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The Sunday Doc – Gypsy wedding extravaganza

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is a one-off TV documentary screened at Channel 4, UK in 2010. The doc had huge ratings in the UK, and as a result, Channel 4 followed-up with documentary series with the same name. Both one-off documentary and the series give audience insight in the world of British and Irish travellers and gypsies, a culture that for some people is unheard of. Every gypsy girl dreams of her wedding day and the trend is, the bigger the dress, the better. As a result some of them can hardly carry their wedding dress, sometimes weighting a lot more than themselves. Some even get blisters from the wires in their dresses.

For many the gypsy and travellers culture might be seen as old-fashioned. Girls marry as young as 18 and some have hardly spent time with their future partner prior to the wedding. Once married, the girls leave home and move to a trailer with their hubby. Most of the families live in trailers and the trend is that the oldest daughter stays at home and does the cleaning and helps with the chores. Some of them don´t even finish secondary education.

However, gypsies and travellers are known for very high morals regarding sex and marriage. The girls are not to have sex prior to marriage and divorce is very rare. Few girls and women work outside the homes, making the head of the household often the sole breadwinner. Although gypsy and traveller men sometimes seem to idolize their women, the attitude towards women is sexist at times, domestic violence is a problem in some relationships and “grabbing”, when teenage boys pin down girls to get a kiss, shows unequally between the sexes.

It´s no surprise the documentary was a hit in the UK in 2010. With some jaw-dropping screens, this documentary is a memorable one. It gives insight in the lives of gypsy and traveller communities and culture, culture that seems at times so out of sync with modern society. However, the documentary and the series have also been criticized for giving the wrong impression of the gypsy and traveller culture. In a BBC Radio 5 interview, traveller lady criticises the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

The documentary can be watched on You Tube Documentary channel.  A large part of the series can also be found on You Tube, DVD can be bought on Amazon.

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This entry was posted on 18/12/2011 by in Documentary and tagged , .

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