Something Old, Something Bold: Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties

Something Old, Something Bold: Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties

by Beth Montemurro
     
 

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Contemporary weddings in the United States can be extravagant, highly ritualized, and costly affairs. From the intricate details of the wedding dress, to the painstaking selection of flowers, to the festively-packaged favors offered to guests, they are often the culmination of months of fastidious planning and preparations.

In Something Old, Something Bold,

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Overview

Contemporary weddings in the United States can be extravagant, highly ritualized, and costly affairs. From the intricate details of the wedding dress, to the painstaking selection of flowers, to the festively-packaged favors offered to guests, they are often the culmination of months of fastidious planning and preparations.

In Something Old, Something Bold, sociologist Beth Montemurro takes a fresh look at the wedding process, offering a perspective not likely to be found in the slew of planning books and magazines readily available to the modern bride. Focusing on two events�bachelorette parties and bridal showers�Montemurro draws upon years of ethnographic research and interviews to explore what these prenuptial events mean to women participants and what they tell us about the complexity and ambiguity of gender roles. The innovation of the bachelorette party�a celebration of the bride-to-be�s premarital sexual identity - and the addition of men to the domestically oriented shower have often been thought to indicate gender convergence and a more progressive attitude toward power relations between men and women. But Montemurro suggests that this is not always the case. Through these events, the bride-to-be is initiated into the role of wife by her friends and family, who present elaborate and exaggerated scenarios that demonstrate both what she is sacrificing and what she is gaining.

Ultimately, Montemurro argues, prenuptial rituals contribute to the stabilization of gender inequalities - that American society at the turn of the twenty-first century is still very much married to tradition and traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813538112
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Pages:
244
Sales rank:
1,128,199
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Pepper Schwartz
This well written, fascinating book takes a common ritual and uses it to explain the social construction of gender, class and marriage. People interested in changing gender roles as well as behavioral science majors and graduate students will get a lot out of this book: at the very least insight into the transitions women go through as they redefine themselves sexually and emotionally -- from single and available to married and monogamous. No doubt, most readers will be surprized how much bachlorette parties reveal about women's ambivalence about this transition to marriage and how many women see the passage to marriage as bittersweet. (Author of Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works)
Mindy Stombler
Montemurro's in-depth analysis demonstrates that both wedding showers and bachelorette parties are not simply meaningless social gatherings but are sociologically important rituals that reproduce gender relations in complex ways. Montemurro succeeds at making the seemingly ordinary, sociologically extraordinary. (Editor, Sex Matters)
Elizabeth Pleck
This highly accessible study explains why bridal showers are considered dull and boring while bachelorette parties have become the fling of choice. Something Old, Something Bold shows how the sexual revolution has transformed the way contemporary brides approach marriage. (Author of Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding)
Amy L. Best
With wonderful insight, Montemurro examines the wildly popular bachelorette party and the enduring bridal shower and in doing so, reveals the conflicting messages that surround contemporary womanhood. (Author of Prom Night:Youth, Schools and Popular Culture and Fast Cars, Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars)

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