This picture is too much for me.
Talk about the wedding industrial complex has been all over the place and I like it. But the conversation of race and culture has been left out of the larger discussion. How does capitalism intersect with wedding rituals in cultures other than mainstream white culture? Looking through the wedding section of Nirali has me perplexed (and cracking up) thinking about South Asian weddings in the US and how they typify this notion of the “wedding industrial complex”. I have been to many and at this point I have just stopped going. I am 29 and don’t plan on getting married. In fact I vehemently oppose getting married, and really can’t afford to fly all over the country for a ritual I have deep problems with.
The weddings that I have seen and many of the weddings characterized in Nirali, don’t really seem like weddings that are about love and romance. They seem more like business mergers and marketing ploys. Some weddings even get straight to the point and ask that you don’t bring boxed gifts, just a check. Nothing says love like having all your friends give you a few thousand dollars. And clearly love can only *really* happen if you spend 70K and have 500 of your closest friends present.
Weddings in India are huge as well, but in the US they are huge, elaborate, cheesy and cost a small fortune. It has become the norm in the middle class South Asian community to have a huge wedding and spend a ton of money whether you have it or not. It is a new way to become American in an Indian way. For example, “something old, something new, ” is not a South Asian tradition! That is the placement of US romantic fetish marketing within South Asian chic. Romantic heterosexuality, having money and raising a normal family have become encoded in the “becoming” process for second generation South Asian Indians. And since being American seems to be all about capitalist consumption they may almost succeed, except for that post 9/11 ‘you look like a terrorist snag.’ (Which may be the fear that exaggerates it in the first place, but let me not get ahead of myself.).
It is so lame. Neela at Hyphen delves deeper.