What I found out as a bride came to me as no surprise...the industry puts a lot of pressure on the way women look. The sole purpose of the wedding industry is to sell us the idea of attaining perfection and it promises us a day that will be nothing short of perfect. Instead of focusing on the real aspects of marriage like the commitment, moral compatibility, hopes and future desires, our culture places importance on finding the right dress, looking our best and getting what we want at all costs.
Wedding reality shows know that by capturing these precious moments, with the addition of some drama, overbearing in laws and mean friends they’ve got a hit show on their hands. Instead of focusing on the real issues at hand, we sit back and watch as brides deal with the superficial issues that they face when planning their weddings.
Wedding reality shows often depict brides as crazy, overbearing and irrational women...also referred to as bridezillas. But can you really blame them? Our society tells us that if there is any day ever in our life to be flawlessly beautiful, our wedding day is that day! The wedding industry is set up so that we buy, purchase and consume everything we need (and don’t need) to make us “perfect” on the day we wed. Tune into any episode of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ or ‘I Found the Gown’ and you will witness a bride breaking down because something did not fit the right way...the dress was too tight, not the right colour, too big, not the one they ordered, too small. Even for reality television, this is pretty true picture for how it is for most brides in the change room. These shows are exciting to watch because they are exciting and fun even though they are a bit exaggerated. I have to admit, I almost even had my own bridal breakdown when my dress was accidentally taken in at the back causing my skin (also known as “back fat”) to spill over my dress. How could I imagine myself walking down the aisle like that?
The reality is that most women are not satisfied with the way they look, regardless of their size and shape. Being unhappy with our bodies is an every day, Average concern for girls because we live in a culture that is fixated on unattainable ideals. Everywhere we go we are faced with the pressure to be perfect...in magazines, in the movies and even on television.
What I like about wedding reality shows, like ‘Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss’ is that they show a range of Average girls who share common concerns with body dissatisfaction. Some of them wish they weighed less, others wish they weighed more...some wish they had boobs, others wish they had less in the chest. What I love about these shows are the main characters in them, the dress consultants who are act less like sales people and more like the body positive support systems that aim to make every girl feel amazing in a wedding dress regardless of their shape or size.
While some reality wedding shows promote positive body image, there are also shows that do quite the opposite. Take the show Bridalplasty for example...a show whose slogan is “The only competition where the winner gets cut.” The premise of this show is for brides to compete for the perfect wedding and the perfect look by way of plastic surgery. This show promotes the idea that women are valued only for their appearance and the only way to achieve ideal beauty is to alter the way we look. The problem with this type of show is that it reinforces the message that female looks are more important than all the other amazing things we are.
It’s time that we stop fixating on being beautiful from the outside and start focusing on how we are beautiful on the inside! Maybe then we wouldn’t be so entertained by reality shows that only point out the obsession we have with the way our bodies look.