It would seem like most bachelor party for girls follow a similar narrative: They begin with good intentions—dinner at a trendy new restaurant; a hike to a well-known physical landmark; rooftop cocktails with bonding!—but then somehow, inevitably, the girls end up wasted at 2:00 p.m. on a wine-tasting safari, wearing shirts that shout “The Bride’s Bitches,” screaming obscenities at dumb animals. It’s in these moments that one should be reminded that: at their core, bachelorette parties should be about celebrating gender equality by objectifying male strippers and drinking Vodka Red Bull through penis straws. And then one feels better.
A bachelor party for a girl is a phenomenon it seems that society has come to both detest and embrace with equal enthusiasm. The prevailing aesthetic of the modern bachelorette—princess sashes, genitalia-centric novelty items, fluffy cat ears, etc.—is a look that transcends social boundaries, welcomed by everyone.. The increasing indulgence of the ritual was perfectly summed up by Amy Schumer in her sketch “Bachelorette Party Disaster,” in which a bachelorette party bus crashes into a bachelorette booze cruise. The result is described as a “rat king situation,” with women “bound together in a wet tangle of hair extensions and feather boas.” Most of the fatalities in this disaster were bystander suicides.
But as bachelorette parties become increasingly debauched, bachelor parties seem to be taking a different course. The groom’s crews opted for chill camping weekends or hiking trips, and some grooms might even skip the ritual all together. Even well-known publications arfe sporting articles about wholesome, “mostly hangover-free” bachelor party ideas for the year’s wedding season. When did women start beating men at their own gross game?
The bachelorette party is a fairly recent phenomenon. For centuries, men had premarital parties while women just chilled at home, chatting, sipping tea, or whatever—typical. According to the history books (read: Wikipedia), the ritual of celebrating the groom’s last night as a single man is believed to have started back in the fifth century B.C., with the ancient Spartans. The practice has obviously evolved over the years, but for at least the last century, bachelor parties have commonly consisted of men getting sloshed, ogling strippers, getting bromotional, and making decisions they later regret. (See: the 1984 Tom Hanks comedy Bachelor Party and The Hangover trilogy).
The idea was that men were commemorating the death of their freedom with one grasp at freedom.
Women, on the other hand, weren’t seen to be giving up anything for marriage, because they had no sexual freedom or independence to begin with; women were only gaining something. So instead of raging, women had bridal showers, which were known for being rather tame and sedate.
Then around the late sixties, amidst the sexual revolution and a diminishing sexual double standard, the bachelor party for girls was born. Still, it was by no means common; it was more radical. Throughout the seventies, bachelorette parties were something some feminists did as an antithesis of the torturous bridal shower. But the bachelorette as we know it today wasn’t common until the mid-eighties. It was during this time that a new school of pro-sex feminism emerged, led by women like Madonna, who proclaimed sexual freedom as an essential component of women’s liberation. Women were entering the workforce and appropriating men’s styles of dress, wearing tailored skirt suits with huge shoulder pads, aka “power dressing.” The general idea was that women could be “like men”—could work like men, dress like men, behave like men, and, essentially, ogle strippers while pounding shots like men. Sexual freedom meant that women, too, were free to act like apes and make decisions they would live to regret later on. It was only fair.
It would seem that bachelorette parties aren’t just getting more depraved, they’re also getting far more extravagant, demanding, and expensive. It’s becoming increasingly common to do destination parties, some that last up to a week. And then there’s the money issue. You are made to feel really guilty if you don’t go, because the bride puts a lot of pressure on you. Add that to the cost of an engagement present, a wedding present, and traveling to the wedding, and you might as well financially shoot yourself in the foot.
It happens quite commonly that a bunch of girls can go to Vegas for a bachelorette. Cavorting around on stage at a strip club wearing sashes that say ‘Cheers bitches’. Getting individual lap dances while a stripper sprays their faces with champagne. They would be staying in a huge suite that was decorated in glitter, which is where they’d pregame and play Pin the Dick on the Man. It can be a mess, and uinsurprisingly there have been girls leaving with a tattoo on their face.
One has to ask has the point of bachelor party for girls become to get drunk and throw up on yourself. But really what’s the point of having a bachelorette party if you’re not going to go all-out with with a six-foot blow-up dick and penis straws? Without those, it’s just a regular night out with your friends.
It comes down to the idea, really, why buy into any mainstream convention unless you’re just going to go for it? Acknowledge that having a bachelor part for girls is kind of a basic bitch thing to do to begin with and embrace the cheesy stereotypes. And sure, the performance of bachelorette parties are usually partly ironic, and a bit parody, but the reality is, even if you’re wearing a dick on your head at a restaurant “as a joke,” you’re not invisible.