On the Ellen Degeneres show yesterday, Miley Cyrus chatted with Ellen about her upcoming wedding. While I found her quite personable and actually very well-spoken, her comments regarding her wedding were incredibly complex and intriguing. For those who don't know, Miley's engagement has been much hyped in the media (I think both because of her popularity and also because she is a young 19 years old.).
Interestingly, she started out by distinguishing herself as a bride not obsessed with the details ("Like, I don't care what color the napkins are, to be honest,"). I always think it's interesting when women feel the need to assert themselves as NOT a bridezilla. Jessica Biel was also similarly quoted in describing herself as relatively low-key when talking about marrying Justin Timberlake. I'm curious how this is a reaction to, or in judgement of, the popular television show Bridezilla, now in it's 9th season. However, despite this assertion she seems to contradict herself in her low-keyness later in the interview by stating, "This is the one day that it's what I choose and every detail is things that I love." And, it's hard to blame her for wanting to pay attention to every detail given the enormous pressure brides are under these days to treat the wedding as a statement about their identity, let alone adding the pressure of being a celebrity.
Then, Miley goes on to talk about "that look" as what she's looking forward to during the wedding, "What I'm most excited for, is that look when, you know, who you're marrying, you see, the first time you're seeing the dress and everything that you've planned for months and months, like, coming together, and that you did it together." It is sweet that she's emphasizing planning the wedding together and capturing the moment when you both realize it's actually happening. Talking about jointly planning a wedding is unusual in cultural representations of the engagement process.
Yet, the more she kept talking about it, the more she seemed focused on HER look, and being an object for her fiance's affection. And, she reiterates the cultural obsession of creating a "perfect" day stating, "That's my day", a day for the bride (not necessarily the couple). In fact, she even references that she's focused on "the first moment he sees me in my dress" and that it's a time when "the movie crap, that romance" is actually supposed to be real.
Maybe I'm being too cynical and she's actually trying to express what Jane described in the movie 27 Dresses:
"You know how the bride makes her entrance and everybody turns to look at her? That's when I look at the groom. Cause his face says it all you know? The pure love there."
I still have mixed feelings about the clip. On the one hand, she seems to be demonstrating an awareness and rejection of the images of romantic relationships in movies and culture. She even at times is having to resist the cultural stereotypes being layered on her as wanting a big and over the top wedding. Yet, she subtly repackages much of the same societal messages (Bride's day, about the dress, perfect day) while trying to appear to rebuff the stereotyped image.
What was unequivocally fantastic about the interview however, was the normalization brought to same-sex weddings. Miley not only nonchalantly referenced Ellen's wedding to Portia, but held it up as a standard and ideal. Maybe we have come a long way after all.