To believe the smash British series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, every single traveller and Romany girl is marrying at 16 in a 3-ton dress prior to a life of semi-illiterate subservience. It's not surprising, then, that the Irish Traveller Movement has asked Channel 4 for a right of reply — in their own words.
Says Hughie Smith, president of the Gypsy Council, "I think the show's a bad thing, and I'm not the only one saying it. There are some weddings like these, but there are also plenty of normal ones." What the show portrays is what you see above.
Channel 4 continues to defend the program, telling the Telegraph, "We have intentionally avoided many commonly held stereotypes and attempted to provide a balanced view." And even within the communities portrayed, there is some support for the show — which does attempt to show the prejudice to which they are exposed in the UK.
But is the program mainly stoking these stereotypes with generalizations and sensational editing? At the very least, one hopes that it will provoke conversation and further education. And that no one watching the show will base her opinion of a large, complex and varied group of populations on a few episodes of a show named after a rom-com.