What if you are not ‘fit to wed’?

So, waiting in lines is one of those activities that most of us humans abhor. As such, it often brings out the worst in people.

The other day, after waiting a LONG time to speak to a “communications consultant” (talk about job title inflation!) at a cell phone store, the woman behind me in line kept edging closer and closer to me, invading my personal space and privacy while she jiggled her keys and jumped agitatedly from foot to foot. I glanced back, hoping to benignly indicate that she was standing a bit to close and her impatience was quite rude. As I did so, I noticed she was wearing a common uniform of the young and fit – a skintight gym outfit in black accompanied by what appeared to be brand new very expensive tennis shoes. The top, much like a bra, had a logo above the left boob that read, “fit 2 wed.”

“Huh, how typical,” I thought – not only is she an annoying space-invader unable to wait in line respectfully, but she is advertising herself as female meat that is ‘fit 2 wed.’ I assumed this was some sort of advertisement to go along with her skintight attire, as in “look at me, I am so hot, you should marry me.” However, upon looking back again after she started complaining that her dog was waiting outside and she was in a hurry, I noticed the back waistline of her workout pants read “getfit2wed.com.” Aha, I thought, it’s an actual company!

Following up my curiosity later at home, I discovered the Fit2Wed website, a “bridal boot camp” offering “an ultimate outdoor workout designed to transform your body.” Ugh. The site is pink-orrific with pictures exclusively of women. Apparently men don’t need to be fit to wed.

With the tagline “Get fit for your wedding day” and copy that encourages you to “look awesome in your wedding dress,” the site claims it is “changing lives, one workout at a time.” Yes, because what is more important for a woman than to get married, to look hot doing it, and to ‘change her life’ by changing the way she looks?

I hadn’t heard of any bridal boot camps before, but my gut tells me this San Diego based company is not unique. As books such as White Weddings by Chrys Ingraham

or analyses such as “My Big Fat Unnecessary Wedding” by Jessica Valenti make painfully clear, weddings are not only BIG business, they are also rabidly sexist, heteronormative, and lookist.

A dear feminist friend of mine is getting married soon. She shared that as she shops for wedding dresses, she is continually asked questions of the “how much weight do you plan to lose before the big day?” ilk. When she replies “none” and shares she likes her body the way it is, thank you, she reports that the salespeople are invariably dumbfounded. I mean, how can you possibly be happy being fat, let alone on your wedding day?!?

This belief is what Fit2Wed trades in, despite the usual claims that its about ‘health’ and ‘feeling good’. If it isn’t all about the inches and number on the scale, then why the before and after photos detailing the inches, pounds, and body fat lost?

This bridal boot camp mentality is very disturbing and is not the purview of only this small San Diego company of course. The fit2wed paradigm is merely another cog in the appearance-is-all wheel that runs roughshod over women’s lives. It is apparent on shows such as The Bachelor that indicate only beautiful women are worth considering as marriage material. It fuels the bridal magazine and television show industry, inducing women to spend fortunes not only on the wedding and the run up to it, but also on ‘beautifying’ their own bodies for the ‘big day’.

While marriage as an institution is problematic in many ways, this ‘bride as booty’ mentality seems particularly worrying and yet massively common. Don’t the supposed ‘new women’ of this century, who claim to sympathize with feminist ideals even if they don’t call themselves feminists, find this mentality a bit insulting, outdated, and downright sexist? Well, apparently not – at least not if the many women who offer gushing testimonials on the Fit2Wed website serve as any indication.

Problem is that this waiting in line experience and later research into Fit2Wed confirmed in me a dislike for the gym clad hot bodies who prance around in public in their skin tight workout attire. I am aware that not all such bodies are like the woman who was so rude at the Sprint store, nor do all people who workout do so to be ‘hot’ according to societal standards. If only people like the woman I ran into weren’t so damn ubiquitous. Seems like a better logo for her to paste above her left breast would be “just another piece of objectified meat.” Hey, now that gives me an idea for a better name for “bridal boot camps” such at Fit2Wed: how about Fit2Bbooty with taglines such as “changing women into objectified bridal booty, one workout at a time”?


21 thoughts on “What if you are not ‘fit to wed’?”

  1. That’s crazy. I have never heard of bridal boot camp. It’s one thing to promote working out but just to look cute in your dress? If I ever do marry, it will be because my spouse loves me just the way I am.

  2. profesora! another great post….

    s**t! at 8 years old, i knew i wasn’t “fit to wed”! i was “way too opinionated, far too smart and too fat” ….as my grandfather said.

    ah well…

    but, yes….the bridal industrial complex is ugly….i mean, shouldn’t ya concentrate on enjoying yourself in the process/planning as much as possible? i always said that far too much importance is placed on “perfection”….and to starve and impose sanctioned body abuse (in the form of excessive excercise) is absolutely insane….

  3. Oh goodness… this really needs to stop! I wrote about a similar website that is STILL the #1 keyword searched to get to my blog!

    The biggest problem I have with these “services” is that they reinforce that these women (all of us?) are not good enough on the average day, let alone good enough for what’s supposed to be the biggest day of our lives. If we’re only mediocre Monday through Friday, then we’re a waste of space on that special weekend. WTF?! This warped logic just pisses me off.

    P.S.- I’m linking to this in my link round-up today. =)

  4. Chicana,
    Glad to hear it! Thanks for the comment.

    s**t! at 8 years old, i knew i wasn’t “fit to wed”!” You are too funny! I always enjoy your comments — please keep them coming!

    Frau Sally Benz,
    Thanks for the comment and the link love! How troubling to hear that ‘skinny brides’ is the #1 keyword that gets people to your blog. But, on the other hand, I am glad they find you and perhaps your wise words knock some feminist sense into them!

  5. Another leftists tripe on how evil it is for people to look good. Of course if you’re a fat ugly slob that triggers gravity wave detectors your appearance is entitled to the utmost respect and deference. Doesn’t this all tie up to the leftist ideal of everyone being “equal” so since some people are better looking than others the ugly are disadvantaged since the latest “-ism” lookism (if there ever was was a more senseless term). Yes people are lookists and in spite of all the ministrations of the Ultra-PC crowd they still think a slim woman is better looking than some “weight challenged person” dressed in spandex pants big enough to house a Bedouin tribe

  6. Hey readers,
    Ever read Eats, Shoots, Leaves? The author makes an interesting argument linking intelligence/likability to the ability to correctly use possessive apostrophes. As a case in point, see the comment above.

  7. Ah, trotting out the age-old “if you don’t like being judged solely on your appearance and having everything else about you being dismissed, then you must be fat/ugly/jealous” argument! That’s OK…(*indulgent pat on head*), run along now and let the adults talk, ‘k?

    I want to puke at the notion that a wedding day should be the ultimate, end all/be all for a woman, let alone that how I look that day should be my only consideration.

  8. Smirking Cat,

    Ha, ha! You made my day with that one!

    And I agree with you on the ‘want to puke’ part, too.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. Nice job snatching that instructive bit of noxious flotsam from the daily blur and glut, professor.

    It’s quite a racially white site (and concept) too, isn’t it?

    LOVED your response to zane’s comment.

  10. Macon D,
    Well, judging by Zane’s logic, you must be wearing some big ole spandex pants right now while sloppily stuffing your face and setting off “gravity detectors.” Ha! (SO glad you found the response worthy of love.)

    Thanks for pointing out the whiteness of the site (and the concept). This is so true! I failed to notice it (there’s my damn white privilege kicking in again) but now that I think back, I think EVERY pic on the blog was of a white woman (didn’t want to look at the site again to check for sure as I don’t much fancy throwing up right now). I should have brought up this white angle, esp as I refer to the book WHITE weddings,- duh! Thanks again for adding another dimension of critique!

  11. “…it’s a nice day for a white wedding..”

    *insert billy idol snarl here*

    i just COULDN’T resist, professor!

    @ zane: whatever….then EXPLAIN why these “slim women” pay $$$$$ to have things surgically implanted or injected into their bodies to make certain areas “fuller”…when they could actually eat a damn meal (and probably enjoy it far better) and possibly achieve the same results?

    never mind, i think i already know….fear of teh fatz!

    it’s OK to have “fullness” in “certain areas”…just not in others, or be deemed less “attractive” or “feminine”…


    a riddle: what do you have when you have a nation of women who eat well?

    answer: a nation of strong, healthy women who can fully CONCENTRATE on issues that pertain to their very SURVIVAL….we CAN’T have THAT, now CAN we?

    where in the hades is my can of TROLL-B-GONE?

  12. Ha, ha! Thanks for starting my morning off with laughter.

    Ah, Billy Idol. I saw him live once where he pretty much wanked himself off on stage! Can you believe that? More like “it’s a nice day for stage wank.”

    When you find your can of troll b gone, can I have some?!? This sounds like a great product.

  13. Lindabeth,
    Yup, it is most thoroughly disgusting. (On a side note, it is nice to know that others are behind on their blog reading too. I, like you, have major catching up to do!!!)

  14. I attend Fit2Wed, and even though I am not a “bride” which most of her clients aren’t, I see why an outsider might get this impression. But I must tell you there is no, “you have to look good in your dress,” talk. It is just about eating healthy, and being “Fit.” I didn’t really work out before this class and I have to say that this class has made me feel alive. Working out makes you feel amazing, and not because it has visual benefits. If you knew Jessica personally, the trainer and owner, you would definitely retract all this “want to puke” quick to judge and assume crap. Lay off and be a little bit nicer.

  15. Melissa,
    Regardless of whether I knew the owner or most attendees are ‘brides’, I feel the analysis in the post still stands in regards to how being ‘fit’ is marketed to women. While I agree with you that exercising can make one “feel amazing” and has lots of benefits, the ‘fitness craze’ nevertheless MARKETS itself as something to make one LOOK better In so doing, it perpetuates appearance obsession for profit. I understand that many exercise for health and not looks (like you, I, and many others) but mainstream gym culture/personal training is, on the whole, extremely ‘lookist.’ Just this morning, the teacher at my weight lifting class was going on about how “you can tell the age of a woman by her triceps…you don’t want flabby triceps do you…” This kind of “doing it to look good” talk is ubiquitous and is most definitely the message on the Fit2Wed website. If the actual training is not like that, I am very glad to hear it!

    In regards to the “quick to judge and assume crap” I am wondering if you considered the wider critical points I am making in the post…

    As for the “Lay off and be a little bit nicer,” I am wondering if you ever take your own advice?

  16. “If it isn’t all about the inches and number on the scale, then why the before and after photos detailing the inches, pounds, and body fat lost?”

    -Because these are the specific goals that each individual person has decided on for herself. Before boot camp begins, you have the opportunity to decide why you are doing this. Jessica actually tells gals that if they are doing this ‘just to fit into a dress,’ that she would rather have them quit boot camp all together. Each woman chooses her goals. My goal was simply to get muscle tone. No counting calories, no stepping on the scale. Another woman’s goal may have been to lose 5 pounds – as a personal goal for HERSELF, not to ‘look good’ or ‘fit in a dress’ or ‘become a piece of BOOTY,’ as you so delicately phrased it. If a woman decides these physical goals for herself, without the pressure of what society or a website’s wording may put on her, then that is a completely commendable thing, and should most definitely be portrayed on the website with before and after photos. How empowering! If a woman joins Jessica’s boot camp under the impression that she ‘needs to be pretty’ in order to become a bride, then my hope is that she will learn to

    “Don’t the supposed ‘new women’ of this century, who claim to sympathize with feminist ideals even if they don’t call themselves feminists, find this mentality a bit insulting, outdated, and downright sexist? Well, apparently not – at least not if the many women who offer gushing testimonials on the Fit2Wed website serve as any indication.”

    -We are smart enough to look past the wording, to actually try it out, and to see for ourselves what values are presented through the boot camp. We are confident enough to not be swayed by society’s pressure on us to ‘look good,’ and we join the boot camp of our own accord, without a wedding date, and without the intention of looking good in order to become booty.

    In regards to the “quick to judge and assume crap” I am wondering if you considered the wider critical points I am making in the post…

    -Sure, there are many wider critical points, and all certainly have a place in the wider discussion of lookism. But the way that you pin-pointed Jessica and her business was definitely done in a way that was very judgmental. (Which seems to be your angle and your intention, anyway, so nothing I say will sway you, I’m sure). But calling out Jessica’s business by name could have been detrimental to her. Impatient in line or not… skin-tight tank top and all… I don’t think it was necessary for you to call her out like that. And stating that her business line ought to be “Fit2Bbooty” – well, that is just an imprudent and thoughtless comment to flippantly throw out, especially when it is not true of this individual, nor of the women who attend her class. I would encourage you to talk with more women who have actually taken the class. You will undoubtedly be surprised by the ‘non-booty’ and ‘non-lookist’ perceptions of those women.

    I am an intelligent, confident, anti-lookism, competent woman. And I will forever be one of those ‘gushing testimonials’ for Jessica and her boot camp.

  17. oops – left the first paragraph hanging…
    simply meant to say that I would just hope that those women will find confidence in their own skin and not feel the need to succumb to society’s pressure to look good.

  18. I just have to say that my whole life I’ve struggled with weight issues and it’s not about looking hot in tight workout clothes – it really is about being healthy and learning how to live in a society where obesity is at an all time high. Jessica’s bootcamp has changed my life. I’ve learned how to eat properly (quality and quantity) and the workouts are harder than anything I’ve ever done (and I was a college athlete). Just got back from class and we ran 4.5 miles and did exercises along the way. My whole point is taking the time to respond to your blog is so that you understand what this program is about. I was a bride looking for a program to get into shape – why would I not want to do everything I possibly could to look my best on my wedding day? Why even buy the dress, or get your hair done or put on make up? Have you really not ever had the desire to look your absolute best? to find the perfect outfit for an event or a speaking engagement or a big presentation? I’ve seen women change through this bootcamp class – they are doing things they never thought they had in them and it is absolutely amazing! I just hope when people read your blog they will scroll down and see a different perspective on this program.

  19. Like the above commenter suggests, there is a different way to look at the bridal boot camp phenomenon.

    Thing is, we all should try to treat ourselves well, and treat our bodies well. However, many of us procrastinate, and just let our lives go by – whether we’re busy or not – without doing the right thing for our health.

    A wedding, being an important part of many people’s lives, gives a bride or any other member of the wedding (groom’s included), an extra incentive to do what they’ve procratinated on for years. To get in shape, eat right, and be healthy over all.

    Health – what a great way to start a new life, whether getting married or not. My guess is that people who bash others simply because they are wearing clothing that suggests they are making an effort at being healthy, are finding themselves struggling with this very issue.

    It is one thing to bash someone is rude because they were rude. But to bash not only the clothing they are wearing but also a program that probably helps a lot of people to become healthy suggests the insecurity of the basher. Probably an insecurity in an unhealthy lifestyle. Neither has anything to do with the individual that was rude – it is doubtful that the clothing or the fitness program made that individual rude.

    1. AP,
      I agree that we should all treat our bodies well. However, crash diets and extreme exercise regimens are often touted as treating the body well, and I think this is problematic. Most of the diet and exercise craze is touted as about health, but much of it is about appearance — this is what I was trying to get at in my post. While the boot camp may indeed be focused on health, the images at the website don’t convey this focus.
      As for your “virtual psychology” reading about “people who bash others imply because they are wearing clothing that suggests they are making an effort at being healthy, are finding themselves struggling with this very issue,” well, it entirely leaves out the issue at hand — that of it NOT being about health, but about APPEARANCE. As for references to the “insecurity of the basher,” this again does not take on the wider critique the post is making. And “an insecurity in an unhealhy lifestyle”? Whoa! Way to make assumptions! Just because someone is critical of the diet/fitness industrial complex, they must be unhealthy?
      I admit I was annoyed by the rudeness of this person, but the wider arguments I make were not pulled from nowhere — looking at the images and copy on the site, the message is definitely appearance/inch/weight focused rather than giving a “Let’s get you healthy for life!” message. I imagine the program itself may be much different — and hope it is — but the message conveyed both by the website and the woman herself encourage(d) a focus on how the female body LOOKS – not how healthy it is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s