Monday, May 30, 2011

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on TLC: A Look at the Lives of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers

I just saw the first two episodes of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on TLC, and it was amazing. We look inside the giant weddings of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, and also take a look at the struggles of the communities. For example, Gypsies and Travellers own land in England, but can't legally build on it.

On the British television show that is adapted for American audiences, we see an extravagant dress for bride Sam, and learn how her non-Traveller family supports her wedding to a Traveller. We also see young cousins discuss their desire to marry at the age of seventeen. In addition, we watch young girls get dolled up in giant dresses to celebrate their communions.

It was heartbreaking to see the sadness of a young Traveller girl as her older sister got married, because that means she's forced to drop out of school and do all of the chores for her household. Traveller girls, throughout their whole lives, are groomed to cook, clean and be housewives.

What is particularly interesting (and sad) is the struggle that Travellers and Gypsies face. They face prejudice from the UK population, and often find themselves forced to move, even when trying to build permanent communities and integrate themselves into UK society.

For my full review and thoughts on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, as well as some information and background on the culture, click here to read my article.

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