Royal Weddings and Girly Culture

Amanda Hess has a great post about the backlash to the royal wedding, specifically this Dvorak column. The point being, society thinks it's great when men get together to watch football, but think it's silly when women gather to watch the Kate and William get married:

This is bad, according to Dvorak, because smart girls don't like fashion and glamour and celebrity and dainty sandwiches and hats and tiaras and princesses and weddings and sleepover parties. Smart girls, according to Dvorak, play kickball and discuss U.S.-China policy. 

The truth is that the royal wedding is this year's Superbowl of girl culture, the media has bended over backwards to cover the highly feminine event, and that tends to inspire a gut negative reaction in people. Why? Because feminine silliness is degraded in our culture, while masculine silliness is vaulted.

This is all true. For example, I personally like shopping, but I'm also writing a blog post about feminism this afternoon. I can do both because these are not mutually exclusive. That said, I think there's a second point to be made: while we should push against the denigration of "girl culture," we should acknowledge its harmful elements. Pop culture centered around things like weddings and getting married sends a message that women should prioritize getting hitched, or feel ashamed for not having a husband, even if they really want something else. Not all women or girls will feel this pressure, but some will.

The best way for people like Dvorak to explain their anxiety about a culture that they feel is harmful to women is not to attack something because it is girly, but to attack it because culture has an effect on people and is therefore a worthy conversation in its own right. Hess compares the royal wedding to the Superbowl, which works, because you can make the case that sports culture isn't healthy either. After all, there are many men who feel emasculated because they are either not interested in sports or not athletic. As Hess says, just because you watch the royal wedding doesn't mean you've returned your diploma and moved back into the kitchen. If we're uneasy about women flocking to royal-wedding watching parties, then it's a problem with our culture, not a stupid girl thing.

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