While shopping at Target for a card for a bride-to-be, I came upon this card. “Everything you need to be happy forever” includes a toaster, a mixer, a blender, a tea kettle, a wine glass and a frying pan. I opened the card, hoping it would include a message like “at least in your kitchen” or “as long as the two of you are together.” But no such luck; it was something along the lines of “Congratulations to the bride-to-be.” As someone who has never been a bride-to-be, but may be some day, I can attest that receiving this card would make me laugh, and possibly shoot punch out of my nose upon opening it. I own all of the items pictured- my blender is rarely used, and then only for margaritas and milkshakes; my tea kettle is packed away somewhere- I use the microwave; my mixer is a hand-held, and spends most of its time gathering dust; I haven’t used my toaster in a year. Obviously, I don’t really know my way around the kitchen and getting married isn’t going to change that for me. In fact, most of the men I’ve dated have been much more inclined to pick up and use the items listed.
This card isn’t for the happy couple- it’s for the bride. I can’t help but wonder to whom this card is being marketed. Would any members of my generation actually give this to one of their friends? I can’t imagine that someone somewhere would pick up this card and say, “this is perfect for her.” Is it being marketed to people who hold really traditional views on marriage? I don’t think the secret to a happy marriage will rest in cooking utensils. I know that the wedding industry is heavily marketed to women. And sometimes I feel conflicted about being a part of that, not only as a woman who eventually would like to get married, but because I hold a part-time job in the industry. How do you sell wedding gowns without buying in to all of the hype? It’s hard to find ways to talk to brides who expect you to say, “this will be the happiest day of your life” or who believe that your sexual history determines the shade of your wedding gown. It’s also not the place for feminist conversations about the role of marriage in contemporary society.
It makes me wonder when/if the wedding industry will catch up to the changing beliefs about marriage. I know there must be pockets of it, and brides and grooms are making their own rules for themselves, their beliefs and their relationships. And couples who do not fit the “traditional” (read heterosexual, cisgender) mold of marriage are fighting these battles in addition to fighting for the right to have their relationships granted full recognition and equality. For now, I guess I will have to read annoyingly idiotic cards like this and shake my head.