While watching one of my favorite shows, So You Think You Can Dance?, I was intrigued by the clip shown below. In the promo for the dance, Marco and Whitney talk about the theme of the dance- wedding. According to them, the choreography is about a couple on their wedding day, but the bride is not sure she wants to get married. Well, enough.
However, I was appalled that in relating to the audience, Marco pretends to ask Whitney's dad for permission to marry his daughter. It's 2012!! The last time I checked, women were more than capable of making their own decisions about whom to marry. Whitney goes on about how her father won't let her get married at 18 (well, I'm sure most PARENTS, moms and dads alike, wouldn't be too thrilled about that, or for that matter, wouldn't like it for their daughters OR sons) and that he has a shot gun. This reference seems to be both communicating her dad's love and protection for her as well as stereotypes about folks from Utah.
I know many of you would say, "it's just a joke!" but what I'd like to point out is that this imagery happens over and over and over again and that's the power of the messaging- it seems small, why even notice it. Yet, it adds up. And, my question is this- in 2012, do most American men still ask for permission from the soon-to-be-bride's father? Don't even get me started on the property connotations this elicits!
As we're trying to teach people how to have healthy relationships, wouldn't it be more helpful to have the onslaught of images represent couples jointly making a decision on whether or not to spend their lives together, as peers, as equals?
Also, I would say it's not likely a coincidence that the white, thin, young, blond dancer was picked as the contestant for the wedding choreography. You can see this replicated in any movie and any bridal magazine you pick up.
Things I DID like about this clip: It was definitely refreshing that it was the bride in this scene that was not sure about marriage! Generally, grooms are portrayed as the only ones resisting marriage and having cold feet with women doing everything they can to 'trap' their man. Also, I found Cat Deeley's joke at the end regarding pre-nups humorous.
And, the dancing was fantastic.