Pain, pleasure and bridal beauty: mapping postfeminist bridal perfection

Francien Broekhuizen, Adrienne Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


Despite renewed media attention on the wedding, and the emphasis that this pays to bridal performance, feminist analysis of wedding culture has made few inroads. Accounts are needed that understand women's experience of the wedding day, the narrative of becoming the bride, and the way this takes place against a backdrop of postfeminist ambivalence, where traditional wedding practices are re-fashioned through discourses of (consumer) choice and empowerment. In this article, we draw on qualitative data collected with five married women from the Netherlands, who spoke to us about their wedding day and their experience of being/becoming brides. We show how retraditionalisation shapes a new romaticisation of wedding day storytelling, constructed through transformation and the experience of beauty. In analysing these narratives, we show how postfeminist bridal perfection comes to anchor the subjective and affective power of ‘the wedding’ in contemporary culture. Publisher statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Gender Studies on 23rd Sep 2014, available online: .
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-348
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number3
Early online date23 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • postfeminism
  • retraditionalisation
  • beauty
  • wedding culture
  • brides


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