The Sexist

Why Wedding Weight Loss Isn’t About “Health”

Weight

Earlier this week, I engaged in some light mockery of a People Magazine contest encouraging brides-to-be to lose weight before their wedding days. But yesterday, some commenters pointed out why this is no joking matter: Did you know that these women are, like, fat? And you do know how unhealthy that is, right?

Holy shit, you guys, why didn't you say something earlier? People Magazine is doing women everywhere a public service by worrying so much about our health for us. And to think I almost dismissed this initiative out of hand! Let's take a closer look at this valuable asset that's been gifted to our gender.

Here's how the magazine describes this contest: "For the Next Nine Months, We're Following These Six Women as They Work with a Trainer and a Nutritionist to Get Smaller for Their Big Day." It is illustrated with a photograph of each woman grimacing as she struggles to fit into a dresses that is too small for her.

I'm sure by "smaller," People really means "healthier." And I'm sure by illustrating the piece with a photograph of each woman grimacing as she struggles to fit into a dresses that is too small for her, People really means for us to be seeing visions of crisp apples and unrolled yoga mats and shit. After all, as commenter Kit-Kat writes: "This is not about losing weight for purely aesthetic reasons. These women need to lose weight for health reasons." And they desperately need to do it juuuust before their wedding days, when everyone in their lives will be intently judging how unhealthy they are—in a totally non-aesthetic manner, of course. (As a special gift for their weddings, these loved ones will also conveniently ignore all the ways that diets like this are actually bad for you).

But don't take it from me: let's hear it straight from the dieters themselves:

* "Eager to 'be healthier,' Jones adds, 'I'd want to lose weight whether I was getting married or not.' But the thought of standing before 150 guests at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., on her wedding day is 'an extra motivating factor,' she admits. 'I want to enjoy taking pictures—not running from the camera!'"

* "When Councell, 35, tried on wedding dresses for the first time, she was shocked to find out she was a size 16. 'I'll get married in a blanket before I buy a size-16 gown!' says the 5' bride."

* "Now she has a big reason to change her habits: When she exchanges vows with Head, 25, in October, 'I want my dress,' she says, 'to be very fitted.'"

* "Ever since she got engaged last October, one thought has consistently run through Quintero's head: Oh my gosh—I'm going to be a fat bride!"

* "When her high school sweetheart proposed in 2008, Cerrata, 26, was ecstatic—until she saw their engagement photos. 'I was like 'Put them away!' she says."

Well there you have it. This has absolutely nothing to do with appearance, and it certainly is completely unrelated to subtly shaming some women into believing that they are too fat to be loved, like, in public in front of everyone. That's why I'm excited for People to roll out the following health-related wedding promotions:

* People Magazine's Bride-to-Be Cholesterol Reduction Challenge: "I'll get married in a blanket before I get married with a high density lipoprotein level 50 mg/dL!' says the 5' bride."

* People Magazine's Bride-to-Be Wear Your Helmet Every Time You Ride Your Bike Challenge: "Now she has a big reason to change her habits: When she exchanges vows with Head, 25, in October, 'I want my helmet,' she says, 'to be very fitted.'"

* People Magazine's Bride-to-Be Regular Pap Smear Challenge: "When her high school sweetheart proposed in 2008, she was ecstatic—until she saw her irregular pap smear results. 'I was like 'Put them away!' she says."

* People Magazine's Bride-to-Be CPR Training Challenge: "Ever since she got engaged last October, one thought has consistently run through her head: Oh my gosh—I never learned CPR!"

* People Magazine's Bride-to-Be Social Anxiety Disorder Management Challenge: "I want to enjoy taking pictures—not running from the camera!'"

* People Magazine's Groom-to-be Weight Loss Challenge: Haha. JUST KIDDING.

  • Femnist

    Great article - I'll confess, I run from the camera, and gatherings due to social anxiety - a part of me wishes that there was a reality show like the one you mentioned, and another part of me is warning that they'll end up shaming people with social anxiety, too.

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  • http://guyinism.com DirkJohanson

    I agree that it is totally ridiculous for a bride to lose weight for her wedding.

    That's because its totally ridiculous for a guy to agree to marry a woman that's significantly overweight.

    It only gets worse after the wedding date, guys.

  • Kate

    I am so glad I found your blog. More on this to follow I'm sure.

    And to say nothing of the fact that People reinforces the idea that the wedding day is the pinnacle of ALL feminine existence EVER, because "nabbing a man" is the most valuable thing she can do and she needs to show how valuable she is by conforming to social aesthetic standards because her worth, and thus the validity of "earning" this man she caught, is clearly only measured by her success in performing femininity prescribed by external cultural sources.....

    Thank goodness they told me what my mission in life is and how to achieve it!!

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