When I heard the radio advertisement for the A&E original movie “Wedding Wars” I was intrigued and wanted to see it. For those who haven’t seen it, “Wedding Wars” is about a gay party planner (Shel, played by John Stamos) who finds out that his straight brother (Ben, played by Eric Dane) is behind the governor’s speech against gay marriage. While Shel originally says he will plan Ben’s wedding, he decides not to when he finds that Ben is against gay marriage. Shel doesn’t understand why his brother can get married while he cannot, so he starts a strike. During this strike, all gays are supposed to leave work. In the movie, they show people who are openly gay leaving work and those who are closeted leaving as well. A large part of this is based on stereotypes. Gays all over the country protest and strike because they are not allowed to marry. In the end, nothing changes and Shel still plans Ben’s wedding. Shel still hopes to eventually have the right to marry, but the strike did not work.
This movie brought up some interesting questions. How would it really affect the economy if gays went on strike? Was the movie “Wedding Wars” realistic, or based more on stereotypes than anything? Would a strike actually work to acquire equal rights such as marriage? Would most gays participate? Is a strike really the best way to handle this issue? While many of these questions are difficult to answer, I’ll offer some opinions.
How would it really affect the economy if gays went on strike?
This one is difficult to answer without knowing even roughly what percentage of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) people work in what fields. Perhaps certain fields are more likely to have GLBT employees while other fields don’t have many. Such data would be nearly impossible to collect because so many people hide their sexual orientation in the workplace. Without such data, I’m assuming that the GLBT community is equally distributed throughout the population. If we were to assume the traditional 10% of the population rule, and apply that as 10% of the people in every type of work, that would be a very significant impact. Imagine 10% of the United States not working for even a few days. Imagine having 10% of the employees absent just in your place of work. Even that would likely impact the company that you work for. So on both a large and small scale there would be an impact, at least, assuming that all of the GLBT community would take part in such a strike.
Was the movie “Wedding Wars” realistic, or based more on stereotypes than anything?
“Wedding Wars” was meant to be more of a comedy rather than a movie to be taken seriously. However, I was rather disappointed at all the stereotypes in the movie. Gays who left work were florists, hairdressers, and other stereotypical gay occupations. While some realistic scenarios were portrayed (such as a woman leaving her husband), for the most part, stereotypes were utilized. Even at the end of the movie when the strike was over, Shel was able to fix the disaster of a wedding because all of the gays striking with him were of course ready to decorate and fix things up for a wedding. Of course, the lesbians were able to repair anything that was broken and they of course rode motorcycles to save the day as well. Rather than stepping outside the box, A&E choose to go with nearly every stereotype that they possibly could.
Would a strike actually work to acquire equal rights such as marriage?
This is a tough question. I liked the idea of a strike to get media attention on the gay marriage issue. However, I had to wonder if such a strike wouldn’t even be needed because it already seems that the media is attracted to this issue without it. The purpose of the strike of course wasn’t solely to bring media attention to the issue of gay marriage; a strike would get the attention of many people (especially employers) by hurting their pocketbooks. Perhaps someone previously on the fence about the issue of gay marriage would by influenced by the economy. Politicians especially might be influenced to at least put more measures on the ballot about gay marriage, for better or for worse. If the strike was able to influence people to rethink treating equal citizens as second class citizens, it could be successful. If the strike did not have enough of an effect on the economy, perhaps no one would care or they would be even more put off by the issue of gay marriage.
Would most gays participate?
Would the GLBT community participate or not? If everyone participated, I think that this strike would have a huge impact. The fact remains however, that many people in the GLBT community are still in the closet at work. I am out of the closet at work and would absolutely join in on the strike. When I was still in the closet, I probably would have come out for such an important event (as I imagine many people in the GLBT community would, as happened in the movie). Some people however, would be so afraid of losing their jobs that they might not come out. Even those who are out of the closet at work may not strike to avoid losing their job. If there wasn’t a significant number of people to participate, the strike would be more of a joke than a movement of great importance and impact.
Is a strike really the best way to handle this issue?
While many would argue that marriage is not an economic issue so a strike is not the right solution, in a way, marriage is very much an economic issue. Many would argue that marriage started because of property and money. There are many ways to bring about change on the gay marriage issue however. It would be very hard to tell right now which is the correct way. We won’t know until gay marriage is finally legal. Maybe a strike would work, maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it would be the moment that gay marriage was finally legalized in the United States. Maybe it would be one of many battles as seen in “Wedding Wars.” Perhaps a strike would simply play no role in changing minds and passing laws in this instance.
Even though “Wedding Wars” is primarily a hilarious romantic comedy, the A&E original movie does bring up some very important points about gay marriage. I would recommend watching this movie even solely for its entertainment value. While watching the movie however, I would encourage you to think beyond the laughs and consider the issues brought up about gay marriage. Think beyond the stereotypes and think about what a strike for equal marriage rights could really mean. This movie has much more to offer than first meets the eye.