Nicola Peltz & The Misogyny Behind The Term ‘Bridezilla’

Every few months or so, the internet finds a new female punching bag. This season, it’s Nicola Peltz Beckham, re-imagined as the zeitgeist’s new bitch-du-jour. Her April 2022 multi-million-dollar wedding (and make no mistake, this is definitely being pitched as her wedding) to Brand Beckham scion, Brooklyn, has become the centre of several lawsuits and the most compelling grab-the-popcorn celeb scandal of 2023 so far. If you haven’t caught up, here’s the deal: her father, 80-year-old billionaire Nelson Peltz is suing the family’s wedding planners for their retention of a $159,000 deposit after he fired them, and the planners have counter-sued, revealing in the process a treasure trove of embarrassing missives which, according to any coverage you will read right now, paints Nicola Peltz as that most predictable of female monsters: the Bridezilla.

The label of bridezilla is not just lazy and expected, it’s drizzled in misogyny. Because, while her father’s messages are equally demanding, it is Nicola, instead, who is being character assassinated in the press. When a woman wants something done right, or simply when she says what she wants (for her own wedding, no less) we see it as bossy, bitchy, controlling. If this was Brooklyn, we would say he was decisive, in control, a no bullshit bloke.

Whether Nicola Peltz was wrong or right is honestly slightly beside the point here, or at least, my point. Because, with scant actual knowledge of this woman outside of the pressure cooker of a multi-million-dollar, paparazzi-fodder wedding, we know precious little about her real character. Instead, we have indolently affixed ‘bridezilla’ to her because that is the accepted understanding of how women are supposed to operate in this situation. Because she is a woman, we assume she is the one causing the drama here, not Brooklyn. We assumed this about Meghan Markle. She wanted a certain tiara, she didn’t like the smell of the abbey…Her Windsor wedding still sits in the shadow of her Bridezilla behaviour while nothing is raised about Harry- though he of course had opinions about his big day. We assumed it about J-Lo, whose recent nuptials to Ben Affleck were shrouded by references to her ‘demanding’ behaviour and the fact she was ‘constantly changing her mind.’ We assume it about every celeb bride. We assume it about every woman.

There are several things I hate about the reaction to all of this, not merely because I am a bride currently planning a wedding myself. I know what it’s like to have every word you say, every decision, every tone of your message scrutinised in a way that you know your fiancé’s will not be. Dare I suggest something I prefer, there it comes, whispering on the breeze: bridezilla, bridezilla. I carry the weight of this unfair assumption while my fiancé is free to criticise the canape selection as much as he likes. When I once said an uncharacteristically sharp ‘non’ to my marquee vendor, when he declared he would be using a tent with windows I had already said I didn’t want, he raised his eyebrow at me and I spent the next few days agonising over it. Because the spectre of ‘Bridezilla’ looms before every bride, overshadowing our every move. One wrong turn and you will be labelled a difficult woman, a demanding bride, a demon in tulle. It’s like…well I guess it’s basically exactly like being a woman every day. Except in formalwear.

You see, it’s all too easy to read Nicola’s messages and allow them to prop up whatever narrative is most captivating. Nepo Baby Bridezilla is the one the media has clearly decided to roll with. Yet, from what I can ascertain from the WhatsApp messages I have read, I wasn’t thinking – GOD what a cow- I thought; why is she being sent the wrong guest list? Why don’t the planners have the numbers right? The wedding is six weeks away! There is a ridiculous level of work which goes into a wedding. I have found it to be like a full-time job, on top of my actual job. If you have hired (for any eye-watering fee, no less) planners to make this easier for you, and they make it harder, wouldn’t you also be mad?


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