Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry

Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry

Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry

Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry

Synopsis

"Do not be misled by the title of this book. It is a study of Taiwan's bridal industry but it is also a fine ethnography of marriage in contemporary urban Taipei. With great subtlety, Bonnie Adrian shows us how much marriage in Taiwan has changed and how many of the old ways it has retained. She does so with wit and humor."--Margery Wolf, author of "A Thrice-Told Tale: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Ethnographic Responsibility

"Faced with the puzzle of the ubiquitous bridal photography in Taipei, Bonnie Adrian has produced a model ethnography of media-saturated contemporary life. Ethnographically adventurous, analytically smart, and warmly human, this book cleverly unpacks the ways women's canny choices in Taiwan are forged at the intersection of everyday worlds of inter-generational tension, fantasies fed by a keenly competitive local culture industry, and global imagery tied to the transnational beauty industry. Unlike many who work on globalization, Adrian has not lost sight of the ways that gender and family are still at the heart of people's social worlds and women are not victims."--Lila Abu-Lughod, author of "Veiled Sentiments and "Writing Women's Worlds

Excerpt

Taiwanese bridal photography captured my curiosity on the first glance. I was Hui-zhu's English tutor, visiting her at home weekly to help her practice English conversation skills. This was in 1993, when I lived in Taipei for a year, studying Mandarin Chinese at a local university and supporting myself by teaching English. After several weeks of lengthy conversations on a variety of subjects, Hui-zhu and I were becoming well acquainted. One day, I passed by her bedroom and looked inside. Centered directly above her full-size bed hung an enormous portrait of a bride in a white gown and a groom in a tuxedo, framed in ornately carved, gold-painted wood. I paused. the bride, I thought, looked nothing like Hui-zhu. Who could she be? the three-foot-tall portrait was a familiar enough object, but its placement here in Taipei, hanging above a young couple's bed, was disorienting. It looked, to me, like something that belonged in a museum or a castle, not in a modern Taipei flat.

I went back to the den to ask Hui-zhu about this wall hanging. Who is that in the picture? Is it a painting or a photograph? She took me back to her bedroom and explained it was her “wedding photo. ” I could not believe my eyes. Hui-zhu had been married less than a year before. How could she possibly have looked like that? Why, I wondered, would she want this photograph that looked nothing like her, that made her look like a generic Beautiful Bride—soft and sweet, so different from her everyday tough appearance and attitude? Recently married myself, I knew that if I had ordered a photograph of that size from my wedding . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.