Hello fellow bloggers and welcome! I am excited to journey through this quest of questions and hope you will join me in dissecting and discovering the intricate facets of American culture. Does media influence our identities? Has advertising played a major role in determining the status of women in our culture?
I don’t know, let’s find out.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

My later posts will likely discuss a particular ad concerning women, but I thought I'd start with...

WEDDINGS! Movies, magazines, reality T.V., all media resources dedicate themselves at some point to WEDDINGS!

Every little girl dreams of their own magical day and every woman plans one. I too once dreamt of a white wedding while I still played with Barbie’s. But, as I got older, I began to see it as a narcissistic circus. The celebration of matrimony has become a glittery thread in America’s fabric…But why? Why the fuss and necessity to proclaim “we love each other soooo much we’re going to stay together forever and you should witness this”? Pretty bold considering the divorce rate.

I began to investigate what I believed was the source. What gets in your head better than…

  • Advertising

    My theory is: Advertising perpetuates wedding mania, causing women to go into a frenzy over dresses and decorations. Underneath our media’s shiny veneer, ads are manipulating women’s childhood fantasies and the desire to fit in.

    Naturally the oh-so-wise media magicians prey on this traditionally Westernized notion of gowns and cake, since who doesn’t love cake and feeling like a princess? These ladies will consume anything bridal, explaining the mass amount of successful wedding-day advertisements. Okay sure, feeling like a princess (what does that really mean anyway?) isn’t my thing, which is probably why I began questioning the logic behind the growing nuptial madness.

After a long talk with a former "Bridezilla", I realized that yes- media does grease the bride machine- but it only greases…what’s the machine?

  • La Familia

    Before there were bridal magazines or reality T.V. shows, there was tradition. These stem from social “norms” and its enforcers are family (where I’m from, La Familia…and it can be scary). Weddings have become an almost unspoken ritual. You just do it. Like mama says.

    Customarily, weddings are pretty much the same; white gown, flowers, first Corinthians 13:4 “Love is gentle, Love is kind”, photographs and flower girls. Most women share similar ideas because ultimately it’s a celebration of the bride. Sorry men.

    This is the way my cousin did it, and then her friend, then her sisters and mother and grandmother and you get my point. You do a wedding because it’s expected. You create a celebration in your honor, if you know what’s good for ya.

    So, I’ve observed that family (socially bound to integrated traditions) is the machine, which leaves the question. Who runs it?

  • Fairy Tales

    Yes, I blame it on fairy tales. Not Grimm’s but Disney’s sugary processed versions. Yeah, I mean you Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty and every other anatomically perfect princess.

    Oh Disney, you and your winning formula: A villain torments a princess and her only savior is a dashing prince. She’s saved! He’s handsome! What do you get? A lavish wedding! It always ends with a wedding. What happens after? They live happily ever after that’s what.

    And, as we turn into women, we watch movies like the upcoming Bride Wars, still dreaming of the perfect day we’ll marry a prince and then the sun will shine on us alone, if only that one time.
Time for some perspective...

All these ideas explored bother me. Why has this tradition reduced itself into a trendy habit?

The answer hit me like an ice cream brain-frezze...

  • Material extravagance

Weddings can be glorious and exceptionally meaningful to some women. For that I say cheers. However I can’t escape my belief that modern weddings are a representation of America’s need for idealized extravagance.

Why must women wait (or hope) for a remarkable wedding to feel magical? I want to feel magical right now. So, I’m going to read a book- not because I’ll be wearing a tiara, but because that’s what makes me feel great. Like so many other women, it’s my special thing and when I read, a sun shines on me. Now that’s something.

This is the modern day madness that I'm talking about.
This event happens all over the Country at Filene's Basement annual wedding dress sale...scary!