I think it's worthwhile to consider that your recent spate of wedding articles are missing a huge opportunity to talk about the real complications of weddings, far beyond the judge-y articles you've been writing about weddings and budgets. It's easy to attack the $28K average wedding cost figure. It's easy to poke fun at Bridal Expos. It's easy to create a post where commenters pile on and rip apart couples and their highly personal choices about weddings (though I do think Dodai made the best, most honest attempt to sort through the challenges). And, since Jezebel is a Denton-owned, pageview-centric operation, I understand why this happens.
However, I think there's a serious case to be made for looking at the more subtle complexities of the wedding industrial complex, of the "blogging industrial complex" (as some of my weddingland girlfriends have begun to call it), of the economies of handmade weddings, of the pressures of "indie" wedding/DIY planning, of our weddings as an expression of our values, of weddings as a viable economy for artists and women-owned businesses, of the gender expectations associated with weddings and marriage, of the real costs and decisions inherent in these wedding related issues, and of the meaning of marriage itself. So many of your incredibly intelligent staff have recently planned/are planning weddings/marriage that it's shocking to me that there's not more talk about the hard-but-interesting stuff. You have a real platform to talk about weddings differently, apart from the standard woman-bashing narrative. There's a real case to be made that the disdain with which some of your writers have approached women's choices about their weddings indicates a real lack of respect and buy-in to typical gender stereotypes and trashing of a traditionally women-centric domain (speaking of, there's a real groom sea-change happening too, some for good and some for bad. But it's interesting, nonetheless).
I think recent comment sections have indicated some of that same frustration with the flippant articles, or the less-than-analytical articles, or the comment section ugliness. I love Jezebel. Though I comment infrequently, I've been around since the beginning. And now, as I've started to plan my own wedding, this is the first time I've been viscerally turned off to what I've seen, primarily because it's not a fair or thoughtful approach to everything out here. And also because you have a real chance to open your audience's eyes about the alternatives and feminist conversations surrounding weddings, much like Jessica Valenti did with her recent wedding. There are incredibly smart people blogging about these challenges and providing a serious antidote to the Kn*t and its ilk. And it's not just Offbeat Bride (which is great for the openminded perspective, even if I'm not goth or rockabilly, or whatever). A Practical Wedding is my go-to daily must-read, but I genuinely feel that individual bloggers talking about their weddings are providing a real third-rail antidote to the madness as we find a space to talk about our issues with each other (my blogroll has some great examples). The rest of the world dismisses us as Bridezillas, regardless of what we do or say, and the space apart has been imperative in keeping my sanity and working out my egalitarian, community-centric, wedding and marriage process.
It's not just me. I wrote a post yesterday that already has 45 comments (and received tons of behind the scenes emails) about how angry we are with wedding articles - specifically referencing Jezebel - and how dismissive they are of the real wedding challenges. It's not just me. It's a lot of thoughtful, feminist, writers and readers who are really turned off right now. We're your audience. And we're battling with the same challenges as anyone else planning a thoughtful, values-driven wedding. We're planning weddings, not elopements, for a reason. And there's a reason these things cost money. And we're struggling with our choices every step of the way and with the expectations heaped on us from every corner. It would be nice to think that our normal safe-space reading on the internet (Jezebel) could be a little less judgmental and a little more open to the challenges and complexities too.
p.s. It's not just me. Anther Damn Wedding wrote a similar post here, published minutes before mine.
p.p.s. I emailed this to Jezebel. Because if influential, feminist-leaning sites keep getting it wrong, what hope do we have for ever shifting the mainstream cultural conversation?