International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Animal Bodies: Woman/Nonhuman Links and the Bride
Gina Schlesselman-Tarango

A case study of images found in popular American bridal magazines demonstrates how women’s and nonhuman animals’ bodies are linked. This linking is evident in images that pair brides with animals, animal parts, or items that refer to animals. Of a convenient sample, 79.4 percent of images that contained such links paired the bride with birds and/or feathers. An analysis of images shows that, when paired with the bird, the bride is linked to a dominated and controlled species. As extensions of nature and symbols of the transcendent, birds also posit and affirm the bride’s supposed fertility and ethereality. Unfortunately, such proscriptive gender categories insist that ideal woman, when imagined as bride, is valued for her farmability, or reproductive capabilities, while at the same time associate her with a mystical yet unattainable femininity. The bridal industry is an example of one of the many stages on which speciesism and sexism function in concert to link women’s and animals’ bodies.

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