How do we fight the sexist and insensitive term "Bridezilla"?

September 22 2015 | meggyfin
Wedding Punch
Photo by Jennifer Morgan Photography
I'm getting married to a man whom I am very lucky to have found. He and I tend to share very similar viewpoints on many things, including situations that have cropped up during our 1-year-long engagement. However, despite these similarities, I have been the only one to be called a "Bridezilla" (or anything equivalent to this term) when I have expressed wedding concerns.

Not only that, it has become almost commonplace to flippantly be told, "Make sure you don't become a Bridezilla!" As if, despite planning a once-in-a-lifetime event for 130 guests, I should never allow myself to become even a little bit stressed. Last time I checked, I was human and emotions tend to be a minor side effect.

I was curious if anyone else has been experiencing this, so I tried to do research online. What I was met with was a multitude of articles with instructions on how to avoid becoming a Bridezilla, but none with helpful tips on how to avoid frustration at continually being called one.

The bottom line for me is this: Being called a Bridezilla, warranted or not, seems very sexist and insensitive. So, how do we fight this deeply rooted concept? -jesigigs

First of all… amen, sister.

Second of all… We've talked a lot about this topic, but it doesn't seem to be going away and perhaps not even getting any better.

Bridezilla as sexist

We first discussed the word's deeply-rooted sexism in "Of Brides and Zillas"

Basically, you're a Bridezilla no matter what the hell you do. And this is only true for brides – few would rag on a groom no matter how much of the decision-making is his doing.

In the end, however, it's all false. The Bridezilla was invented by our collective subconscious – sit down, shut up, behave, or this is what you are. I've seen a similar attitude pop up around the idea of a "nag" and again of a "bitch" – and more recently, even more sadly, "feminist": a word that should never, ever be derogatory. The very special (Mircea Eliade would call it "sacred", I think) period of betrothal adds "Bridezilla" to that arsenal of threatening words and serves mostly as a backlash against assertive women. You have to care about your day – the day you tie yourself to a man – but not too much.

At its worst, it's sexism in an insidious form, the catty women-against-women incarnation.

Read the full post.

Bridezilla mug from Etsy seller MainlyMugs.
Bridezilla mug from Etsy seller MainlyMugs.

How to respond to being called a Bridezilla

We've got some copy 'n' paste responses for how you can respond to people who call you or someone else a Bridezilla. Ready?

To someone who has called you a Bridezilla:

"Please don't call me names. Knowing what I want, being clear about it, and sticking to a reasonable decision does not make me a Bridezilla. It makes me mature and capable."

To someone calling another person a Bridezilla:

"Honestly, most people planning a wedding are just under tremendous and unfair pressure. They're usually reasonable women who are clear about what they want."

…Or my favorite response of all time:

"I prefer the term Bridethulhu — part octopus, part bride, and part dragon."

Let's Offbeat Bride hivemind this problem! How are you battling the term Bridezilla? Calling people out on the sexism? Got a good copy 'n' paste response? Leave 'em all in the comments.

  1. One other point I'd make is that any significant purchase – whether it's a car, a home, or a wedding – requires diligence and accountability. If you're spending $10K on a caterer (just hypothetically), you'd want to be diligent with your contract and make sure that you're getting what you pay for. So maybe something like "Man, I'd much prefer to hold my vendors accountable/stay organized with my spreadsheets and be called a Bridezilla than lose thousands of dollars and have bad food/a band that doesn't show/no booze for this wedding. You do want booze, right Aunt Linda?"

  2. I have never met a "bridezilla" in the flesh, and I'm willing to bet that most of the people who lob "bridezilla" at brides have never met one in the flesh either. Usually "bridezilla" behavior that you see on TV is the symptom, not the disease, as in they were spoiled and selfish BEFORE the wedding and will probably continue their behavior afterwards. (And they play up their behavior for the cameras only to then have someone extensively edit the episode to make them look like the worst of the worst. Reality television ain't reality.)

    Really in our culture EVERYTHING a woman does is supposed to be "effortless," like the trend of "I woke up like dis" and "having it all" in one's career and home life, and the minute you admit that being a modern woman is effort-full, you're "ungrateful" or "not trying hard enough." Most of the people who have called me bridezilla have either a.) never been in a wedding and don't know what goes into them, or b.) got married 30+ years ago when etiquette and wedding culture were a lot different. What I usually say to them is, "Why does that make me a bridezilla?" Only once has someone answered that they're concerned that I'm worked up over something meaningless and have something bigger eating away at me . . . and that person was my groom. Mostly these people just sputter because there's no polite way to say, "I'm trying to convince you that you should do it my way."

    • OMG! I love the "turning a rude question around" idea. A simple "why would you say THAT?" or "what makes you think that?" turns the issue onto the question-asker.

      And you're super-right about "reality" TV and sit-coms making Bridezilla a "thing. Please.

    • Even on TV it's often not valid. The one time I watched that show they were trying to have a rehearsal, half the wedding party turned up almost an hour late and were just screwing around. An hour later the vicar was pressuring them to finish so he could lock up, and the bride (speaking up for the first time) said "ok, can we just do this right once so we can all go and eat?" Then everyone freaked out as if this was themes insane demand they'd ever heard. And that was the version of events after reality TV editing.

  3. I got called a Bridezilla on the very first outing with my mother and bridesmaids. We were on our way to go wedding dress shopping, and my mother expressed a want to stop at her accountant's house, for whatever reason. I simply said, "That's not really what we're doing today." I got an "Okay, Bridezilla" in response, not from my mother, but from the MOH, my sister. If wanting to go straight to the store to try on dresses for the first time warranted such a comment, how was the rest of my planning going to go? That unfortunately set up a foundation for how I would treat everything, because I had gone into this not wanting to be a true Bridezilla – unreasonable, selfish and batshit insane – and I had barely begun planning yet. Getting called that barely out of the gates was hurtful, and set me up to be especially neurotic about my choices and what I asked of everyone involved. But since I am especially neurotic on a good day, it only added fuel to my already anxious fire.

    I am getting married in two weeks, and whereas that word has been at the back of my head, it hasn't affected any of the decisions my fiance and I have made. It did made me careful not to ignore the feelings of the people working along beside me to help me bring this vision to life, and it reinforced my want not to alienate anyone close to me. I have heard stories that could be deemed Bridezilla-worthy, but like everyone else on here says, it's from people who have those kinds of personalities anyways. The best you can do is be mindful of how you act. Genuinely thank those who are involved for whatever task they do, no matter how small. Apologize if you blow up at the wrong person. And if someone wants to call you names because of your choices, or because you have a random meltdown, you know that these are not the people you should be discussing details with, even if they are family. As long as you have those that support you, those are the ones who wouldn't dream of calling you names because they know this is huge.

  4. I got married about 3 months ago and my husband to be was more Bridezilla then I ever was. I will say I had 2 moments were I was not happy with how I acted. It is a terrible term and just because I did not want to do something. I hate it and quickly crushed the use of it. I am a pretty laid back person so I knew that I was going to be pretty chill. If you are a more tense, controlling person you may get called that. I always say to myself "Is this the hill I want to die?" It is also knowing what is the most important things and sticking to your vision.

    • Yes I feel the same thing! It's so frustrating to me that it can only be me… but really in my case he's the one with all the really strict opinions and I'm the one who doesn't really care! Every time I talk to anyone they assume I *must* be the one pulling the strings though because I'm a bride. So frustrating.

  5. Exactly. I got called it by my mother this weekend. We had been to a bridal show, and she constantly told me I wasn't far along enough in my planning. We then went out to do some errands and I made an appointment with one of my vendors, and my mother didn't agree with the date and wanted to put it off. She argued with me in front of the vendor, then repeatedly in the car ride home when I wouldn't change my mind, then she threw the Bridezilla at me. It felt very unfair, especially after 5 hours of being told I needed to lock some vendors in. Sometimes I think the people around us are the Bridezillas.

  6. I'm confident that I'll get this lobbed at me, it's just the bridal version of people calling a decisive or assertive woman a b*tch. I'm used to being listened to in day-to-day life, as I've surrounded myself with respectful people. My family, on the other hand, are not so good at listening to me or believing my decisions are valid. It should be interesting. I don't really give a damn if I'm a Zilla.

  7. I think that if someone calls you a "bridezilla," about 99% of the time you should probably turn around and say "at least I"m not META-BRIDEZILLA"

    I mean, if metadata is data concerning the behavior of data, then meta-bridezilla is someone (anyone, male or female) bridezilla-ing (i.e. being selfish or whiny or controlling) concerning the behavior of the bride.

  8. This is perhaps neither here nor there, since I'm not arguing that this problem doesn't exist. But, my brother was the "groomzilla" for his wedding. My sister-in-law could not have been more relaxed and sweet and go-with-the-flow. My brother was freaking out on everybody and stressing the details. But, that's how their personalities are in general about everything.

    I'm posting this mainly to share that my uncle, who performed the ceremony, called my brother a bridezilla during the ceremony! I actually thought it was rude of my uncle, along with a few other weird comments he made (including about meeting my SIL for the first time in a bikini and how she looked then, WTF). However, it garnered an affectionate laugh. Which brings me to my point. I think people thought it was endearing with my brother or a sign that he was such a great guy to be so involved in planning the wedding. I think it would have a whole other connotation if my SIL had been called a bridezilla during her vows and people would have had different thoughts and feelings about it in general. Nobody would be talking about what a great gal she is for being so invested in planning the wedding. It parallels the kudos that dads get for just being regular dads.

  9. There are a lot of good points here. I get the feeling that there is more than one aspect being argued though.
    First up, bridezillas are real; they're not just a myth or an urban legend, I have met them, I have worked with them, I have feared them. I once had a bride throw a full-blown, rattle-out-the-pram, two-year-old tantrum with crying, kicking, screaming, turning bright red in the face on the morning of her wedding because the flowers were the wrong shade of cream. Seriously, a grown woman had a melt down that kids would be embarrassed by because her flowers were too ivory, not creamy enough. It was horrifying to watch, and I should never have taken her on as a client, but you live & learn!
    The other side of this coin is that "Bridezilla" has entered the modern vernacular, it is now used by the uninitiated as a catch-all term for brides who, as several comments have observed, stand up for their choices, or have to put their foot down. Usually the brides (and grooms) are being perfectly reasonable, and "quit being a bridezilla" is less a comment on the bride's behaviour and more a defence against them being called out.
    I'm getting married in one week, and I have done the bulk of the planning & organising including hand making a lot of things for our day, designing & printing all our stationery, and making a lot of decisions. I have never been referred to as a groomzilla (other than by myself from time to time!) but we have had a few people, attempting to be funny, call my fiancée a bridezilla when in truth she doesn't really mind about the details (I'm the detail oriented one in our team).
    The wedding industry is probably the most sexist industry left in the world, and as a photographer I had never been exposed to its full face-melting power until we started planning a wedding.
    So when someone drops a "bridezilla" label at your feet, don't take it personally (unless in the past five minutes you've been screaming, throwing things, or hitting anyone), challenge their statement politely, and if they can't cite a specific incident of genuine bridezilla behaviour tell them to be more respectful of others feelings and to act like the grown up they are pretending to be! Then throw in a playful "RAAAAARRRRRR, I am bridezilla!"

  10. I appreciate the troubling of the term “bridezilla” in respect to gender identity and misogyny, but I think it can be reductionist (a symptom of certain varieties of feminism) to generalize that female-sexed humans are the only ones capable of embodying a “bride” identity. I like the idea of having a groom counter label, but this, again, relies on a really static worldview of sex and gender identities.

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