Author Topic: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it? Resolved #30  (Read 5648 times)

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NyaChan

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My sister's close friend from high school is getting married and has asked my sister and their other close high school friend to be 2/5 of her bridesmaids.  My sister and the other girl are both ethnically Indian.  Everyone else at the small, small-town wedding will be caucasian.  The bride is very reserved and doesn't really like to be the center of attention.  The other bridesmaids have been asked to select a style of their choice in a particular color from a shop that will customize dresses.  The bride asked my sister and the other girl to find a sari in that same color to wear to the wedding.  My sister and the other girl want to make the bride happy, but have some reservations about this request.

1) They feel they will stick out like sore thumbs and detract attention from the bride.  The bride seemed caught up in how cool it would look to have them in saris, almost like they were that unique touch to the wedding.
2) It feels like they are being asked to wear a costume while everyone else gets to wear normal clothes - my sister never wears saris, this would be the first time ever.
3) My sister was looking forward to experiencing the normal bridesmaid tradition since we don't do that in our weddings
4) They envision a reception of "Oh that's so exotic! What do you call that?" as there isn't a lot of cultural diversity here so their attire would be quite out of the ordinary
5) It is hard to match the formality of the occasion with the niceness of the saris that they have been finding.  As in, to avoid being too formal or too blinged out, they might have to wear a sari that we would consider too plain for us to normally even wear to a dinner party.  The bride has opted for a very simple dress and it feels weird to have sparkly silver beading or embroidery when no one else does.

Is this the sort of thing to just deal with (and they will if that's what the bride wants), or could they delicately hint that there might be some problems with this choice?

« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 02:54:42 AM by NyaChan »

lowspark

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 12:17:08 PM »
This is a tough one. I do feel it's a bit, I don't know, uncomfortable to be singled out like that but I'm guessing that the bride doesn't realize the position she is putting them in. Can your sister and friend just be honest with the bride and tell her that they never wear saris and that this would be the first time they'd ever worn one? Maybe the bride just thinks it's something your sister and friend are very accustomed to and comfortable with so if they can explain that it would feel awkward because they never wear them, the bride would understand.

She may think she is honoring their culture or giving them a special privilege or something like that. Sometimes people don't realize they are putting someone in an uncomfortable position and will back off when it's pointed out to them.

guihong

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 12:20:55 PM »
I think they're well within their rights to say no, they want to wear regular clothes.  It does ring of a costume; would the bride ask them to wear a kimono if they were Japanese? 

There are some things you just "don't deal with", and all the reasons given are very good ones.




*inviteseller

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 12:24:07 PM »
I went to an Indian wedding and the saris were absolutely amazing !  And as only 1 of 7 Caucasian guests (out of over 200 people) I did feel, in my regular style of dress for a wedding (nice dress & heels), I stuck out, so I feel for your sister.   I think the bride is not thinking of anything but how she wants her day to look, but it comes off as rude and IMO slightly racist.  My good friend is caucasian, but had an african american girl in her wedding..she didn't make her dress in ethnic garb because of it, she wore the same dress as the other BM's.  I think your sister needs to sit her friend down and tell her how she feels about this strange request (using the points you listed in the OP), and if friend insists on a 'look' more than how she is going to make 2 people feel like outcasts, then your sister and the other girl should bow out because it just sounds so darn awkward !

Bexx27

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 12:27:08 PM »
Wow, that strikes me as pretty racist. I would tell her I don't feel comfortable having to wear something different from the other bridesmaids and unfamiliar to me based on my race.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

DavidH

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 12:34:00 PM »
I don't think it's racist so much as it is clueless.  If she's close enough to be a bride's maid, she should be close enough to tell the bride that it is making her uncomfortable for the reasons you listed.  If the bride says wear it anyway, then there is a problem and she needs to decide what to do, but the first step has to be to talk with the bride. 

rose red

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 12:38:41 PM »
They need to be straight with the bride.  If someone ask me to wear a costume (yes, in this case, it is a costume) of my background, I would be stunned and then be embarrassed by the thought of sticking out like that.  A good friend will realise her mistake.  If she doesn't realise her odd request or at least understand I want to wear what the others are wearing, then she is not a good friend and I would back out of being a bridesmaid.

sidi-ji

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 12:53:46 PM »
A difficult situation indeed.  If we take the bride's good intentions for granted:  that she is not   deliberately using her friends' "exotic" heritage to make her day memorable.  Even so she has unduly burdened them for the reasons so clearly numbered above. 
If the formality of the occasion warranted, I would see nothing wrong with a choice given to the 'maids to wear  the bridal shop dress, OR their prettiest sari if they preferred.  But this is the opposite of cultural respect.

amylouky

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 01:09:54 PM »
Okay, wait.
The bride is caucasian, and will be wearing a traditional wedding dress, right?
And the rest of the wedding party is wearing a traditional bridesmaid dress.
And the bride asked the two non-caucasian girls to wear formal dress of their ethnicity, even though this isn't how they normally dress?
To me that is extremely offensive and racist, and I'd be probably backing out of the wedding party.
I guess the only way I would find this remotely acceptable is if the girls were accustomed to dressing in a sari all of the time, or it was a religious requirement such as a hijab, I could see the bride asking if they could wear one in the wedding colors.
But this? Nuh uh. No more acceptable than asking a Hispanic bridesmaid to wear a sombrero.

Goosey

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 01:43:13 PM »
Has she talked to the bride?

I find that things we are having doubts on like in this case are best resolved by simply bringing my concerns up.

I will give the bride the benefit of the doubt - she might have thought this would feel special or dressy for her bridesmaids rather than causing them discomfort.

SlitherHiss

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 01:59:06 PM »
Agree with PPs that she just needs to speak with the bride. I'd wager she doesn't know how awkward and singled out she's making her attendants feel. On the other hand, if she knows and doesn't care, the conversation will bring that to light, too.

Oh Joy

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 02:14:19 PM »
'Honey, I think saris are gorgeous, too, but I've never even worn one for a family wedding. OtherIndianBridesmaid and I would be much more comfortable with the dresses the other girls are choosing from.'

Can't it be that simple?

Lynn2000

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2013, 02:41:35 PM »
Agree with PPs that she just needs to speak with the bride. I'd wager she doesn't know how awkward and singled out she's making her attendants feel. On the other hand, if she knows and doesn't care, the conversation will bring that to light, too.

POD. It does smack of offensive racism to me, but I could easily imagine the bride didn't mean it that way at all, and just hasn't thought it through. She could also have meant, "If you want to wear a sari, you can," and it just didn't come out right.

I think I would say to her, "Actually, we've never worn saris before, and we're looking forward to wearing dresses similar to the other girls." She wouldn't even have to get into why it might be offensive, if the bride immediately backed off and was cool with their decision.
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doodlemor

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 03:01:55 PM »
This seems a bit odd to me, too.  Hopefully, the bride is just clueless.  It does seem like she is putting these bridesmaids on display, though.

Perhaps your sister and her friend should tell the bride that they will wear saris if all of her bridesmaids wear the national costumes of their ethnic origins.  Europeans have traditional dress, too.  For example, those of German origin could wear dirndls and any German groomsmen could wear lederhosen. 

This does seem a bit silly to relate.  Applying the same standards to everyone in the wedding party does show how out of line the bride is, though.




lowspark

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 03:21:29 PM »
OP, you said the bride was a good friend of your sister's and apparently she's a good enough friend for your sister to accept position of bridesmaid. So I'm all for giving the bride the benefit of the doubt and figure that she asked for this without thinking it through or realizing how it might sound to them. I don't really see it as being racist because it seems to me that if she were racist your sister and friend would likely have already seen that in her.

However, the title of your post, "feeling like a prop" makes it sound more like they/you are seeing at least some malicious intent on the part of the bride. Is that the case?

Because there's a big difference between "clueless but well intended" and "be a prop at my wedding". And if your sister and friend really do think she has any ill intent in mind, then this goes deeper than what they are being asked to wear to the wedding.