my comments about the distastefulness of the craze -- from a feminist perspective -- stand.

DeliciousNachos said...

I agree. I just like a bit of biting social commentary.

Good luck with your wedding. :)