The Term ‘Bridezilla’ Is Sexist And We Need To Stop Using It

A good "bridezilla" story makes for fantastic pub fodder, doesn't it? From the bride who bans her in-laws from the ceremony to the woman who insists on matching pink dresses for her bridesmaids, tales of "difficult" brides are salivated over and picked at like vultures on a piece of meat. I think it's because it makes us feel better about ourselves. "Goodness me, that woman sounds like a nightmare," we think. "I am far too sane to blow up over the fact that my cousin's break-up leaves the table plan in disarray."
It's why shows like Don't Tell The Bride and Say Yes To The Dress are so popular. Sure, we love the makeover element and judging other people's creative skills (swans as centrepieces whaaaat) but we also watch with anticipation in the hope that, at some point, the bride will have a big, outrageous meltdown over something terribly insignificant, like a canapé, or a piece of confetti.
But is the bridezilla trope really the fault of the brides-to-be?
Ever since we were little, weddings have been marketed to women as "the biggest day of our lives". From wedding Barbies to weddings at the end of Disney films, girls grow up with more exposure to weddings than any other adult event. And although we eventually grew out of wearing a pillowcase on our head and walking sedately through the living room to the dulcet tones of our little sister playing "Here Comes The Bride" on a kazoo, our education continued.
Our favourite TV shows placed an enormous onus on weddings. Friends spent all of season seven planning Chandler and Monica's wedding, with Courteney Cox's voice becoming ever more shrill as the finale approached. Films like 27 Dresses and The Wedding Planner were created purely to pedal the (false) notion that a wedding is peak female existence. Smarter films like Bridesmaids and Muriel's Wedding were kinder to women, but neither did much to diminish the importance of The Big Day.
No one is immune to how we talk about weddings. Celebrity weddings are goggled at by all walks of life, from reality TV stars with their rhinestoned gowns to the royal weddings watched by millions around the globe, to rock stars married on a canoe at the exact point where three rivers meet in the Amazon. Weddings, or humanist ceremonies, or civil partnerships, or whatever, are A Thing. And it's impossible to avoid how seriously society takes them.
My point is, with this level of build-up, is it any wonder you've seen incredibly together women crumble like a biscuit in a toddler's palm when the caterers say no, providing cuts of chicken in the shape of the happy couple's faces won't be possible. Or women who are wildly competent in the workplace crying over an order of service at 3am?
Because how are women expected to live up to this day that others have been planning for them since they were born? What hope does even the most organised of us have of creating a day that impresses our family, our partner's family, 17 different groups of friends and still lives up to Meghan Markle's wedding? How on earth are women going to do justice to a day that, like it or not, they've had percolating away in their brain for the better part of 30 years? It's impossible.
Obviously not all women go bridezilla; in some cases it's the groom who goes hog wild. But here's my plea: If your friend goes full Carrie in the run-up to her wedding, let her. Hell, join in and smash the place up with her. Unless she's just a truly terrible person, the pressure she's feeling is not her fault, it's the fault of a society that's got weddings all wrong, that's turned weddings from a celebration of love into a big day to spend money on; a sexist society that tells women they are somehow "complete" once they tick this giant bouquet-shaped box.
Because chances are, if they're not acting great, they're not feeling great either. And it's times like these that bridesmaids really come in handy (the other times are helping the bride go to the loo and being on standby with tequila after their looooong conversation with Uncle Rob). So give them a hug and let them do their thing. A wedding is but one day after all.
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