Wednesday, 16 June 2010

On the problem of weddings and weight...

You would have to be blind to say that women aren't under pressure from the media to conform to certain weight ideals. I've always known that weight issues were everywhere: if Cheryl Cole loses or gains ten pounds then it will sell trash magazines. Barely a week goes by where bikini clad celebs are sprawled across the front pages branded too big or too skinny: noone is ever just right. As summer approaches we're all encouraged to get bikini fit. Last month Glamour promised we could "lose pounds without even noticing". Underneath all of this is the undercurrent that if you're not thin then you should be, you should strive to be. Only thin people are happy, running down the beach in their bikinis with the equally trim male models. Plus sized models (I'm wheeling out Crystal Renn again) and plus sized magazine issues have tried to balance the issue, but i've always felt this plus sized focus was a gimmick rather than a genuine rebellion against the super skinny model trend. Even if you aren't a magazine reader the pressure for women to be trim is everywhere, whether you overtly notice it or not: in TV advertising, and even your favourite shows.

But I have never felt under more pressure to lose weight or be perfect than since I got engaged. Every single wedding website has a partnership with a weight loss organisation. Every magazine I pick up has tips on how to shed pounds before your big day: it's pitched as a frenetic time controlled situation. Hurry! Only one month to go, get thin, be perfect, or your wedding will be ruined. This months Brides magazine even has a feature on brides that have had cosmetic surgery to look perfect for their big day, complete with links to the surgeons that can help and DIY tips if you can't afford the surgery. One lady said: "Without the surgery my wedding would've been ruined because i'd have walked down the aisle thinking everyone was staring at my imperfections." I wonder if i'm the only bride reading this and thinking how sad that is? Maybe I am, whilst all the others spend their life savings on boob jobs and starve themselves on various expensive plans.

Larger than life Dawn French dropped to a size 12 before she got married. She said she had no conception of a plus sized bride because all of the images in magazines and bridal shops were of skinny girls. She felt under pressure to be thin for her marriage to be perceived as valid, and so she lost weight. I'm no Dawn French, and i'm certainly not plus sized, but I know how she feels! It's hard to know what kind of dress will suit a girl with hips and boobs. Even the magazines which run "dress body" issues will show you the kind of dress they think would look great on an hourglass figure (my shape) on a size 0 model with no curves. It's hardly inspiring is it? I haven't seen a picture of a dress I like yet, because it's hard to imagine my body in a wedding dress. I have nothing to compare it to. And I know i'm not the only curvy bride out there, so I can't be the only one feeling like they're stuck in bridal no man's land: unable to relate to the mainstream bridal magazines, but too small for plus sized bridal collections.

Mike met and fell in love with a size 14 girl, and in thirteen months time he will marry one. I would like to tone up before the big day (I have upper arm issues too big to bore you all with) but I won't be running to the dieting hills screaming that I can't get married because my body's not perfect: this will be my wedding, on my terms, and I'll love my un-magazine featurable bridal body, in spite of all the pressure loaded on my not to. I'm also giving up on the bridal magazines that try to make me feel bad about myself - thats the complete opposite of how you should feel in the run up to your wedding, and only designed to make the magazines extra money. I hope that i'm not the only one who votes with my feet, stops buying into their rubbish, and walks away.

Love, Tor x


Kenners said...

You're alomst talking like your wedding is about you and Mike, and perhaps even love! Crazy talk.

Totally agree with everything you say, particularly about weight, but it can be generalised to almost everything wedding-related.

Make Do Style said...

Well said and I can help you ref the wedding dress - even if it is only to draw you some designs so you get inspired. Or alternatives to the usual.

honestly Tor the wedding day isn't about perfection it is about love. Those that confuse the two are losing out and you'll be happier for it. xx

cirkushjælpeløs said...

I had the exact same experience when I got married about a year ago. Not only am I a size 16 bride but I didn't want a white dress, and I wasn't having a church wedding *gasp*!
I found - a great social networking site for brides who for various reasons can't relate to the whole Wedding Industry rat race. You might want to check it out.

Harriet said...

100% with you, though I read a lot of brides to be do lose a lot of weight simply because they're so stressed about the whole thing! Hope your wedding planning is less strssful!

WendyB said...

Every bride is beautiful on her wedding day :-)

Alex said...

I just find the whole thing odd to be honest. I understand that people want to look their best on their wedding day but why do they entirely want to change the way they look?

I think you've got such a healthy attitude towards it Tor and I hope you manage to find something that hugs those fab curves of yours. You'll look beautiful whatever you wear.

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Laura said...

I sing at a lot of weddings, and I can say I have never seen a bride that isn't beautiful on her wedding day.

Actually, there was one incident last Summer with a pink and black beaded bodice and a permatan, but we won't go into that...

Lois Lane said...

A very very big hear hear to this story! I am so sick of seeing photos of my friend's weddings and not recognising them because they transformed themselves so much for the big day. Surely the man standing before you wants to see the girl he first met not some sort of barbie doll that doesn't bear any resemblance to you!!