Bridalplasty: Episode One

by Emilie Branch

The premiere of Bridalplasty surpassed my fears and expectations. The first episode introduced the twelve contestants who will compete for a chance to win their dream wedding and dream body, with plastic surgery. It all seems so misguided. It was disturbing to watch the plastic surgeon mar their bodies in consultation to the point where they looked like they were “part of a tribe.” 

There were requisite sob stories. Bridalplasty is allegedly a competition in which the girl who deserves the dream wedding and dream body the most, gets it. This was the claim but not actually how the first episode played out. We got to know Ashley over the course of the 44 minutes; Ashley is an over-weight woman. She was the only African American in the house and a mother. It was revealed that she sold her engagement ring in order to make a car payment, which caused many of the girls to judge her. The women judging her were mostly white, and probably educated. They didn’t seem to understand that sometimes things get so desperate that you have to trade a symbol of love for the necessity of transport. It didn’t seem like they had ever faced this problem.

The challenge that determined which girls would receive “injectables” (something like botox) and continue on in the competition, was putting together a life-size puzzle. The girls had to piece the puzzle of their “dream body” (it was pretty much Barbie in a wedding dress) over their “before” pictures (without make-up, in a bikini). This was easy enough for the girls who seemed to be educated; the girls who were unfamiliar with the interior of a pawn shop. Ashley was one of the last to finish and was subsequently voted off the show by her peers. She didn’t cry or moan as hysterically as the 21-year-old girl (a former reality personality) she was up against, and the room turned on her.

The last thing I imagined was that Bridalplasty would turn into an issue of class or race. I thought I was going to be writing about the impossibility of restoring confidence in dysmorphic women through 15 surgeries in 4 months, or the ridiculousness of the girl’s view points, exemplified in a quote by Lisa Marie: “it’s hard but it’s for a good deed.” Which good deed? Sacrificing your body to a social ideal? Or, wasting exurbanite amounts of money on a single night? Jamie told the camera that she’s looking for “something to be happy about” while she played with her two children in her back-yard pool. Perhaps Jamie hasn’t considered the psychological risk of altering your entire body or the tremendous degree of pain that comes with surgery. She should consider marriage itself something to be happy about, instead of defining happiness as it pertains to her body as a sacrifice for marriage. 

Either way, Ashley was not adept at puzzles. She was an anomaly in the house and they needed to get rid of her. The women who were good at puzzles, most likely trained in problem solving from a young age, ran from the challenge in tears screaming “I want a syringe!” And here we are. This week, Ashley was spared. She may have wanted that wedding and that body, but she didn’t quite make it to the syringe. 

Image Courtesy of 

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