- People often describe engaged women as “bridezillas”.
- But two industry experts told Insider they believe the term should be retired.
- Experts said the term has misogynistic roots and people use it to minimize the stress of planning a wedding.
If you’ve been married or know someone who’s been engaged, you’re probably familiar with the word “bridezilla.”
It was invented in 1995, according to Grammarand it traditionally refers to a bride who disrespects those around her as she plans her wedding, both Jen Glantz, a professional bridesmaid and the founder of bridesmaid for hireand Landis Bejar, marriage therapist and founder of DrivewayTalkInsider said.
For example, she might ignore requests from her partners about the budget or tell members of her wedding party that they need to lose weight to be at her wedding, Glantz and Bejar said.
But today, people use the word to refer to almost all brides – which is why, according to Glantz and Bejar, it’s high time to stop using it.
“It’s so watered down that it’s used to describe any woman who cares about her marriage,” Bejar said of the term. “It is used to describe a woman who is assertive, who asserts her needs, who has emotions.”
“The second any kind of explosion or crying or emotion happens, they’re labeled bridezilla,” Glantz said of the brides, echoing Bejar.
“After my engagement, I had four spreadsheets open on my computer, and I sat my fiancé down and looked at them,” Glantz continued. “And he was like, ‘The bridezilla has started.’ And I was like, ‘But why? Because I’m being proactive?'”
Although most people consider it exciting, a commitment is often a stressful experience, experts said.
“There are many reasons why our emotions can change during wedding planning,” Bejar told Insider. “Perhaps you are dealing with very intense family tensions. Perhaps this is a big change of identity for you. Perhaps you have stress in your relationship, or you are trying to soothe your in-laws or you spend a fortune.”
All of this is inherently stressful, and the pressure is often heightened for brides in particular, as Bejar previously told Insider, as the burden of planning usually falls on them.
Calling someone a bridezilla doesn’t acknowledge all the reasons a bride might feel stressed while planning the wedding. “It’s very understating,” Bejar said.
Instead of just writing your loved one off as a bride, Bejar recommends first trying to understand why a bride might be stressed.
“If you notice someone changing, don’t put them in this category and say, ‘Oh, I’m done with them,'” Bejar added, suggesting that you ‘check in’ with the bride and see if there is something you can do to help instead.
The word ‘bridezilla’ is also misogynistic in nature, Bejar said
She said the idea of a bridezilla “reinforces the idea of the ‘good wife,’ but what it really means is the ‘good wife’.”
“You appease everyone. You put everyone’s feelings before yourself. You speak your mind. You go with the flow,” Bejar said of the “good bride” archetype.
“Anyone that doesn’t fit in this box, we label them bridezilla,” she added.
“If you don’t act perfectly as someone committed, you get criticized,” Glantz agreed.
Bridezilla is an “identity-based insult,” as Bejar put it, much like the word “bitch.” There’s no male equivalent for the term, and it’s meant to downplay one aspect of femininity — in this case, being a bride, she said.
If you call someone in your life a bridezilla when they seem stressed about their marriage, you’re choosing to approach them without empathy, erasing their true stress and looking down on them for being a bride in the first place, according to Bejar.
“There are real emotions that come with weddings, and we’re allowed to feel that,” Bejar said. “But we don’t need the added pressure of society thinking we’re crazy.”
And if you call someone a bridezilla, know that the message will likely stick with the bride long after she’s married, Bejar said.
“Words are like toothpaste. You can squeeze them easily, but you can’t put them back,” she said.