The other night I was watching one of my favorite shows, Say Yes to the Dress (because what woman doesn’t like ogling over wedding gowns, choosing the one we like best for the bride and watching a little drama unfold at the same time?), and right after that came their plus-sized spin-off, Big Bliss. As I sat there and watched that show too, I had to wonder: Why two different shows? Why not just have one that features women of all shapes and sizes? And most importantly, in a society that is working hard to overcome weight-related stereotypes, doesn’t this further segregate women of different body types even more?
Big Bliss regularly features women who openly talk about their struggles with weight, their frustration with finding “the” dress and their body image issues. Yes, those are all very real and valid concerns, but those are concerns that every bride faces, regardless of her weight. Why does TLC assume it’s any harder or any more dramatic for brides-to-be who are overweight? I know plenty of women who, even though they are slim, have had a long and arduous process of finding the perfect dress. Say Yes to the Dress even portrays those struggles. (It’s reality TV, after all, so what would it be without a little–or a lot–of theatrics?)
Last month we talked about a similar issue with TLC’s new show, Big Sexy, which features plus-sized women on their quest to make it in New York. This show seems to be going out of its way to disparage women who are thin by saying things like, “Once you go big, you never go twig.” Again, comments like these further divide the line between women and our body sizes.
To add to the body image woes at Say Yes to the Dress or Big Bliss, there are the often harsh and critical comments about how a bride looks from her bridesmaids–or worse, her own mother. Some of the so-called friends have remarked that the bride looked like a “big marshmallow” and mothers have been the first to point out “pooches.” One even insisted on her daughter getting a dress that would hide her “imperfect” figure (which we all have).
The bottom line is this: Wedding dress shopping can quickly turn from a time of joy to a time of self-loathing for many brides who have body image issues–thin, overweight, tall, short, pear-shaped, big-busted, small-busted, whatever. We don’t need separate shows to portray that–or shows for that matter that further the disparities between women and body image wars.
Here’s a clip from Big Bliss. See what you think: