The bridal industry is fascinating when you consider it in terms of pain-points and the concept of “losing face”.
I had this long tough process of understanding what pain points the bridal industry covers. For example, why do brides panic so much over a wedding dress? Or why do brides take such a long time to plan for the wedding preparation process?
More importantly, why only brides and not so much of grooms?
The answer is that the bride must have felt anxiety about not doing things the right way. “Right way” is defined and propagated by a select few in society. In Asian contexts, the families of the brides and grooms must also have felt the pressure to uphold the standards of their immediate social circle.
This is why if your immediate social circle is filled with people who hold huge, exorbitant weddings, you would be pressured to adhere to that standard too.
I used to completely not get that notion. Then I realised I do not have a good concept of “face”. That’s not very “Asian” of me, is it? In general, I tend to just do whatever I want–pretty individualistic and “American”, I guess.
For example, the closest thing that causes pain to me, and that I feel that is a loss of face, is grades. The next closest thing in relation to face is pretty much nothing.
But now that I’d moved on from universities, I woke up from the delusion of grades as well. So it has no power over me anymore.
According to Dr. Sun, “losing face” is the worst kind of pain in society. A person’s “face” is the direct measure of his self-esteem, self-worth, and value to society. Once a person’s face is lost, he perceives his value to society to be lost too.
The harshest punishment to losing face is actually silent disapproval. Disapproval in silence by your respected circle can be magnified infinitely by one’s imagination. This is obviously not very pleasant.
Faces can mean different things to different people.
Brides can always think “Do I look fat in this gown? What would people think of me? Would they associate me with some wannabes or vainpots?”
“Is it OK to spend so much on weddings? Would other think I’m showing off?”
“Is it OK to hold a small wedding? Would people think that my daughter is marrying a poor bloke? 好可怜哦，嫁得那么寒酸啊。”
For many in the masses, “face” is actually about appearance. It is about ego–an extension of a character trait. The bigger your ego, the more you would care about your face and the loss of it.
Because the “ego” and the “face” is a function of societal’s perception of an individual, it is always conditional. You can lose “it”, and you can gain “it” anytime.
You’d always not be good enough. But for most people, they don’t aim for the ideal. They go for a safe, reasonable range not to be judged.
So “Face” is life and death in society to most in the masses. And when you are taking tons of photographs to be remembered by for generations and generations to come?
Better take good care of that pretty face at least for a day, ladies and gentlemen.
If you completely lack a concept of face, it probably means that you are not really part of the masses and that the media has limited influence over you. I think to a huge extent, I do lack the internalisation of the concept of face, which is probably why I can do media. I do spot people’s insecurities very fast.
But now that I understand…
If media folks set the standard, would it not be like a drug that the masses have to keep coming back for? As an insurance. To not be shamed. To be approved.
Repeat. Propagate. Reinforce. From the beloved authorities.