Recently there has been a spate of screen grabbed ‘bridezilla’ requests shared in Facebook groups that have been picked up by the media. Lists of intense requests for the bridal party/guests etc. to wear certain attire, rules to be followed and in one case links for Bridesmaids to purchase Louboutins for the day. I get it, people love to share this stuff because it’s mildly absurd and makes our own behavior and expectations appear less demanding. Often names are not removed from posts and as Jon Ronson shared in his book ‘So You've Been Publicly Shamed,’ the consequences of this mass disgracing can be genuinely awful and life-changing.
This occasional new story has become what seems to be a weekly occurrence mainly due to the rise of wedding shaming Facebook groups and subreddits. A whole new way to sh*t on the aesthetic details of complete strangers’ weddings and a new low for the wedding industry/humans.
Forget Forums, the Wedding Shaming Groups* are where it's at
Previously, if you were planning your wedding and wanted a kick in the ego or to give someone else the chance to do it for you, I would have suggested you head to one of the many mainstream wedding forums. These forums masquerade as helpful places but are actually often cesspools of body shaming and etiquette ‘advice’ given to you by former high school bullies who are neither wedding experts or people who feel.
Until recently, I chose to ignore the existence of wedding shaming groups, where members screengrab posts from other Facebook groups and wedding blogs, and rag on the Bride’s style, body image, and budgets, because I thought they were sad places for sad people. However, a quick search on Facebook reveals a bunch of these groups, some with 60K + members. ?
Imagine seeing your own wedding in a shaming group?
A member of our Facebook Group and gorgeous Bride, Jane whose wedding was shared on the Bridechilla Blog, posted that she had discovered that their wedding had been featured in a wedding shaming group. She immediately joined the group, and with superior strength and lady balls, called members out in a calm way, acknowledging that it was her wedding that they were dissing.
When Jane shared her experience in our group, warning other members of these groups, my heart sank, and then I wanted to punch a wall.
We spend our days deflecting judgment and negativity from social media, advertising, and strangers. When it comes to weddings, we invest time, money and love, creating a celebration that reflects us. Your 'dream' wedding is most definitely very different from mine. So, when a stranger picks apart our choices (that are often so personal) with a skeezy two paragraph diss and a screen grab, it can be devastating.
Why should we care? There will always be A-holes, right?!
Some would say ‘Who cares? Let losers be losers’, there will always be assholes. This is true. But this cycle of negativity and need to judge and put down others…where does it get us? What is happening in the lives of people who enjoy this stuff? Who logs into these groups and comment each day? What broke them?
So many of our Bridechilla Community members were surprised and mortified that these groups even existed, and I think that’s a testament to the people we attract to our community.
The ethos of the Bridechilla podcast, blog, books and community is encouraging couples to ditch traditions that aren’t meaningful to them, to say no to obligations and pressure that cause stress. Bridechilla is about giving support and helping couples feel less lost in the world of wedding planning (and the emotions surrounding it) where at every turn people are telling you the ‘right way’ to do things.
A wedding is a love party. It is whatever you want it to be. If you're going to shave your head and wear a gold tux, good. Shine. Enjoy it.
What's the solution?
There will always be people and groups who think they know best and that by belittling and objectifying others, that they somehow ‘win.’
These groups, for me, are just another reason to not venture out of the safety of our community, where we have endeavored to keep our content helpful, inclusive and screen grab free.
I have little faith that Facebook will close the groups (especially those that are rife with bullying and bigotry). I am hopeful that those who joined 'as a joke' or 'just to see what goes on' leave and spend their time somewhere that makes them feel genuinely good about themselves and others... because particularly at this time, haven't we all got enough sh*t to deal with without wedding shaming groups?!
*It's not just weddings, there are shaming groups for most facets of our lives, parenting, tattoos, weightloss/fitness
** The irony is not lost on me that this post will most likely be shared and shat on, in these groups! ??