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.