I’ve watched a few episodes of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” on TLC lately. Now that is an interesting show!
They are all so proud to be gypsy. The only thing I really know about gypsies is what I see in movies. (So totally 100 % accurate, right?!) I’ve never met a gypsy, but it’s said that they don’t disclose very often that they are gypsy because of prejudice. So, maybe I have!
On tonight’s episode, there was a couple who are first cousins. And to perpetuate the stereotype, they are from West Virginia. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually illegal to marry your first cousin in West Virginia, but it’s very acceptable in gypsy culture. The couple had to get married in Virginia and did so in the most gaudy fashion. And they take gaudy as a compliment!
On the show, the gypsies call themselves Romani, not gypsy. Apparently the Roma ethnic group came from India and migrated to Europe. It’s thought that Europeans thought they were from Egypt, and hence the name gypsy.
Being a gypsy woman is…fascinating. Getting divorced, having a child out of wedlock, and living together before marriage are all very taboo for gypsies. Also, girls quit school young and marry young ( usually at 16 or 17). Women always stay at home and clean, cook, and take care of the children. Apart from the quitting school thing, it sounds like the 1950’s, huh?
The guys are a whole different story! They can do whatever they want when they are growing up. They have no responsibilities and can be as promiscuous as they want. They kinda look like someone from the Jersey Shore with the spiky hair, the half buttoned shirts, and the gold chains.
I think the reason this particular reality show is popular is because it’s a topic and a people that we aren’t familiar with. I keep watching because I want to learn more about gypsies. Did you know tens of thousands of Romanis were killed in concentration camps during WWII? Did you know that in many countries they have been forced to assimilate and laws were made against them? I think this is group of people we could all stand to learn more about.