The right-wing obsession with trashing women never ceases to amaze me. Kathryn Jean Lopez’s write-up of Feministing blogger Jessica Valenti’s wedding is no exception (and of course, Ace of Spades follows up). Lopez titles the piece “You’ve Never Met a Bridezilla Like a Feminist Bridezilla” — the implication being that Jessica is acting like a crazed, selfish bitch about her wedding (that’s what “Bridezilla” usually means, right?). And Ace writes:
Everyone who believes that she was seriously considering delaying marriage until “everyone could,” and believes she’s looking at her wedding as a “pro-active way to talk about same sex marriage among our friends and family,” rather than as Princess’ Special Day, please raise your hand.
The reality is… less entertaining. Jessica talks about deciding whether or not to change her name (she’s not going to), how getting hitched squares with her beliefs that marriage shouldn’t be a hetero-only institution (she’s using the wedding as a platform to raise both awareness and money for same-sex marriage rights), and what color her dress should be (not white).
There weren’t any Bridezilla or princess antics as far as I could tell — just a basic look at which traditions she and her fiancee want to keep, and which ones they want to scrap. Which is what most couples do, right? Even if it’s not from a feminist perspective?
Kind of amazing how even totally normal wedding planning, if it comes from a woman (and especially a feminist woman) is de facto evidence of selfish bitchitude.
And then there’s the “Bridezilla” concept in the first place. We place an incredible amount of pressure on women (especially women of certain social classes) not only to get married, but to make their wedding The Best Day Of Their Lives. Entire industries thrive because of weddings — because of the pressure to put on the biggest and best party, because of the pressure to match or best the other weddings in your social group, and because of the pressure to be the most “beautiful” bride (“beautiful” often couched in terms of conspicuous consumption). Women are still largely charged with organizing the wedding, because it’s supposed to be their day. Wedding planning, for a lot of couples, is a huge endeavor — for a lot of women, it’s the equivalent of a part-time job on top of whatever they already do for work. But if all that pressure ends up making them crack just a little, they’re crazed selfish biatches.
Not that I’m defending the bad behavior of some women in planning their weddings. Assholes are assholes, and there are a fair number of assholes who eventually get married and, unsurprisingly, act like assholes in the process. The ability to even freak out about your wedding is a function of socioeconomic and cultural privilege.
But when we get to the point where all we need as evidence that a woman is a selfish jerk who thinks of her wedding as Princess’s Special Day is the fact that she’s a woman, I think we’ve gone a little too far down Misogyny Lane.
All of that said, Jessica is asking readers for feminist wedding planning tips. Another friend of Feministe (and real-life friend of mine) is also getting married this summer, and has had a lot of trouble navigating the (thoroughly un-feminist) wedding industrial complex. Any suggestions or tips?