There’s a recent post on Sociological Images about The Plunge, a wedding planning website for men. The site reinforces heteronormativity and patriarchal gender stereotypes (women are the wedding planners and will turn into bridezillas who will drive you menz crazy!). The general tone of the site is a guy commiserating with a husband-to-be being all, I feel ya buddy, wedding planning is so annoying but you just gotta pretend you’re into it.
If you click on Why You Need Us, it says:
Here’s the thing about wedding planning: it kinda sucks. It’s frivolous. It’s stressful and wasteful. It makes you play along with a fake smile, bored and bitter, creating the illusion that you give a damn.
Adding to the stress, your girlfriend is wonderful and lovely and all those syrupy clichés, but she’s about to become a bride…who is none of those things. You will soon be confused. You will soon be frustrated. You will soon feel that no one is on your side.
That’s where we come in.
The junk that matters…and nothing more
Instead of giving you the Dos and Don’ts of choosing stationery, we’ll tackle the (often controversial) stuff that matters, like what to do if her father’s a real prick, how to dis-invite your co-workers, how to handle cold feet, how to finesse the murky world of ex-girlfriends, how to save cash, and what counts as cheating at the bachelor party.
You need to know “what counts as cheating at the bachelor party” because after the wedding, (gasp!) you’re supposed to be completely monogamous! So you better have a swinging bachelor’s party to celebrate (or rather, mourn) your last night as a free, single man.
And then it later says:
We get it. Your fiancée is devouring 87 wedding planning books, magazines, and blogs that all have the chipper tone of “Yaaaayyyy, Wedding!!!” It amounts to wedding-porn. And it makes you sick. So you can just ignore it and check out, right?
Yes and no. True, she’ll do the heavy lifting. But for better or worse, you also have a starring role in this sucker. So even though “real men don’t plan weddings” and “real men don’t need advice,” in this case, you need advice. Think about it like this: if you believe that you don’t need any help, then you’re implying, by logical extension, that you were born with some innate, feminine, inner-gift for wedding planning.
Real men don’t plan weddings? Real men don’t need advice? Hmm. So tell me, what does a real man do? And by telling male readers that if they don’t think that they need help then they are logically implying that they were born with “some innate, feminine, inner-gift for wedding planning”?! This is utter bullshit! Cisgender, heterosexual men hate having their masculinity disputed or challenged. Which is why this website tells them that unless they read it and use it for help, they are feminine. To reassure them that they aren’t emasculating themselves by referring to the website.
And the pact that readers make with the website:
Let’s make a pact: don’t tell your bride that we’re a bunch of jaded jerks…and we won’t tell your buddies that you’re reading up on wedding planning. Deal?
This is just completely stupid in my opinion. The sidebar on the page links to articles titled “Breaking Down Bridezilla: What Kind of Bride is Your Girlfriend?”, “Your Role in the Wedding: Wake Up or Hit Snooze”, “How Wedding Porn is Brainwashing Your Fiancee”, “The Knot’s Groom Stereotypes”. I didn’t have the patience to go through these articles, but seriously?! This is simply laughable. It is playing directly into popular culture’s obsession with Bridezillas (because popping the ring turns women completely psycho!) and stereotypes that women, and only women, are absolutely obsessed with weddings.
The Getting Married part of the site delivers none less bullshit. It begins with:
Um, congratulations? You’re staring at 12 months of vendors, invoices, family politics, tension, and bickering.
The good news is that they still make alcohol.
The sections below–from Just Engaged to Complications–will minimize the pain.
There’s even an article advising men on how to convince their wives-to-be to take their last names if they refuse to do so! It gives them tips based on their future wives’ reasons for not wanting to change their names. Because a woman has to take her husband’s last name otherwise he’s a wimp and it’s clear who wears the pants in the marriage. For example, if your girlfriend/wife-to-be thinks that taking her husband’s name is “sexist, anachronistic, that it just perpetuates a stereotype of subservient women…” this is their response:
[Yawn.] Sorry. We’ve just heard this before and we find it boring every time. Again, stress the unity. It’s not about your name, it’s about one name—and without the clunkiness of a hyphen. Togetherness. Solidarity. Theoretically, if society dictated that when you get married you both take some new name that you invent—fine, you’d do that. But that’s not how the system works.
Those darn feminists, or just women in general who may not necessarily identify as feminists but are opposed to patriarchal sexist oppression. How dare a woman want to keep her last name and bore you menz with her perfectly logical reasoning? Of course this article exists because men shouldn’t respect women’s (especially not their future wives’) desires and decisions.
Also, after browsing around the site (aka wasting my time and bouncing back and forth from being endlessly amused to getting frustrated with the stupidity) and clicking on the different links to the various articles, I noticed that most of the men and women in the photos they feature are white (I think I saw one Asian woman in one of the photos, but apart from that pretty much everyone is white). Does it shock or surprise me that whiteness is the norm? No. Clearly this site is targeting upper class, cisgender, heterosexual, white men.