Dec 18 2010

A lil bit of twerking and lifting

Patriarchy blamers are world renowned for their (professed) eschewment of cable television, so it is possible that you have not heard of the most misogynist TV show ever conceived. As an award-nominated professional bearer of bad news, I am here to correct this situation.

The history of women’s degradation is long and colorful, but this “Bridalplasty” show takes the wedding cake. Once it has taken the wedding cake, it smushes it in the face of the last little shred of simple human dignity to which the sex class has been desperately clinging for the past 8000 years.

Wait, did I say “Bridalplasty”?

I’m afraid so, and yup, it’s exactly the gross-out you think it is. The hideous mutant clone of “Bridezillas” and “The Swan,” “Bridalplasty” is a tour de force of exploitation megalotainment such as the world has never known. The laughably sicko “plot”? Says the website: “Brides-to-be compete in challenges to earn plastic-surgery procedures in a quest to win their ultimate dream wedding.”

Is there anything about that sentence that fails to induce dry heaves?

Still, you almost have to admire the show’s creators for managing to clabber together into a single pulsating, inspissated lump of banality not one, not two, but three really top-tier femininity behaviors: catfighting, weddings, and self-mutilation. A typical scene depicts one contestant visiting another in her hospital bed as she convalesces from a nosejob; their conversation is about forming an “alliance” to thwart the evil bitch Jessica (“You better sleep with one eye open, bitch, ‘cuz I’m after you.”). Promos include a conventionally pretty contestant stabbing at her own head with pointed fingers, declaiming “I want this butt-face fixed!” Of the humiliating “challenges” let me say this: brides-to-be are given two glasses of sparkling wine and instructed to determine which one cost only $3.98; apparently this test reveals whether they possess sufficient taste to pull off a classy wedding reception. So it’s classist on top of everything else. Awesome! The prize for guessing correctly is a surgery to implant cadaver meat in their lips or some shit.

The lobe-blowing thing is that the show’s audience can drink in all this misogyny week after week and not take to the streets demanding immediate liberation from patriarchal tyranny.

Or can they? Has “Bridalplasty’s” corporate-sponsored hate and scorn finally pushed devoted E! channel viewers too far? A glance at the E! discussion board reveals this glittering jewel of feminist outrage:

“Personally I think this is a disgustingly misogynistic show! The very idea that a woman is incapable of being a ‘perfect bride’ without undergoing radical, dangerous surgery to be more aesthetically pleasing to the general public is obscene.”

I regret to say that this commenter’s future as a patriarchy blamer is not, perhaps, so bright as it initially appears. She knows what “misogyny” means, and she gets that plastic surgery is an extreme form of it, but doesn’t seem to grasp the inherent misogyny in the concepts of either bride-dom or feminine perfection. Sadly, although a few other detractors add their rancor to the comments, their unanimous refrain suggest that beauty, dudely validation, and marriage remain undisputed life goals:

“These women [don’t need surgery; they] were obviously proposed to because their husbands think that they are [already] beautiful.”

That is, they’ve got it made in the shade; their dudes have pre-approved their degree of conformity to the patriarchal beauty mandate or they never would have popped the question in the first place.

Unsurprisingly, most of the remaining comments are quite the little tiptoe down Self-Loathing Lane:

There is nothing wrong with wanting to enter marriage a lil more perfect/ sexier than you did when you were just a “girlfriend”….what better gift to give urself and hubby than to be than a (better) “trophy wife”, even if it takes a lil bit of twerking and lifting.

The E! channel, for those saintly readers who don’t own televisions, is also responsible for such life-affirming programming as “The Girls Next Door,” a reality show about the enpornulated women who make a living draping themselves like silk bathrobes over septuagenarian perv Hugh Hefner’s living corpse, and “True Hollywood Story,” which produces incisive documentaries revealing such “insider secrets” as Katy Perry’s having once eaten at Taco Bell, and interviews with prostituted women who have been used by Charlie Sheen.

Yeah, it burns.

Photo nicked from the “Bridalplasty” website.


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  1. Bushfire

    The concept of a “dream wedding” doesn’t even compute. If visions of being permanently enslaved to a dude ever come to me while sleeping, I’ll refer to them as nightmares, not dreams. If, by chance, I someday decided to cash in on the benefits offered to same-sex partners in Canada, I might be inclined to purchase a marriage license. However, this would not require a ceremony because it wouldn’t change my relationship or any significant part of my life, it would only change my tax return and maybe my medical plan.

  2. Notorious Ph.D.

    Shit. I went to that website. Argh.

    But here’s something encouraging: All but 5 of the 12 brides-to-be are under 25. Many are 20 or 21. There are very few active blamers in this age range. Perhaps ten years down the road, after they slice-and-dice themselves, only to realize years into their marriage that fem-bot perfection is a moving target, and that no amount of surgery will armor you against patriarchy, they will slowly learn to stop blaming themselves for not being perfect enough, and start blaming the you-know-what.

  3. liberality

    Okay, I am not a saint, but point taken.

    I was over at my sister’s house last night and it was impossible to have a ration conversation with the television on with over hyped commercials and stupid reality shows blaring away, and so I proposed that she turn it off. She capitulated by turning down the volume but refused to actually turn it off.

    If these are the shows my granddaughter will grow up watching and thinking as normal and my sisters watch on their time off then this entire country is sunk. Jesus H. Christ but it is depressing!

    I have to figure out a way to not be depressed about the state of our nation but to get enraged enough to actually ferment revolution I’m thinking.

  4. liberality

    Oops, I meant rational not ration.

  5. redpeachmoon

    Thank you Jill. So glad you’re on the job! What a world we live in. Can I post this on my FB page?

  6. Kea

    I knew there was a reason I don’t watch TV. Enough nightmares already. I shudder to recall the times in my life when I was forced to sit in front of a TV. The horror is so mesmerising, like the approaching cliff edge. I know how it will end. Western populations will be reduced to such poverty that they can no longer afford to play these games. Meanwhile, wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia will continue to subjugate women and this will become the dominant culture worldwide. I think I would rather that humanity becomes extinct.

  7. redpeachmoon

    sorry, just read the guidelines. I’ll try to figure it out.

  8. Kelly

    The framing of self-mutilation and the pursuit of perfection as “empowering” is one that gets me every time. Whatever beginner-level blaming skills I have deflate with a fart-trumpeting pbbth and I just feel so depressed. It’s one thing for me to recognize this as untrue, it’s another thing for me to tell to some woman’s face she’s not getting what she says she’s getting.

    I must echo @NotoroiusPhD’s gentle sentiments or at least hope they come to fruition for these women.

  9. Pinko Punko

    I think Honeymoonoplasty could one up this for season two, but when I saw that, I felt like this was close to 190 proof distilled patriarchy. 200 proof would include both benzene and perhaps human traffickers being the ones calling the shots. It was quite sickening.

  10. Alexa

    Women do all this, and *we’re* the choosy sex?

    I don’t get it. As a picky straight/ asexual woman 99% of men aint even sexually compelling. In fact I lose interest as the days go by, they’re not worth it. Seriously this is a P2K monstrosity with obey vows and marriage, the longest standing phoney misogynist tradition thrown in! These women need a head check, then need to be transported to our island and reminded what it feels like to think yourself human.

    Replace this stupidity with love for oneself. Unfortunately age seems to be their only chance for an epiphany.

  11. Kelsey B.

    Kelly – But of course it’s empowering! It’s their CHOICE! And every choice that a woman makes happens in a political and social vacuum, amirite?! /sarcasm

    I second (third?) NotoriousPhD’s comment about there not being very many blamers in their early 20s. I’ve been hanging out on some blogs written by younger feminists, and so many of the posts and comments endorse “choice feminism,” it’s really depressing. I’m currently trying to formulate a non-incoherently-raging response to a recent one about how it’s totally awesome for women to “choose” to be raped for pay. Pah.

    P.S. I am in my early 20s, so I’m not age-bashing here, just making an observation about a group of which I am a member.

  12. Comrade PhysioProf

    What the fucken fugge is “twerking” even supposed to mean?

  13. Jill

    There is a vocal segment of feminist women in their 20s who do not, perhaps, yet grasp the extent of their investment in antifeminist mores. It’s understandable that they don’t personally feel all that oppressed, on accounta they’re young, they’re hot, and they’re reapin’ the rewards. It’s true that as they age out of the system, many of them will make the connection between funfeminism and capitulation. It’s not ageist to make this prediction. It’s based on observation. Old bats like me just know more about this kind of stuff than some young kids in their 20s. It is through no fault of our own that we are wise and experienced. It’s merely a function of being an old bat.

  14. Bushfire

    There is a vocal segment of feminist women in their 20s who do not, perhaps, yet grasp the extent of their investment in antifeminist mores.

    Twenty-six year old blamer here. I have a group of feminist friends who are definitely not down with the Funfeminism. However, we’re all queer, so maybe that makes a difference.

  15. Rainbow Riot

    As a blamer who is 20, I can say that the reasons I haven’t/didn’t succumb to fun fem choice-ism are that men have hurt me, a lot, no matter how I have acted, and that kind of takes the luster off the whole reaping the rewards of being a conforming woman thing. I never conformed, and I was punished for that. Yet then I tried conforming and it not only crushed my soul but also didn’t protect against male violence and stupidity. So I’m a blamer.

    Of course Bridalplasty is appalling. So is cable television. I don’t watch much, but from what I’ve seen of E!, it’s drivel. It might as well be piss on my shoe. I’m not surprised at all that they have come up with yet another misogynistic show. After all, feminine beauty is what it’s all about, and feminine beauty = submission = willingness to hurt oneself = self-mutilation. For men’s enjoyment, of course. Why else would a bride need implants and injections to plump and freeze parts in place, if not for the fact that men love a woman who will do anything to please him? Women are raised to care about what men think, and to pathologically pursue the ultimate end to that process: slavery aka marriage.

  16. Jill

    Well, before this gets out of hand, let me emphasize that I in no way impugn the entire worldview of the entire generation of women in their 20s.

    Well, I do a little. But only a subset of the entire generation. You know, the subset that’s wrong.

  17. yttik

    TV of course, attempts to make us think that this is how “normal” 20 yr olds act, think, and look. One episode of Jersey Shore and I was ready to suggest people just start eating their young. However, shows like this are only a mediated reality, out in the real world things are a lot more hopeful.

  18. Ruby Lou

    Much cable t.v. programming has reached the point where the line between informercial and regular programming is now non-existent. ‘Bridalplasty’ is a classic example of this phenomenon. Take L.A. as the epi-center of Barbie consciousness in the US. In the white-girl neighborhoods there, it is now considered requisite cosmetic practice for young girls to have surgery to change their looks, the better to conform to some perceived ideal of feminine beauty. In ten years’ time, the girls in Omaha will be doing the same. This show wants to expedite the process. The bait is the dream wedding, the trap is ‘you need these surgeries, sweetie.’

    Interesting item: a blog named ‘Bridal Flu’, which chronicles the travails and chagrins of women planning their weddings, came out strongly against ‘Bridalplasty’, in an article entitled “Bridal Plasty: Hollywood At Its Lowest”.

    Thanks to y’all for teaching me about ‘choice feminism’. Wasn’t aware of it, and if there’s one thing I appreciate, it’s another good reason to jump online and trawl for good hits.

  19. nails

    E! also hosts shows about plastic surgery nightmares. At least they did one time when I was watching. A woman got an eyelift and they took out too much skin so she couldn’t close her eyes. She would wake up in the morning with pillow lint in them and get shampoo in them during the shower, and she looked surprised all the time.

    I am a twenty something blamer, too.

  20. nails

    Oh yeah, and surgery is a big fucking deal. Shows that make it seem really routine and unserious anger me as a health care worker. I wish that shows about surgery were required to show a certain amount of the gore involved (and testimonials from people disabled/disfigured by surgery, or the families of people who died from wanting a bit of twerking) for every half hour of people talking about how great cosmetic surgery is. Do people not know about all the antibiotic resistant bacteria lurking everywhere? Why give yourself a huge wound if you absolutely didn’t need to? I have met tons of people who had surgery and then had to go back over and over because of complications, sometimes its because of surgeons screwing up. Its horrible. You can’t even sue until everything is corrected because you cannot collect for ongoing damages- it has to be all fixed, and in the meantime people go bankrupt. Being put under is risky too.

  21. Owly

    I was recently a bridesmaid in my “feminist” friend’s dream wedding. Not quite reality show fodder but still nauseating. Lots and lots of Spanx there, as well as other uncomfortable beautification methods. For those who can’t afford surgery, you know.

    I’ve been a bridesmaid in a conservative christian wedding too, and it was all I could do not to strangle anyone. They didn’t even serve booze, which I was kind of counting on to ease the pain. This was for a girl who seriously considered her father’s (unsolicited) offer to pay for a nose job for her 18th birthday, so I wasn’t very surprised. It would have been un-christian of her to complain about the wedding she was allowed to have or to fight with other ladies for cosmetic surgery though.

    Well, maybe. Church-lady rivalries can get pretty intense.

  22. Xandy

    This show is unconstitutional. I’m pointing specifically at the eighth amendment.

    On the note of 20-something women and “choice feminism”, I find that easier to handle than some other fun attitudes.

    I recently had the privilege of listening to my 20 year old friend tell me all about how she has never felt discriminated against or that she couldn’t do what she wanted because of sexism. She’s so awesome, see, that she doesn’t need feminism.

    I had no clue what to say. It feels mean to try and convince someone that their life is suckier than they think it is.

  23. Lidon Achava

    Oh dear god. This just shredded any last potential, microscopic consideration I had of ever owning a television. Living in a cave away from the rest of festering humanity never struck me as overwhelmingly alluring, but I am beginning to rethink this.

    It’s good to be aware of what goes on but at the same time, I think another year of my life just got shaved off after reading this.

    yttik: One episode of Jersey Shore and I was ready to suggest people just start eating their young.


  24. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    It is a spinster aunt’s lot in life to be Always a Bridesmaid. Granted, it doesn’t confer the patriarchal points of being a bride, but it does give a person the chance to spend more than 3 months’ salary on a closetful of hideous dresses (with bags and shoes to match, natch). One particular monstrosity in my bridesmaidal repertoire is made of cheap-ass red acetate satin. Do you remember Scarlett O’Hara’s dress made of her mother’s front-parlor curtains? *This* horror looked as if it had been made of shower curtains. Yecchhhh.

    And that isn’t mentioning the humiliation a more-than-size-2 gal endures while being fitted for this mess. (One particular dressmaker commented on my 16-yr-old boobs, “Gott im himmel! Not only are they big, they are ROUND!”) I’d rather eat a boxcar full of snot than be a bridesmaid.

  25. dillene

    Shouldn’t “bridalplasty” mean having your desire to be married surgically removed? Or would that be a “bridectomy”?

  26. CrazyQuilter

    I guess if you take an elaborate, ritualized ceremony originally intended to celebrate a man’s selling a woman to another man as your starting point, you have to try hard to up the ante.
    What gets me is how they just keep raisins the bar here!

    Bridezillas, with its rendering women down into shrieking hellcats whose only goal in life was to have a perfectly-choreographed 24-hour period, where during the lead-up to said period they rapidly transformed into monsters, destroying family bonds, friendships, and sometimes furniture and vehicles, was not bad enough.

    The Swan, wherein it is implied in the show TITLE that all women start out fugly and that dangerous, painful cosmetic surgery is a necessary, nay, natural step in the lives of women who wish to become “beautiful”, was not bad enough.

    Even that migraine-inducing show where women were supposed to starve and/or over-exercise themselves down to fit into their “perfect” bridal gown (which was nevertheless always at least three sizes too small) was apparently not bad enough.

    I would ask how this is even considered entertainment, but then, we live in a culture where torture porn made by big-name movie studios masquerades as “thriller” movies and where, in almost every horror film, the viewers are plainly expected to find the female victims’ struggles arousing instead of really horrifying; where, to advertise for ANY item, ranging from soap to socks–advertisers regularly turn around and have a photographer slice a woman’s body into little pieces to sell the product.
    The difference here being that the so-called “horror” movies–which function as false snuff films with big budgets–tend to actually BE aimed at men.
    This nightmarish, shambling horror of a tv show is aimed at WOMEN.
    So, for my my real questions: how much of the poison do they want us to drink?
    Are they unconvinced that they have killed us inside yet? What will they make us do to ourselves next? Will some studio decide to OK and air a program consisting entirely of REAL snuff films?

    also, i am a feminist/blamer. i am 21.
    i think it was a combination of Being That Nerdy Girl and attending catholic school that forced me to have such an early start.

  27. La Chica Lucy

    Well, this pushing-40 blamer just wants to say how glad she is to see so many youngsters proudly blaming in these here parts!

  28. minervaK

    This is exactly one of the reasons I don’t have cable.

  29. veganrampage

    Haven’t seen/heard about “Hookers for Jesus” yet hunh? Saw a preview:hope it dissipates like ether cuz it’s as exploitative and re-sells the helpless to the heartless all in the name of their lord.
    Baby Jesus weeps a tiny tear every time a prostitute is re-prostituted by the E-fuck channel.

  30. kiuku

    Xandy yea well at 20 you haven’t even finished college yet; haven’t had the opportunity to feel the full sting of sexist discrimination.

  31. Lurker Lyn

    I was about to leap in for the under 25s but remembered that last month was my 27th birthday. Fail. And yeah, around the age of 20 I put too much effort into being B2K compliant, but it brought me nothing but misery so I gave it up (it didn’t help that I was criticised for not doing it right, because I was lazy and didn’t shave, or didn’t wear makeup every day). I must have a low tolerance for allowing myself to feel like crap; I think that’s how I found feminism.

    I also second the notion that the entire premise of weddings is the issue. How do people pick out the bits they want and overlook the bits that suck? It’s like saying look at all that nutrious carrot in that vomit – you’re still eating vomit.

  32. Aileen Wuornos

    “There are very few active blamers in this age range.”

    There’s plenty of us out there though! And of course, now I’ve written that I’ve seen that there are also blamers around my age (21.)

    This kind of thing fucking sickens me, most of them were white and middle class too. Right?

  33. c2t2

    “Brides-to-be compete in challenges to earn plastic-surgery procedures in a quest to win their ultimate dream wedding.”

    Is there anything about that sentence that fails to induce dry heaves?

    Let me try to AVOID dry heaves, editing out the offensive terms: “— – in – to – — – in a – to – their – – -”

    For those keeping score, that means the offensive terms are: “Brides-to-be”, “compete”, “challenges”, “earn”, “plastic-surgery”, “procedures”, “quest”, “win”, “ultimate”, “dream”, and “wedding”.

    Added up, that is indeed the most horrible sentence I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.

    (Incidentally, I’m 23, and have identified as radfem for a few years.)

  34. Barbara Rubin

    Young blamers (particularly Nails), I am overcome with admiration for your precocious wisdom! Some of us (myself included) are rea….lly slow learners.

  35. annie oakley

    who is the audience for this show?

    I blame them!

  36. M.

    While there are a lot of young feminists out there, I think there are a lot more anti-feminist or fun-feminists in that age group–at least where I’m from. I live in a very conservative area; there’s a lot of backwards-thinking people here.

    It’s so discouraging when I hear wimmin my age act as mouthpieces for patriarchy and misogyny…. For example, in one of my classes a young womon actually said she believed wimmin should be paid less than men because wimmin aren’t as muscular…

  37. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Oh, and speaking of dry heaves:


  38. Stella

    I am 31 and have been reading this blog since I was 25 (June 2005).

    I’ve identified as a feminist since I knew what the term meant: since about age 9. I’ve identified as a radfem for about the past five years.

    So, I’m not that young anymore, but I used to be a young blamer. I am also getting more radical with age!

  39. D-workin'

    I am a 40 year old father of two preteen girls. They mostly live with their ostensibly feminist mother, and I don’t think they watch a lot these bridal shows, but it is pretty horrifying that they are out there.

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