Posted by: Ophelia | May 14, 2009

Brought to you by the wedding industrial complex

So I’ve been poking around bridal magazines and ended up buying one since it was just such an excellent commentary on the wedding business. When you open the magazine you’re innundated with ads, not just for the dresses but for every concievable accoutrement you could ever need or be told that you need. Not only are there more ads then content, but those ads are even more pointed at their appeals to emotion. It’s not like the cookie or candy commercials that insinuate that you’ll feel better if you eat them. It’s more like commercials for medicine. You can treat your perfect wedding with these goods and it MUST BE PERFECT FOR YOUR SPECIAL DAY.

First up are the jewelry ads. You would think that since presumably if you’re up to the bridal magazine stage, you’ve already gotten your engagement ring, but nevermind that. Never compromise on the true love of a diamond. Ever.The jewelry ads are followed closely by ads about your personal appearance on your special daaaaaaaaaay.

Even if you look like the industry standard of what bridal is–blonde, svelte, updo, perfect makeup, figure hugging gown, you’re never good enough. Your teeth could stand brightening, you could be blonder, don’t you dare break out from the stress of planning a big party that is supposed to adhere to thousands of rules predetermined by the very vendors you’re hiring. Its all the same messages women normally get only this time it’s about “love”. And in order ot have “love” you must buy the right things, wear the right things in the right way and more. May I add that the only bride that didn’t appear to be size 2s in the entire magazine were in a David’s Bridal ad for the “David’s bridal woman” line. I’d also like to add at this point that the brides of color were few and so very far in between. Two were in a makeup feature. One or two were advertising colored gowns (which wouldn’t be so bad if the wedding industrial complex didn’t look so far down their noses at women who don’t wear white/ivory/cream/champagne). The other women of color played bridesmaids. The only ads with black brides were David’s Bridal. If I were looking for a company that doesn’t try to erase my existence, they’d win in a landslide.

Never compromise. Ever.

Nev compromise. Ever.

It's not love without it

It's not love without it

Sure, love is great, but it could be platinum

Sure, love is great, but it could be platinum

You + this ring = meant to be

You + this ring = meant to be

Practical rings are for dudes

Practical rings are for dudes

The ubiquitous lose weight for your special day ad

The ubiquitous lose weight for your special day ad

The teeth you got engaged with aren't good enough for your special day

The teeth you got engaged with aren't good enough for your special day

A special bridal edition of an Abreva ad

A special bridal edition of an Abreva ad

Even if you meet the bridal beauty standard, you could still be blonder

Even if you meet the bridal beauty standard, you could still be blonder.

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Responses

  1. Interesting to me, is that you only touch on how this affects women. Yes, I’m aware in a feminist environment, women are more important. However, attempting to foster a theme of equality, it would have been an excellent example to detail how negatively the wedding industry (especially jewelry) affects males.

    It’s one thing to be bombarded with ads that say I’m only loved if it’s 2 carats, and I assume it’s another entirely for them to be told their love is worthless because they don’t have the bank account or financial stability to back up throwing away 2 months of salary on a bauble.

    Either way, the whole situation is screwed up.

  2. I believe the effect on men as far as buying diamonds goes is implied. If women are meant to associate love with price–then so too are men. If the wedding people convince women that a ring equals love if it is shiny enough, then the women are supposed to convince men to buy those shiny things or else be accused of not loving their partners enough. This commodification of love affects both men and women but these ads zeroed in on women and so that’s what I discussed.

  3. I can’t think of many men that would be reading these magazines anyways, let alone those specific ads. They were targeted towards women, and that’s why it makes sense to talk about how they target women. The wedding industry targets men too, but not these ads specifically.


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