Say Yes to the WHAT?

The Republicans have gone too far. Take my birth control, give toddlers guns, but do not, DO NOT implicate my beloved Say Yes To The Dress in your message of fiscal conservatism.

I have spent too many nights—nay, entire weekends—doing my nails, eating lunch, drinking gin and tonics—in front of TLC’s masterpiece to see it desecrated by old white men trying to appeal to women voters. I’ve grown up with this show: I remember when Kleinfeld’s consultant Sarah got engaged, when consultant Keisha announced she had breast cancer. I watched in horror as bride Amanda’s dad bought her a $30,000 gown to wear under her $25,000 chuppah, and cried every time a bride got emotional about buying a dress without their mother there. Say Yes To The Dress is my rock: it brings me joy, it’s always there when I want it with countless episodes to rewatch, and it prompts important rants (let’s call them conversations) about feminism and gender in my apartment. The women on Say Yes To The Dress may not all be the most liberated, but they’re MY marriage-obsessed 20-somethings, and I love them.

This week The College Republican National Committee released an ad comparing Michigan Governor Rick Synder and his Democratic challenger Mark Schauer to wedding dresses on the creatively titled “Say Yes to the Candidate.” “The Rick Snyder (R)” dress is sexy, sleek, and budget-friendly, while the “Mark Schauer (D)” dress is frumpy, old-fashioned, and overpriced. The only person gunning for the Mark Schauer dress is the bride’s mother, who is clearly unhinged, as all mothers on Say Yes to the Dress are.

Now, let’s take a moment to unpack my rage: first of all, the idea that Republican Rick Snyder, who wears mustard yellow shirts a la Dwight Schrute, is the sleek sexy choice in this race is deeply flawed. Would you let this man pick out your wedding dress, let alone personify your wedding dress?

No, you wouldn’t, because you are a strong, smart woman and you know exactly which wedding dress would look hottest on you.

Moving on to what really blows about this ad: Say Yes to the Dress is a show that appeals to women across many demographics. Low income, the 1%, highly educated, less educated, young, old, ethnically diverse, queer, less queer. Women watch the show for many different reasons: because the love the drama, because Randy is amazing, because they become attached to the women they get to know over the course of each episode. Attempting to woo women voters with the things men assume they love—dresses, weddings, and being the center of attention—is offensive and reductive.

Every woman has different requirements, desires, and hopes for her wedding outfit, should she choose to have one. This same concept is at the core of a democratic society. We know exactly what’s at stake in our elections, we are capable of deciding who to vote for, and we don’t need insulting, sexist ads to explain it to us.   

UPDATE: These ads weren’t just made for the Michigan race, they exist for multiple races, and dub in different candidates names depending on the state. For instance, in Florida, the attractive wedding dress is called “The Rick Scott.” Let’s all close our eyes and collectively imagine what “The Rick Scott” dress would look like in reality. 

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How to cite this page

Metal, Tara. "Say Yes to the WHAT?." 3 October 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on July 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/say-yes-to-what>.

Wedding Dress.

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