Online Masculinities applied to ‘Pain, Pleasure & Bridal Beauty’ (2014)

Brockhuizen & Evans (2014) research delves into the emotions and experiences women ‘endure’ during the ‘wedding process’. The way the westernised wedding takes place “…against a backdrop of postfeminist ambivalence…” Brockhuizen & Evans specifically focus upon the consumerism that has ignited from the traditional wedding. However, the consideration of the men’s emotions during the ‘wedding process’ has been neglected. In this critical analysis I will be addressing the matter as I believe, similar to sexting, the media frames the wedding in a particular narrative to evoke the ‘right’ responses.

Brockhuizen & Evans (2014) view wedding culture as a postfeminist sentiment, and suggest that the visibility of the highly mediated weddings, such as William and Kate (2010), has ‘complicated the boundaries between public and private ceremonies…’ Emotions were evoked by the public have been socially constructed because of this public mediation of The Wedding, many of us eagerly viewed. The distribution of the traditional wedding has also been altered by Television programmes, such as ‘Don’t Tell The Bride” (2007), where the groom is able to organise the entire wedding in under 3 weeks. From this type of programme the re-traditionalisation of gender roles has occurred on mainstream television. The bride appears to be in control, as she has made the conscious decision of allowing her beloved to organise ‘her’ day.

Continuing this idea of the public and private spheres being broken because of the mediation of The Wedding (traditionally a very private affair). Lerum & Dworkin (2009) suggest that potential future relationships and development of an individual (men included) has now been put in jeopardy because of the interference of the public and private spheres overlapping. This is also due to the catalyst of modern technology – the digital format is assumed to now become public because it’s convenient to distribute. Lerum & Dworkin continue to suggest that this once separation of the two spheres has now become interlinked because of the development in social media; noting that this is not necessarily a advantage for contemporary society. They conclude by adding, when exploring young adult male’s emotions this advancement in technology and ability to share emotions unconsciously could cause damage in their later life.

This is interesting when applied to the idea of a westernised wedding with traditional values: as Brockhuizen & Evans (2014) notes, there has been an explosion in the way the wedding has been advertised and shared through social media. Platforms such as Pintrest, Instgram and Twitter are at the core of the image sharing, particularly of the heart of the wedding: the Dress. They may be popular platforms, however as a consumer of these social media sites, perhaps we should consider the impact it has on (particularly) men.

Kuby (2012) suggests that, ‘Emotions are something we do and enact. They are not learned sequentially as a set of skills, but they are ways of being their shift over time, in various contexts and in relationships with others.”

Therefore, suggesting, in the context of contemporary culture, social media has certainly altered the way our relationships with others and how we engage with them. Micciche (2007) also notes that emotional collisions are embodied through rich discussions with another, therefore this could potentially have effect on the way men emotionally react to the wedding. Considering we live in a visual culture, the pressure of the wedding is enhanced by the amount they have involuntarily viewed.

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Reference:

Lerum & Dworkin (2009) cited in, Ringrose et al (2012) “A Qualitative Study of Children, Young People and ‘Sexting’”. NSPCC report Leading Education & Social Research 2012.

Brockhuizen & Evans (2014) ‘Pain, Pleasure & Bridal Beauty: mapping postfeminist bridal perfection” Journal of Gender Studies.

Micciche (2007) cited in: Kuby, R. (2012) ‘OK This is Hard: Doing Emotions in Social Justice Dialogue’, Sage Publications

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