Anthropological and linguistics articles from University of Western Australia

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Romantic Love and Getting Married...a summary by Marcia Hewitt

Romantic Love and Getting Married; article by Wilding.
A summary

Written by Marcia Helene Hewitt
Anthropology 2219

Tutorial presentation for Anthropology 2219

Wilder argues that in theories of mass popular culture there is an assumed notion that dominant media texts influence the audience and in some way take away from authentic emotional experiences. She argues that this is not the case and that media audiences are informed by a greater cultural logic.

She poses two questions: What messages did the films that she selected present to their audiences about relationship between romantic love and getting married? (See Father of the Bride).

2) Is there evidence that such messages were passively accepted or actively resisted by couples preparing for their own wedding days?

Argument: That mass media denies the experience of authentic emotions and culture OR reinforces existing notions, not leveling culture but democratizes it.

She uses notions such as “mass culture as a contested terrain”
She argues that producers and receivers of media engage from different positions in a multifaceted struggle over meaning (Traube, 1992& Hall 1980).
 Media texts have a direct affect on their audience and that audiences have direct relationship with thoses texts.

 Advertisers make use of romantic images and concepts to promote the consumption of particular products (Campbell 1987) that is, the romantic notions are already within the culture so advertising simply taps into that and manipulates with that.

(The possibility here of having a class discussion about Father of the Bride, Muriel’s Wedding, Four Weddings and a Funeral as to what others think of dominant messages).

Wilding outlines dominant themes by interviewing 16 couples marrying for the first time, exploring their perspectives on preparing for & having a wedding. They were questioned about meeting their partner and deciding to get married. They were asked to describe their current experiences of wedding planning in hour long interviews. Interviews were shortly after engagement was announced. There were high levels of similarity in which wedding planning is experienced.


Social science literature acknowledges that it is a rite of passage in which the marrying couple transform their social status from juvenile to adult.( Eg Father of the Bride, George has to acknowledge that Annie is not a little girl.
In Muriel’s Wedding, Muriel becomes a desirable & confident woman only after her wedding day. The declaration of true love comes for Charles and Carrie on a London St. where they promise never to get married.


The concept arises that romantic love has to be “earned” by enduring the pain of actual or potential separation (Magic Flute by Mozart). Muriel has her wedding without overcoming any obstacles or separation and the marriage ends.

Two points of romantic love: 1) Clearly identified as a higher purpose or object than the wedding
2) the idealization of the other who is the object of love
3) achieving the transcendence & higher level of being.


Wilding argues that the starting point of cultural notions is not the mass media or the inherent power therein but that on closer scrutiny the messages that comprise romantic in contemporary thought provide a more useful empirical starting point for understanding the variable ways in which the cultural theme operates eg “the romantic ingredient”. (p.386). She aims at a position of cultural relativism. She uses theorists such as Hall (Encoding and decoding) and Goode (1959) The Theoretical Importance of Love, Strauss in Models and Motives and Traube in Dreaming Identities: Class, Gender and Gen

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Marcia Henschel of 1090 Girl Scout Troop

Yes it's true. Marcia Henschel of Cimarron Avenue Primary School in Inglewood California
is now Marcia Hewitt of Perth, married with three children, all university graduates.
Marcia Helene Henschel played the cello in the Cimarron Avenue Primary school orchestra and was also selected for the All City Choir that performed around Los Angeles in 1958-1960.
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