Shame on you, Lance Bass

In the world of things I don’t love, at the top of the list are the assumptions people make about sex and gender, the expectations they have of how men and women should behave because they are men and women. Clearly, then, weddings provide a fruitful ground for frustration. I suppose, by now, I should’ve learned to temper my expectations and assumptions about who will play up what tired clichés and how. And yet, I have not. For this week’s disappointment, I present to you one Lance Bass.

BassThe culprit: Lance Bass

Bass, in the midst of arranging his wedding to partner Michael Turchin, has offered up some half-baked wisdom from the world of wedding planning. After noting that he almost feels bad that there’s not a woman around to make decisions, he noted “The sad thing about two guys planning a wedding is it’s really hard – the wedding’s usually for the bride, and they’ve been dreaming of it since they were two years old.” For someone who should be happy he’s gay wedding planning in the twenty-first century when unions such as his own are not only legal but also celebrated, Bass is dishing up some pretty archaic ideas. Operating in a weird world of gender dichotomy – where “man” equals one set of behaviors and values and “woman” an opposing set – Bass seems oblivious to the fact that many people would look to him and his non-traditional romantic partnership and assume that he and Turchin must embody an alternative kind of masculinity (especially, one might imagine, when Bass suggests the two men may take as long as a year to plan their wedding. Why a year if they’re not really that into it?). Or, it’s entirely possible, given prevailing stereotypes, that many would look to a gay male duo and presume the two men to be effeminate in behavior and outlook. These kind of presumptions, of course, are ridiculous and have been proved inaccurate time after time after time.  As I’ve written here and elsewhere, the problem with these assumptions is that they limit people from understanding that any range of behaviors can be considered normal and natural, that neither men nor women need to be confined to a rigid set of rules and regulations. Many women, we know, have had plenty of other dreams – weddings aside – to keep them busy “since they were two years old.” And plenty of men – gay and straight – have taken active roles in planning for their impending nuptials. All of this is true in spite of the fact that the larger culture keeps hammering home the concept of the wedding as “the bride’s day.” It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

And Bass and Turchin are a case in point. When Bass notes that since there’s no wedding dress to serve as star of the celebration, he and his groom will encourage female guests to don high fashion and couture, he both affirms and contradicts himself. He stands by the idea that women should be adorned on the wedding day, that there should be a dress. But he also provides an example of two men thinking fairly deeply about how what their celebration should look like and how it should unfold.


“The sad thing about two guys planning a wedding is it’s really hard – the wedding’s usually for the bride, and they’ve been dreaming of it since they were two years old,” he continued.
“The sad thing about two guys planning a wedding is it’s really hard – the wedding’s usually for the bride, and they’ve been dreaming of it since they were two years old,” he continued.
“The sad thing about two guys planning a wedding is it’s really hard – the wedding’s usually for the bride, and they’ve been dreaming of it since they were two years old,” he continued.

6 thoughts on “Shame on you, Lance Bass

  1. Wow. You really should do some fact-checking before berating someone. Your article is completely inaccurate save one thing….the quote. And that quote is incomplete and out of context. Out of the hundreds of articles printed about how excited they are and how happy they are, you print this. Shame on you. The wedding will take a year to plan because they are very out of their element and they are crazy busy with his new music and 4 TV shows being launched next year, not to mention Michael’s skyrocketing career as well. You could have offered support, an itemized to-do list for someone looking for pointers. You could have offered congratulations. You could have printed ANYTHING that would have been picked up by mainstream media and would have helped other couples in the same situation. You could have helped the community. You could have been an ally. And yet, you print this. Shame on you. Your very first sentence, “In a world of things I don’t love…” echoes volumes to your perspective, or lack thereof. Expecting them to plan a televised wedding while holiday planning and working 3 cities in the next 2weeks…… you have high expectations. Lance loves to throw a party. And this one will be his boldest, most beautiful, most memorable yet. As it should be. Of course, in your research you noted how excited he is to have a big gay wedding, something that could give light to young people in the community who are still closeted, abused, and villified. No? You didn’t see that? Rather than scold and belittle this beautiful couple, why not choose rather to let them enjoy their holiday before announcing every jot and tittle of preparation to soothe your curiosity. If you did any research at all, listened to his 2hour daily radio show, watched any of his interviews, read any of his transcripts…… you’d know they’re doing just fine. They’ve toed the waters. Their eyes are open. They are over-the-moon happy and in love and ready to make and take this step together. Why on earth would you try to extinguish or darken such a beautiful light? Again, shame on you.

  2. It’s odd that you complain about how society has drives men and women into different roles, then insist there are no differences, that really men and are no different at all. Well which is it? If it is true that we have a society that makes men and women different, then wouldn’t that result in men and women being different? Apparently not, according to you. Apparently women are no more likely to have spent time dreaming of their wedding day than men have.Right? So then we DON’T have a culture which encourages differences? If we have a culture in which are encouraged to wear lipstick, and men are discouraged from wearing lipstick, you can not say that women are no more likely to wear lipstick than men are, but in effect that’s what you are saying re Bass’s comments about weddings. He did not say that every single women in the world has been planning her wedding all her life, he made a general and accurate comment about the predominant differences that men and women have in our culture regarding wedding planning. I once read of a lesbian couple who said it was good to have two women planning a wedding because unlike straight couples, both are equally involved. Oddly enough, I didn’t see any objections to those comments.

  3. Sinyep, the difference v. similarity debate is one that scholars continually go round and round on. I come down on the side that rejects fundamental differences between the sexes, especially since I believe you can find tremendous difference *among* members of the same sex. Cultural forms reinforce the concept of difference – and wedding industry and broader wedding culture are two areas where the idea of separate values and behaviors for men and women persist. There are many examples from which one might choose to reject the idea of “natural” differences and to discuss the contribution of culture in reifying difference. I offer these points: 1) This idea of the bride dreaming of the wedding day since childhood is a very recent construct (and LB may not have said “all brides,” but I believe that point was implicit in his comment). Weddings, as they are celebrated in the contemporary United States, are a creation of the past seventy years. Before WWII, such celebrations were not at all common among the population, and so there were no little girls dreaming of their big white wedding days. Such a desire had to be created – and was, via advertisements, business, and various other forms of media.; 2) The concept of “natural” behaviors for men or for women is inherently flawed. When I teach courses on sex and gender and we look to the early 19th century, the heyday of the “separate spheres” view of men and women, I introduce students to texts that guide women toward “proper” behavior. If such behavior were natural, then why would there be a need for prescriptive literature on how to behave? There wouldn’t!

    To your point, re: the lesbian couple who noted that both partners were equally involved, I’ve written about that phenomenon on this blog and in my book. My suspicion is that the degendering of the wedding division of labor that comes with same-sex couples’ unions could be the largest contribution to wedding culture from the achievement of marriage equality.

  4. Pingback: The Miracle that Created a Southern Baptist Straight Ally | Queer Church News

  5. Pingback: The Miracle that Created a Southern Baptist Straight Ally | Queering the Church

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