Author Topic: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it? Resolved #30  (Read 5723 times)

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LadyL

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2013, 03:27:30 PM »
This is either ignorant or racist or both.

Ignorant would be the bride thinking she was being accommodating because the two Indian bridesmaids would want to wear saris. That's a misunderstanding that's easily cleared up.

Racist would be if her thought process was "oooh, it would be really neat if they wore their exotic cultural dress for my wedding." That is objectifying in a way that would have me pulling out of the wedding.


Bast

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2013, 04:03:03 PM »
OP also said that the bride doesn't like to be the center of attention.  And at her wedding, she'll most certainly be the center of attention.

So she could have also been thinking that "hey, two of my bridesmaids in saris will do a lot to take the attention off of me!"

I don't think she was being ignorant or racist, but the only way for anybody to know her true reasons would be for the OP's sister or the other friend to simply ask.
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LadyL

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2013, 04:08:46 PM »
OP also said that the bride doesn't like to be the center of attention.  And at her wedding, she'll most certainly be the center of attention.

So she could have also been thinking that "hey, two of my bridesmaids in saris will do a lot to take the attention off of me!"

I don't think she was being ignorant or racist, but the only way for anybody to know her true reasons would be for the OP's sister or the other friend to simply ask.

I think it's ignorant to think that anyone who doesn't normally wear culturally specific dress (hijab, Amish clothing, dashiki, German dirndle, etc.) would do so for a special occasion simply due to their ethnicity. If nothing else, singling out friends for special treatment because they share a skin color/country of origin is pretty offensive regardless of whether the intent was benign.

BarensMom

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2013, 05:54:33 PM »
OP also said that the bride doesn't like to be the center of attention.  And at her wedding, she'll most certainly be the center of attention.

So she could have also been thinking that "hey, two of my bridesmaids in saris will do a lot to take the attention off of me!"

I don't think she was being ignorant or racist, but the only way for anybody to know her true reasons would be for the OP's sister or the other friend to simply ask.

I think it's ignorant to think that anyone who doesn't normally wear culturally specific dress (hijab, Amish clothing, dashiki, German dirndle, etc.) would do so for a special occasion simply due to their ethnicity. If nothing else, singling out friends for special treatment because they share a skin color/country of origin is pretty offensive regardless of whether the intent was benign.

Jumping into the pod that this is offensive.  Evil me wants to say, "It ain't gonna be It's a Small World, so (other girl) and I will be wearing the same dresses as the others."

nrb80

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2013, 07:22:52 PM »
There's a very big practical consideration here - your sister has never worn a sari?  And she's supposed to be a bridesmaid, presumably standing up in a wedding, dancing, etc?  That's going to end up with a wardrobe malfunction - I've been wearing saris regularly since I was a teenager, it still takes me a touch to get into them, and there's no way I'd dress myself for a wedding I was in, and I've been in a lot of Indian weddings.  I don't think the bride has thought this through.....

blarg314

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2013, 09:14:48 PM »

I'd be honest with the bride, immediately, and tell her that I'd never actually worn a sari (my understaning is that wrapping and wearing a sari correctly is not a genetic skill), that I'm really uncomfortable being singled out to wear a fancy costume in the wedding when everyone else is in normal Western clothing, that I can't find a sari that works. If that doesn't work, tell the bride that she is offended at being singled out for display because  she's non-white.

And I'd say the bride *is* being racist, but not maliciously and doesn't realize what she's doing. She is asking her friend to dress up in an ethnic costume she doesn't ever wear, solely because friend is a different colour. She's not asking the other three bridesmaids to dress up in the traditional outfits of their cultural heritages.

It would be different if the friend regularly wore saris, and the bride asked if she'd like to do the same as a bridesmaid.

This is actually very common in Canada/the US, and something that many people don't notice or realize. Someone who is non-white will get asked things like "where are you from?"  "no really, where are you from" or asked to wear ethnic costumes at a wedding, or expected to speak their native language or have close ties to their home country, even if their ancestors have been in the country for generations, they speak English only, and they are totally Canadian (or American) culturally. Someone who is white won't run into these assumptions to the same degree, because they are assumed to be just plain Canadian.

It's not malicious, but it is subtly racist, because it assumes that someone who is say, racially Chinese or Indian isn't really Canadian in the same way that a white person is.

shhh its me

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2013, 09:31:40 PM »
  I'd talk open and honestly with the bride and hope its an awkward attempt at being considerate of diversity .

CuriousParty

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2013, 11:43:59 PM »
There's a very big practical consideration here - your sister has never worn a sari?  And she's supposed to be a bridesmaid, presumably standing up in a wedding, dancing, etc?  That's going to end up with a wardrobe malfunction - I've been wearing saris regularly since I was a teenager, it still takes me a touch to get into them, and there's no way I'd dress myself for a wedding I was in, and I've been in a lot of Indian weddings.  I don't think the bride has thought this through.....
Pod. And the bride may not realize this. To an uninformed observer, saris don't look anywhere near as complicated as they are.  They are an incredible feat of folding and tucking and general gravity-defying, and if neither one of them know what they're doing it'll be a mess (an undressed one, at that). I think your sister should be honest about her discomfort and the logistical challenges.

Erich L-ster

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2013, 11:47:21 PM »

I think saris are beautiful but it is kind of insulting to ask only the indian bridesmaids to wear them. If the bride loves the beauty of a sari she should have asked all the bridesmaids to wear one.

Steve

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2013, 04:32:58 AM »
I have to agree with the people here, I got married in a sari (having never worn one before). It took a lot of people to get the sari on correctly, and to keep it so.



Thipu1

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2013, 10:12:19 AM »
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.

Actually, we did attend a Wedding at which a Bridesmaid who was Japanese wore kimono.  We never did get the rationale behind that one. 

NyaChan

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2013, 12:55:13 PM »
Thanks for the input everyone - I did relay to my sister that she wasn't being selfish for not being thrilled about this.  I did want to say - I did not and my sister does not even remotely consider this girl to be racist.  We come from a small town and my sister and I were one of the first non-white kids to go through our school system.  My sister and the other bridesmaid were the founders of our school's multicultural club and the bride was among the first very enthusiastic members.   I genuinely think this was a case of her thinking it would look cool and unique to have bridesmaids wearing something so different, but didn't think it through to how it could make those two feel. 

There's a very big practical consideration here - your sister has never worn a sari?  And she's supposed to be a bridesmaid, presumably standing up in a wedding, dancing, etc?  That's going to end up with a wardrobe malfunction - I've been wearing saris regularly since I was a teenager, it still takes me a touch to get into them, and there's no way I'd dress myself for a wedding I was in, and I've been in a lot of Indian weddings.  I don't think the bride has thought this through.....

Thank you for pointing that out - putting it on won't be a problem as my mom and I both do wear saris, but one of the reasons my sister never has is because of the difficulties with her body type and how she feels a sari would look on her because of it.  She already has a little trouble with movement so I can imagine that wearing a sari wouldn't be the best of options for her.  I passed along the suggestion that she should bring up her concerns with the bride.  I think the difficulty is that my sister genuinely wants to make the bride happy, but also doesn't want to be really uncomfortable the whole wedding. 

My sister decided to show the bride how limited the options were, point out the concerns she had, and ask if she still wanted the saris, but make it clear that she would be able to wear a dress from the shop.  The last bit was because I wondered out loud if perhaps the bride was worried that my sister couldn't find a dress that either fit her body type due to available sizing and/or meet her modesty requirements for dress (my sister is more careful than I am).  My sister confirmed that she had already checked and the shop does have options that she can wear in the chosen color, so that wouldn't be a hold up.     

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2013, 03:49:07 PM »
This is either ignorant or racist or both.

Ignorant would be the bride thinking she was being accommodating because the two Indian bridesmaids would want to wear saris. That's a misunderstanding that's easily cleared up.

Racist would be if her thought process was "oooh, it would be really neat if they wore their exotic cultural dress for my wedding." That is objectifying in a way that would have me pulling out of the wedding.

This, precisely.  I hope it's more clueless than racist, (and I suspect it is), but your sister and the other Indian girl should definitely explain why they want to wear western dresses. 

Saris are gorgeous and I have always wanted to wear one, but in this instance, singling out the two Indian girls to wear saris is just not right at all.
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nrb80

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2013, 11:43:04 PM »
The last bit was because I wondered out loud if perhaps the bride was worried that my sister couldn't find a dress that either fit her body type due to available sizing and/or meet her modesty requirements for dress (my sister is more careful than I am).  My sister confirmed that she had already checked and the shop does have options that she can wear in the chosen color, so that wouldn't be a hold up.     

I was wondering if there was a modesty issue at play that was awkwardly being considered.  I have several friends who adhere to more conservative forms of dress than is typical in bridesmaid's dresses - specifically South Asian heritage Muslim friends and Orthodox Jewish friends who would not be comfortable in what might even be considered a conservative dress by US or UK standards.  Both have had bridesmaid dresses made to match in color / fabric, and my South Asian Muslim friend has worn a sari in the same color before, but that's because it was an issue of her comfort level. 

jpcher

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Re: Feeling a bit like a prop, but should she deal with it?
« Reply #29 on: August 18, 2013, 12:16:10 AM »
My sister decided to show the bride how limited the options were, point out the concerns she had, and ask if she still wanted the saris, but make it clear that she would be able to wear a dress from the shop.  The last bit was because I wondered out loud if perhaps the bride was worried that my sister couldn't find a dress that either fit her body type due to available sizing and/or meet her modesty requirements for dress (my sister is more careful than I am).  My sister confirmed that she had already checked and the shop does have options that she can wear in the chosen color, so that wouldn't be a hold up.    

I think this is a graceful way to handle the situation. Plus your sister already did the additional "back-up" research.

I'm betting BTB will be just as graceful.



Please let us know the outcome.