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Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gypsies - my new polygamist?

While Sister Wives is on hiatus until fall (when sh*t looks like it will hit the fan for the Brown family) I needed a new extreme cultural phenomenon to occupy my summer TV time.  Now I love plygs just as much as the next girl, probably more actually, and I will stay loyal to my polygamy obsession, but this summer I am going to dive deep into the world of gypsies.  Yep, that's right, gypsies.  I don't know much about this people, only what I've learned from cartoons (that they travel in circus like wagons and wear loose clothing) and the propaganda our local news station spouts each spring warning that the gypsies are coming to run their scams in our fair city.  So, basically all I know is that gypsies are criminals who wear baggy clothes and travel in wagons.  Therefore, I was hoping that the TLC show (of course it is on TLC) My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding would learn me good on some gypsy knowledge.  Learn I did. 

To preface, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding follows English and Irish gypsy / traveller (the more PC name) families in the UK and specifically profiles gypsy weddings, christenings and first communions.  These three events are sacred events in any gypsy girl's life and the dresses are FREAK FABULOUS.  The girls end up looking like a cross between a Disney princess, a drag queen stripper and a pre-Civil War Southern Belle.  For the most part the dresses are tacky as hell, weigh about 70 pounds and are almost impossible to walk in. The show did not share how much one of the dresses cost, but I cannot imagine how these families afford them. 

Besides the crazy dresses, gypsy culture is pretty much riddled with strange ironies.  For instance, the girls are raised to be housewives and to stay chaste and alcohol-free until marriage -- yet, they dress like strippers, pose (clothed) like they are getting test shots for Playboy and wear more make-up than a tranny on Halloween.  It is the strangest juxtaposition of immodesty and 1950s anti-feminist ideals around.  Gypsy and traveller girls typically drop out of school to help out with their large family.  The bride I watched last night, who was 16, had dropped out of school at 11 to help with her 8 siblings and cleaning the house.  The girls typically get married before age 18 and the courtship with their boyfriend/fiance must be chaperoned.  Now, imagine that you are the chaperon for a beefy gypsy guy (they are usually a few years old than their bride) and his fiance, a teen girl wearing a sports bra, booty shorts and more Wet-n-Wild make-up than a junior high dance -- I would want to throw a sweatshirt over the girl.  I'm not a prude in the least, but the juxtaposition of strict religious values and bare midriffs just doesn't seem right.  I'm not saying that I want to see a repeat of the Duggar wardrobe, but seriously, these girls put their bodies on display with a "Look, but don't touch...unless you want to marry me, p.s., I am 14" sign attached.   

Gypsy culture definitely intrigued me.  I am so confused by the rules placed on young girls (the boys don't have any of the same rules), how it is acceptable for them to dress so provocatively and the expectation that every gypsy woman will be a house wife.  As one older gypsy said, "it is bred into us."  Hmmm...  I plan on watching more of these shows.  TLC is also looking for US gypsy and traveller families...so, this should be interesting. 

Happy Friday!


  1. I was too taken by this crazy culture, and was a bit appalled by the interaction and social norms for gypsy men and women. The scarier truth is the clear correlation between education (of men and women) and women's rights. Spousal abuse should not be tolerated, and yet it is shrugged off in gypsy culture. I don't believe that all of their culture is wrong, but there are definitely aspects which call for change.

  2. This show spreads LIES LIES LIES do your research please!!!!!