“I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was 12 years old”.
Whether or not the bride has actually said this (or even thought about getting married as a 12-year-old), this line is part of the many wedding tropes found in movies, TV, and music…until the pressure to have a glittering, amazing day becomes the center of the bride’s world (whether or not she even knows that she wants a lavish wedding).
We’ve all heard about the bridezilla and the momzilla — these petty, self-centered women make the entire wedding experience a nightmare for everyone involved (and provide outlandish TV drama). These raging characters are associated with female hysteria. Psst…this comes from sexist stereotypes that blame women instead of society for the anxiety that taints wedding planning.
But we’re forgetting about another person, a person as integral to the wedding as the bride herself, a person who is about to experience a day just as momentous and lifechanging: the groom. His very existence proves that (believe it or not), it’s not just about the bride. And he knows this, even if he’s unwilling to admit it and steal the bride’s thunder.
Here, ladies and gentlemen are where the groomzilla is born.
If these counterparts to the bride also exist, why don’t they have a TV show, too? Well, most of the stories about these nightmarish men are tucked deep into the crevices of the Internet (thank you, Reddit). One Reddit user talked about how her ex-fiance (let’s call him Mr. Reddit) spent more money on their engagement ring than he could afford, thus plunging himself into debt while he obsessed over how envious her friends were of the ring and their finances, kept using her credit card for purchases, and wanted to use her apartment as collateral for a loan. When this illogical behavior reached a boiling point and she ended the engagement, Mr. Reddit allegedly didn’t tell his friends for months so he could still have the bachelor’s party before anyone could back out.
Overcompensation, overspending to look like a provider, and throwing a party for ego. What does all this sound like? Provider syndrome. And who is to blame? Society.
Deeply rooted gender roles paint the man in the relationship as the breadwinner, the provider who gives his family financial support, shelter, and protection. What happens when the male cannot provide because of financial stress and society’s expectations? His image as a man shatters, likely leaving him irritable, irrational, and insufferable (like our Mr. Reddit from before).
Deeply rooted gender roles paint the man in the relationship as the breadwinner, the provider who gives his family financial support, shelter, and protection.
In the way women are expected to be queens on top of taking charge within their respective gender sphere, people see men as having the most pressure to provide his wife with everything. A lot rests on the groom once those wedding bells start to ring. All eyes are on him, watching his every move as if they foreshadow how adept a husband or father he will soon be. And this is crucial considering that studies have found that families with a present father figure are usually more successful, both emotionally and financially.
when misogynistic guys say "go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich" to bring back gender roles 😭😭😭 like ok? go back to the office and provide for me 🥰🥰🥰 where's the money? 😍😍
— mich 🍄🪴✨ (@_michellechong) May 3, 2021
Add all of this to the way that the national average cost of a wedding in 2020 was a staggering $19,000, the financial strains that accompany a wedding (which reflects the man’s “image”) are suffocating. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that this figure is a drop from 2019’s average of $28,000. That’s a whopping amount of cash to pay for a wedding that happens only once.
Knowing all this, it’s not so hard to imagine that groomzillas exist, and can be just as insufferable as their brides. Sure, they come off as selfish, petty, and overbearing on the surface. It’s only after you peel away the layers of gender stigmas and societal expectations that these hellish caricatures become sympathetic.
So the next time you find yourself at a wedding with a shrieking bride or a shouting groom, hand them a glass of whiskey instead of calling them a “zilla”. Because if they made it as far as the alter, they sure deserve it.
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