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Reading Bridal Magazines from a Critical Discursive Perspective

London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 256 p., £63.

Bridal magazines have become increasingly popular in Western society, proliferating the idea of a ’princess bride’ on her ’big day’. Yet little has been written on how the ever-expanding wedding media and the popular wedding culture constructs gender and affects the ways women live and experience their weddings. Offering a critique of contemporary wedding discourse, this book marries together analyses of media texts and their reception to propose a new approach to media discourse. The analysis richly illustrates how women are invited to embrace not only the stereotypical idea of bridal femininity but also a consumptive way of experiencing it. Through examination of brides’ accounts of their ’big days’, the book observes the imprints of the popular gender imagery on their self-portraits and self-narratives, and describes the women’s diverse approaches to them. Based on insights from gender and critical discourse studies, sociology and audience research, this exploration illuminates the ongoing debate on ’media and gender’ and its methodological approaches.

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