What I’m NOT Watching: Bridalplasty


I don’t even know where to start.

Most of you know that I love me some E! network. I like Joan Rivers snarking about clothes, I like cavorting Kardashians, I  liked watching tears drip down Janice Dickinson’s immobile face in her E! True Hollywood Story. But Bridalplasty? No. I can’t…I can’t.

The concept of this show is a bunch of women compete to get plastic surgery procedures and a dream wedding. They have challenges each episode and winners get to check items off their surgical wish lists. There’s a doctor involved. He was the same doctor who did the show The Swan which had a similar concept. (I’m actually sort of heartened that there’s only one doctor willing to participate in fiascos like this.) According to the E! website, all the women are lovely to look at, some are former pageant contestants, actually. None of them are rich and they seem as drawn by the allure of a big sparkly wedding as they are to the idea of getting a massive physical overhaul.

And there we have a perfect example of the radical over-emphasis on appearances: women are willing to sacrifice their dignity and privacy to get a fantasy wedding that’s more style than substance and they’re willing to risk their health and safety by getting foreign substances injected into their bodies, going under general anesthesia, and allowing a doctor they didn’t choose or research to perform all of this. On national tv.

I’ll confess that I only watched about five minutes of the show and became too distressed to carry on. The women were solving puzzles to gain entry to an “injectible party” where they could get facials, fillers, and other injectibles. They squealed, bounced up and down, and hugged the doctor upon entering the Promised Land of the party room. Then I switched away because…I just can’t watch.

I am so sad that this show exists.

I have, for years, watched in open-mouthed shock the kind of shows that profile couples planning weddings that cost more than my husband and I make in a year. The spend and spend and spend and talk about the significance of the flowers and the symbolism of their venue or the deep, deep importance of the design of the groom’s cake. I also watch those shows about brides who behave like monsters in pursuit of their “perfect day” and show total disregard for the relationship they’re solemnizing or their relationships with their families. They care only, it seems, about a dress, a bouquet, a cake. A day. An image.

Bridalplasty combines that wanton lust for an ostentatious wedding with a wanton lust for the plasticine look that Hollywood peddles to women who are only too happy to buy it. They want to walk down a flower-strewn aisle with a smaller nose, larger breasts, thinner thighs, whiter teeth, smoother skin. They want to Cinderella-fy themselves and whirl into a waltz in the arms of a Prince Charming and float away on the music of their dreams as their friends and family look adoringly on.

What happens at midnight?

I hate so much all of these shows that continue to normalize things that ultimately don’t matter or things that can be so harmful like plastic surgery and debt-inducing weddings. Every time we put something like this on tv we are tacitly agreeing that it acceptable behavior.  Yes, we all say “I watch it because it’s like a train wreck and I can’t look away” but even in doing that we have agreed that it is ok. We give them a place in the public eye and we, in essence, give them a positive consequence to their behavior. It becomes ok to be a bridezilla. It becomes ok to whore out your self-respect for implants. It becomes ok to shunt aside everything in your life while you dedicate yourself to the stage productions that so many weddings have become, to the kind of self-improvement that only improves the shell.

I’m part of the problem in that I watch. Except when I don’t. I won’t watch this Bridaplasty atrocity. I won’t encourage this sort of self-mutilation and abasement. I think we as women need to learn to be better than what E! network is showing here. Our natures are substantive. We are more than how we look. We are so strong and so smart. Why are we letting ourselves be portrayed this way?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know how to reverse the trend of women cutting themselves apart, literally, to look a certain way on a certain day. But I do know that I can turn away from this show. And I will.

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9 comments for “What I’m NOT Watching: Bridalplasty

  1. Erica Snipes
    December 2, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Oh. I’m so glad that I just don’t watch particular networks and then I don’t have to see the hype and nonsense like what you’re talking about here. In seeing things like this, my concern for my daughters goes up more and more. How do we teach our daughters that they are more than their bodies, more than their faces, more than their friends and society show them they can be? How can I tell my beautiful 11 year old that she’s PERFECT and have her absolutely believe me, when there are things like this out there, without going to live in some isolated commune with only like minded people. Oh how I wish more people were like you and didn’t watch these destrictive shows for only the reason that they couldn’t turn away from the train wreck. Duh. Train wrecks are sad. We should all turn away.

  2. amy
    December 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Remember the “Swam” and the original “Estreme makeover” yes SOME plastic surgery is fine but to have a contest and everything else to go with it is so Heidi Montag that I get sick to my stomach.
    I have 2 girls and I know one of them will probably have a nose job, I had 2, once to fix the outside the 2nd time to fix the inside, anyways, the reason I think my daughter might want one is the fact that she has hit her nose so many times as a toddler I think she broke it. But she and her sister are so beautiful, strong and smart that we tell them that daily.
    Too bad the media wants to shove “perfection” down our throats.

  3. December 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Ugh. So gross…so gross.

  4. December 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I couldn’t agree more! I was appalled when I saw the first preview for that show and thought it had to be a joke. I think it’s one of the most disgusting concepts I’ve ever heard of. I caught the same few minutes that you did, where they acted like winning the Botox party was like winning millions in the lottery, and I couldn’t take another second when the first girl raced into the injectibles room and hugged the doctor like he was her husband returning home from war. I have low standards when it comes to tv, but I refuse to go that low.

  5. December 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Thank you! I only heard of the show because a woman my friend knows is actually ON it, so I told her I would tune in. I tolerated about as much as you did before I came to my senses and changed the channel. It makes me sick to my stomach, especially since none of the women are horribly disfigured, which I think is the only justifiable reason for something as invasive as plastic surgery. I sincerely hope this is the first and last season for the show.

  6. December 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I read an article about this show back in September when it was just a concept and not a reality. I was hoping this one wouldn’t make it to air. I wrote about it then too and agree with everything you said.

    http://sometimesmeaningfulramblings.com/wordpress/2010/09/16/self-esteem-issues-theres-a-reality-show-for-that/

  7. anthrogrrl
    December 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I just wonder what the grooms must be thinking, to suddenly see a total stranger at the end of the aisle on their wedding day.

    As for all those wedding shows? Having just gotten married this past summer, I watched a lot of them. The dress shows, the cake shows, even some of the wedding planner shows. But I resolutely refused to watch the “amazing wedding” shows, the ones where people spent more than I did on my house for their wedding. Most of the shows I was already watching were unrealistic in terms of my budget — pipe-and-drape, huge centerpieces, lighting specialists and a personalized cocktail were simply NOT going to happen at my wedding.

    What I don’t get is, if there are SO MANY DIY wedding sites on the internet, and even a few DIY-low-budget decorating shows, why hasn’t someone come up with a DIY wedding show? That’s what I wanted to watch when I was planning! Not some ridiculous pipe dream to ratchet both my expectations AND my budget upwards.

  8. December 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I find the whole concept of the show disturbing and devaluing of relationships and the whole institution of marriage. It’s disgusting and whoever thought up of the concept of stupid girls fighting over plastic surgery to have their “perfect wedding” needs psychologically examined and then tortured.

  9. Jessica
    December 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    This type of show is one of the many reasons I do not subcribe to cable. Well put as always.

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