July 11, 2011

IF Colored Glasses

I can't help it.  Everything I read, watch or experience (at least in the last two years or so) is done so through IF colored glasses.  For better or worse it seems IF has just become part of me, part of my perception of the world. 

I've recently been watching the English show "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", a pseudo documentary on the Traveller/Gypsy culture in Great Britain.  There are arguments on either side about the focus and clarity of the show and even some in the Traveller and Gypsy community are not supportive of the program.  As a lover of sociology and anything remotely different from my own culture, I am eating this show up! 

For the most part the episodes I've watched are about Irish Travellers.  Although historically they have had a nomadic lifestyle, the 21st Century has begun to impact their culture and change their way of life.  Several aspects however have not changed; the duties and status of men and women, the celebrations of life's milestones (birth, marriage, death) and the exclusion of the outside world from their lives.

In the episode "Desperate Housewives" the women (teenagers really) explain that their role in life, their purpose for being, is to get married and have babies.  Period. In between those events they are expected to take care of their husbands, clean the family caravan (trailer) and look back on their wedding day as The Most Important Day of their life. 

As an American (ok, older and single) woman I cannot relate to marriage aspect of this culture but I sure can relate to the producing babies part.  For some reason I felt intense anxiety at the producing babies part of this episode.  Not the usual "OMG, pregnancy and babies are being mentioned" stuff but anxiety over what a Traveller or Gypsy woman would do if she encountered fertility issues.  To whom would she turn?  Would she be shunned?  How would the community and culture handle this diagnosis?  What would their support (or lack of) look like? On and on and on went the questions in my head.

I doubt very much the show would ever wade into these very personal waters but as someone already five nautical miles out in the IF sea, I could not help but factor this into my viewing experience.  Funny, hearing that the teens drop out of school at 11 or 12 did not bother me at all.

What have I turned into?



  1. I totally hear you. I feel the same way. I think I view every show, movie, and book differently after going through miscarriages.

  2. I have to say just watching the beginning intro clip all I could think was "That's one way to remain a secretive society...invite cameras in"


    But I look at things differently now too!

  3. I play a lot of word games and have noticed in the last few months all I ever spell is things like "surge", "level", "numbers", "rupture", "egg", etc etc. It really does sink into your subconscious, whether you want it to or not!

  4. What we go through life alters our perceptions. I do the same thing... my most recent episode was reading a character in a book saying: "I'm late, I am going to have a baby". And then thinking: "Geez, I wish being late actually meant that for everyone..." Having IF glasses is not a bad thing. I think it makes us more compassionate.