The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture : Something Old, Something New book cover
1st Edition

The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture
Something Old, Something New

ISBN 9781138586239
Published November 7, 2019 by Routledge
208 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book interrogates the hyper-visibility and stubborn endurance of the wedding spectacle across media and culture in the current climate.

The wide-ranging chapters consider why the symbolic power of weddings is intensifying at a time when marriage as an institution appears to be in decline – and they offer new insights into the shifting and complex gender politics of contemporary culture. The collection is a feminist project but does not straight-forwardly renounce the wedding spectacle. Rather, the diverse contributions offer close analyses of the myriad forms and practices of the wedding spectacle, from reality television and cinematic film to wedding videography and bridal boutiques. Drawing on feminist and queer theory, the chapters illuminate the paradoxes, contradictions, disappointments, cruelties and pleasures that are intimately bound up with the wedding spectacle.

Written by leading and emerging feminist scholars, the chapters range across different national and cultural contexts to explore how the gender politics of weddings are changing and adapting to a new cultural and social landscape. This in-depth analysis of the wedding spectacle will appeal to academics and researchers in the fields of gender and mass media, cultural studies, feminist studies, and intercultural communication.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Contributors



Something Old, Something New: The Gender Politics of the Wedding Spectacle

Jilly Boyce Kay, Melanie Kennedy and Helen Wood

  1. The Bride Wore Dread: Dissent and Desire for the Wedding Spectacle in Sex and the City, from the Box to the Big-screen
  2. Deborah Jermyn

  3. Making a Spectacle of Yourself: British-Asian Wedding Videography as Alternative Archives of Belonging
  4. Jilly Boyce Kay and Kajal Nisha Patel

  5. Weddings, Anti-Heroines, and Postfeminist Cynicism
  6. Suzanne Leonard

  7. Say Yes to the Dress and the Affective Rhythms of Repetition and Reflection
  8. Natasha Whiteman and Helen Wood

  9. Big Fat Royal Weddings: Kate the "Commoner" Princess and Classed Moral Economies
  10. Laura Clancy

  11. "Time for all of us to Walk into the Sunshine Together": Glee, Same-sex Wedding Spectacle and the Imagining of Queer Futures
  12. Kate McNicholas Smith

  13. Tailored for Marriage, Ready for the Stage: Frames of the Family Regime on "The Marriage Show"
  14. Feyza Akınerdem

  15. Keeping it Classy: Wedding Dresses and Distinctions
  16. Jenny Thatcher

  17. Tailor-made Suits and "Crappy Drag Queens": Constructing Gay and Lesbian Weddings in Reality TV
  18. Michael Lovelock

  19. Spectacular Virgins: Purity Porn and the Making Uncanny of the White Wedding
  20. Melanie Kennedy

  21. On Blushing Brides and the Compulsory Logics of Hetero-Femininity: The Glow in Transatlantic Media Culture

Brenda R. Weber


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Jilly Boyce Kay is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Her forthcoming book Gender, Media and Voice focusses on the mediation of women’s voices and the concept of "communicative injustice". She has also published on mediated feminist anger, newspaper representations of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain and Ireland, reality television, and women’s television histories. She is Editor of the Cultural Commons section in the European Journal of Cultural Studies.

Melanie Kennedy is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. She is the author of Tweenhood: Femininity and Celebrity in Tween Popular Culture. Her research examines media representations of gendered, age-defined, classed, raced identities (in particular tweens, young female celebrities, and teenage mothers), and the popular culture that addresses these subjects. She is the Associate Editor of Commentary and Criticism for Feminist Media Studies (Routledge).

Helen Wood is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at at Lancaster University. She has published widely on television, class and audiences, including the books Talking with Television and Reacting to Reality Television, and the edited volume Television for Women: New Directions (Routledge 2012). She is also Editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies.


This fascinating collection significantly updates and expands our understanding of the popular cultures of weddings.  Analyzing the wedding as a premiere site of spectacle, aspiration and the staging of social intimacy, it also unpacks its digitalization, globalization and complex affects and calls our attention to what we might think of as the growing distance between weddings and marriage.

Diane Negra, Professor of Film Studies and Screen Culture, University College Dublin

Grounded in a critique of the class hierarchies and rampant inequalities of racialised heteropatriarchy, this book resists a straightforward dismissal of the mediated wedding spectacle. Instead, the plural feminist perspectives offer (com)passionate explorations of sites of resistance and ambivalence. They identify themes of identity, power, desire, consent, affect, camp, generation, while interrogating the mediated production of intimacies, connectivities and conflicts.

Alison Winch, Lecturer in Media Studies, University of East Anglia