White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture

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Overview

From sitcoms and soap operas to talk shows and movies, Americans are in love with the idea of a white wedding. The happy bride and groom smile from the covers of fashion and entertainment magazines, and appear in TV commercials to sell everything from life insurance to

antacid. Fascinated by this national obsession, Chrys Ingraham peers behind the veil to question the meaning of weddings in American popular culture.

What she finds is nothing less than a wedding industrial complex. The wedding industry does a thriving business with annual

revenues in excess of 30 billion dollars. The average cost of a wedding is over $19,000, with 2.4 million couples getting married each year. White Weddings is the first book to investigate the underside of this recession-proof industry, exposing how weddings are used to sell a

heterosexual fairy tale.

Ingraham draws on popular media, such as bridal magazines, children's toys, feature films, television and advertising to reveal how they regulate gender, sexuality, race and class. Weddings mean more than just flowers and flatware, but are part of a

belief system that relies on romantic and sacred notions of heterosexuality to maintain the illusion of normalcy. This entertaining and insightful book will make you think twice about ever wanting to catch the bouquet.

professor of sociology at Russell Sage College, tears away the veil of fantasy and takes a hard look at bridal magazines, religion, the garment industry, the media and just plain capitalism, and how they all figure into this tradition (Los Angeles Times)

interface with race and class in the US and what happens to those who step out of line must read this informative study. (Charlotte Bunch, Executive Director, Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers University)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan used the term "the imaginary" to describe the unmediated relationship an infant has to its own image and to its mother. Ingraham, an associate professor of sociology at Russell Sage College for Women, borrows heavily from Lacan's concept to describe the way in which we're conditioned to think about heterosexuality and its place in traditional weddings. She describes the "heterosexual imaginary" as "a belief system that relies on romantic and sacred notions of heterosexuality in order to create and maintain the illusion of well being." According to Ingraham, this illusion is reinforced by the fetishization of weddings. In her scathing view, "the big day" reinforces a racist, classist and heterosexual social order. Ingraham skewers all aspects of the modern wedding, from the labor practices involved in the manufacture and marketing of gowns to the white-only marketing strategies of major bridal magazines. With intelligence and perception, she describes the makeup of the "wedding-industrial complex," which relentlessly markets nuptials especially white weddings and relies on the pervasive media images of marriage ceremonies to keep itself "recession-proof." Although her tone is academic, Ingraham's writing is lively and persuasive. One of the few studies of weddings, this important addition to cultural studies could make a few potential brides and grooms rethink that long walk to the altar. Sept. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Katherine Sojourner
A brilliant and fun! look at the institution/industry of marriage in the late twentieth-century United States.
From the Publisher
"An interesting look at the institution of marriage...This book probably won't be on the must-read lists of most brides and grooms to be, but it is an interesting look at the institution of marriage. Or, rather the industry of marriage as the author emphasizes in her clear-eyed view of weddings...Ingraham, Chair of sociology at Purchase College in New York, tears away the veil of fantasy and takes a hard look at bridal magazines, religion, the garment industry, the media, and just plain capitalism, and how they all figure into this tradition."–Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415918404
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Lifting the Veil 1
Ch. 2 The Wedding-Industrial Complex 25
Ch. 3 Romancing the Clone: The White Wedding 77
Ch. 4 Four Weddings and an Industry: Popular Film and Television Weddings 123
Ch. 5 And They Lived Happily Ever After... 159
Epilogue 169
Appendix 173
Endnotes 185
References 189
Photo Permissions 201
Index 203
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