I finally succumbed. I bought my very first Wedding magazine. And what do I find? Not the twinkling smiles of brides to be dressed in shimmering white anticipating their nuptials with rose tinted glasses. No, I find 30 Miserable Brides. And that was just in the first 15 pages.
There are pouty ones, annoyed looking ones, sexy ones, doll like ones and the ones that are doing looking-into-the-distance-dreamily-but-really-I’m terribly-bored-of-this-charade-called-life, kind of a look.
This is your wedding ladies! Supposedly the happiest day of your life. Go on the smile! Just a little. It’s making me want to run up behind you and shout ‘boo’!
Imagine if a real life bride spent her wedding day looking sexy/bored/doll like and like she had accidentally just sat down on something really uncomfortable but couldn’t show it because she’s was at tea with the Queen?
No, most Miserable Brides are beaming away all day I should think until their cheeks ache and that’s how it should be.
I’ve been bombarded with all these Miserable Brides by advertisers and designers. They are merely props for the sparkling laced white frock below. And to be fair, the pictures of real brides on their real days looked radiant.
Also, what do I know about fashion and the kind of expression that best sells the most expensive dress you’ll probably ever buy?
But it got me thinking about being a woman and having fun.
We’re supposed to look pretty and as it’s been said by many, we all feel a certain amount of pressure look like the images that are constantly being emblazoned on our eyelids by advertisers. This sort of pretty is a sultry, no smiling, no wrinkles, no fat, perfectly made up, standing very still kind of a look. No moving women, whatever you do, do not move!
I remember going to an improvised comedy class a few years ago. In case, you don’t know, improvised comedy involves playing games to make an audience laugh, much like the TV show, ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ So, the idea is that one must publicly make a fool of oneself. I found this whole thing forced me though so many hang ups especially as there were very few women on the course. And as I watched the boys throwing themselves seemingly unselfconsciously into another game physically clowning about, it occurred to me just how much I’d been trained (or perhaps brainwashed) into thinking I need to look pretty. To look pretty, I should stand fairly still and definitely not pull a ridiculous face.
I should be like one of these Miserable Brides
Damn you advertising for seeping into my unconscious!
There was also a level at which I was conscious of how I looked could see myself from the outside (instead of just looking out from my face into the world). All this stuff, this weighty women’s conditioning (and I’m sure quite a lot of men can relate too) was making me FREEZE.
It meant that I was having trouble playing, being the fool, moving about in a silly manner, making mistakes and not looking pretty.
How does all this conditioning stop us from being silly, playing, making fools of ourselves and expressing who we really are? How much does it make us freeze and over worry about our supposedly imperfect facial features?
And here’s the irony. It was here at the comedy class, where I flapped about pretending to be a talking fish, that I met my future husband and the very reason I’m looking at wedding dresses and these 30 Miserable Brides.
So in honour of redressing the balance, here’s a picture of me pulling a stupid face (I was pretending to be a frightened Hobbit at the site of the volcano in New Zealand that was used to film scary Mordor, in case you needed to know). You can see it here: http://theaanderson.com/30-miserable-brides/
How about doing something silly right now? Pull a face, do a silly dance, make an animal noise, blow a raspberry, jump on your bed, wear your silliest hat or whatever you feel like. Be a silly, fun, ridiculous, brave, wonderful woman.