- People frequently describe engaged women as “bridezillas.”
- But two industry experts told Insider they think the term needs to be retired.
- The experts said the term has misogynistic roots, and that people use it to minimize the stress of wedding planning.
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If you’ve gotten married or know anyone who has been engaged, you’re probably familiar with the word “bridezilla.”
It was coined in 1995, according to Grammarist, and it traditionally refers to a bride who is disrespecting those around her as she plans her wedding, as both Jen Glantz, a professional bridesmaid and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire, and Landis Bejar, a wedding therapist and the founder of AisleTalk, told Insider.
For example, she might ignore her partners’ requests regarding the budget or tell her bridal party members they have to lose weight to be in her wedding, Glantz and Bejar said.
But today, people use the word to refer to almost every bride — which is why, according to Glantz and Bejar, it’s long past time to stop using it.
Landis Bejar and Jen Glantz say the term “bridezilla” is overused.
“It gets watered down so much that it’s used to describe any woman who cares about her wedding,” Bejar said of the term. “It’s being used to describe a woman who’s asserting her opinion, who’s asserting her needs, who has emotions.”
“The second any sort of outburst or crying or emotions happen, they’re labeled bridezilla,” Glantz said of brides, echoing Bejar.
“After I got engaged, I had four spreadsheets open on my computer, and I made my fiancé sit down and look at them,” Glantz went on to say. “And he was like, ‘The bridezilla has started.’ And I was like, ‘But why? Because I’m proactive?'”
Although most people view it as exciting, an engagement is often a stressful experience, the experts said
“There are many reasons why our emotions might shift during wedding planning,” Bejar told Insider. “Maybe you’re dealing with really intense family strain. Maybe this is a big identity shift for you. Maybe you’re having stress in your partnership, or you’re trying to appease your in-laws or you’re spending a fortune.”
All of that is inherently stressful, and the pressure is often increased for brides in particular, as Bejar previously told Insider, because the burden of planning typically falls on their shoulders.
“Bridezilla” belittles the stress of weddings, according to Glantz and Bejar.
Calling someone a bridezilla doesn’t acknowledge all of the reasons a bride might be feeling stressed during wedding planning. “It’s very minimizing,” Bejar said.
Instead of just writing your loved one off as a bridezilla, Bejar recommends first trying to empathize with the reasons a bride might be stressed out.
“If you notice somebody’s changing, don’t put them in this category and say, ‘Oh, I’m done with them,'” Bejar added, suggesting you “check in” with the bride and see if there is anything you can do to help her instead.
The word ‘bridezilla’ is also misogynistic in nature, Bejar said
She said the idea of a bridezilla is “reinforcing the idea of the ‘good bride,’ but what that really means is the ‘good woman.'”
“You appease everyone. You put everyone’s feelings before yourself. You express your opinion. You go with the flow,” Bejar said of the archetypal “good bride.”
“Anyone who’s not fitting in that box, we label them bridezilla,” she added.
“If you don’t act perfect as somebody engaged, you’re criticized,” Glantz agreed.
Bridezilla is an “identity-based insult,” as Bejar said, much like the word “bitch.” There’s no male equivalent for the term, and it’s intended to belittle an aspect of womanhood — in this case, being a bride, she said.
Bridezilla is an “identity-based insult,” Bejar told Insider.
If you call someone in your life a bridezilla when they seem stressed about their wedding, you’re choosing to approach them without empathy, writing off their real stress and villainizing them for being a bride in the first place, according to Bejar.
“There are real emotions that come up 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 do call someone a bridezilla, know that the message will probably stick with the bride long after her wedding, Bejar said.
“Words are like toothpaste. You can squeeze them out easily, but you can’t put them back in,” she said.