7.19.2012

American Gypsies and Hutterites

First there was My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and now there's My Big Fat AMERICAN Gypsy Wedding and being the nut that I am I watched them both.  I'm just fascinated by this lifestyle.  The show has featured communities in N. Augusta, S. Carolina, Martinsburg W. Virginia, Roanoke, N. Carolina and Hagerstown, Maryland.  I've never heard of any of these cities.

Stage performance by bride and groom [Photo Source:  TLC.com]
In the wealthy almost exclusively Gypsy town of Murphy's Village in S. Carolina  weddings are held in front of their mansion (they're all rich) on a stage right outside the front door.  It begins with a performance by the brides sister's and then a poetry reading and performance by the bride and the groom.  It's like a play or a performance.  The poetry is set to music and pre recorded so that their voices are piped over a loud speaker and the couple dances to the words and the music.  The poetry topic?  It's basically a poem where they brag about how awesome they are and how much money they have.  The whole performance in this episode was embarrassingly bad and just plain old weird.  Then, they change into the must have giant over the top wedding dress for the ceremony.    

Some other interesting Gypsy community factoids:
  • Muskers is the Gypsy word for cops and non gypsy's are called gorgers.
  • The girls marry fast and young.  Teenage brides and mom's are the norm.  Marrying outside the culture is strongly frowned upon.
  • Gypsy boys mess around with gorgers but they marry Gypsy girls so by marriage it's okay for the boys to have been sexually active but they fully expect the girls to be virgins and that her first kiss is on her wedding day.
  •  It's not uncommon to marry your first cousin.  If you're in love, you're in love.  One couple had to go to Winchester, Virginia for the wedding because it was not legal in their own state.
  • Their go to dress maker is in Boston and they literally hop on planes to go in for the fittings to get outfitted for parties.  Their wedding dresses can weight 100 + pounds.  They look mighty funny hobbling down the aisle in a dress they can barely walk in. 
  • Most boys and girls drop out of school after middle school.  The boys drop out to start working and earning money and the girls drop out to help around the house.
  • Their style of dress is extremely provocative.  Even for little girls.  Short shorts and skirts and short tops.  The tighter and more blinged out the better.  They are virgins who look like strippers.
  •  The girls aren't allowed to date.  Parties are  the only opportunity to interact with boys and find a potential husband so they gotta look hot.
  • Men typically aren't present during the birth of their child.  
  • Women aren't allowed to drink when they are out and at parties.  The  men can.
  • The men spend much of the year traveling around working so the child rearing and household responsibilities are left to the wife.  A lot of them do blacktopping and paving to support their family.
  • The gypsy wives that live in trailers get to travel with their husband for work season.
  • Girls are expected to cook, clean and take care of siblings and are not allowed to go anywhere alone but boys are free to play all day long and come and go as they please.  
  • Even with gypsy communities that don't seem to be that wealthy it's all about image and status.  They want to have the best clothes, best parties, best dresses, the cleanest home and the purest virgin daughters.
  • Most Gypsy women actually don't want anything more out of life.  One woman explained that she does not want to do anything else but cook and clean for her family and her husband.  According to her there is no other feeling like the one you get when your husband comes home to a hot dinner that you made.  It's the best feeling in the world.  If that's not a dedicated career housewife I don't know what is.
Isn't it funny how these reality shows give birth to new ones?  There is a new show on Nat Geo called American Gypsies that starts tonight but I'm good.  I won't be watching it.  I've got to draw the line somewhere.  Which leads me to yet another reality show featuring a different way of life.

Photo Source:  Nationalgeographic.com
American Colony:  Meet The Hutterites  is also on Nat Geo.  I've heard of the Amish but I'd never heard of the Hutterites.  They have a very distinct accent and a style of dress similar to the Amish and make up a self sustained very religious community where work and money is shared communally among everyone.  The community featured on the show is King Colony in Montana which is made up of 16 families and 59 people who are almost all related.
  • The colony is ruled by the elders.  Anyone who goes against colony rules risk being shunned.  Parents can also be shunned for their kids behavior.  In order to be unshunned the shunned person would have to go around and ask all of the elders for forgiveness.
  • You must get permission from the preacher to be baptized and this normally happens in your 20's.  If you've misbehaved or gone against colony rules you could be barred.
  • You can't get married until after you are Baptized.
  • Only men who have baptized get to vote on colony business.  Women do not get a vote at all.
  • On this particular colony some of them do have cell phones and computers but that is considered very progressive.
  • The girls are not allowed to wear any make up or their hair down.  They wear their hair split into two twists,one on each side with the ends put up.   They must cover their head with a scarf and wear long dresses that they make themselves.  No wild prints or pants allowed on women.
  • Dating is slim pickings.  Most people are either related to you or already taken.
  • To marry a Non Hutterite (English person) means that they would basically have to leave the colony because it's forbidden.  
  • They don't own their own cars.  All the cars belong to the colony and permission must be asked for use.
  • Once you are assigned a job it's yours for life.  Different jobs on the colony include a Kitchen Boss, Field Boss, Cattle Boss, Garden Boss, and Money Boss.   
  • Men and women both work hard but the jobs are very defined based on gender.  Making soap, tending the garden, cooking and cleaning is for the women and men do the outside jobs. 
  • They earn money and put food on the table with soap making, farming and agriculture.  What they bring in for selling their Cattle every year is one of their main sources of income and they cook and eat what they grow. 
  • The kids don't go to school beyond the age of 15 years old so they can stay at home and help out on the colony.  They are expected to work and marry on the colony so I suppose there really is no point.
It's funny how these extremely different cultures actually have some similarities.  So, if you had to choose would you rather be a Gypsy or a Hutterite? This is a tough one because neither option sounds appealing to me.  I kind of like the idea of the simple life with it's shared communal living where I don't have to really think about bills or a mortgage and material items are non existent but that life seems so incredibly boring and stifling.  The Gypsy life seems way too materialistic and also very stifling and rigid.  Would I rather dress like a nun or a prostitute?  Would I rather go to a Harvest Party on the farm and watch fireworks or go to a big party in a slutty fancy dress and dance all night long?  I guess I'd be a Gypsy. Either way, as a women I'm going to be oppressed and subject to rules on top of rules but something tells me Gypsies have way more fun.

11 comments :

Michelle said...

I am obsessed with the gypsies shows! It's all just so crazy to me.

Janna Renee said...

My girlfriend made me watch one of the gypsy shows and the whole time, I was like "WTF?" It almost doesn't seem real. I can't imagine being part of EITHER group. I mean it's cool for them...I guess. Haha.

Natalie said...

I am fascinated by these shows. They always suck me in! The girls are always dressed so skimpy. It makes me feel like such a prude!

CeCe said...

I agree...not too anxious to sign up for either lifestyle!!

Faith said...

I watched one episode and my mouth was hanging open I was so surprised. It amazes me that if not for this show I never would have known this lifestyle exist!!

CeCe said...

I know...I always get sucked in and usually I can't stop it. And their outfits are terrible! Not just because they are so skimpy but they are just tacky.

CeCe said...

And that's what I do like about some reality tv. You really do get to learn about other lifestyles that you would never have known. It's interesting.

Mrs. Pancakes said...

No longer with television...i miss all the craziness but i watched the British version and i scratched my head...but hey if that's their lifestyle to each their own!!

LWLH said...

The way those girls dress and dance, oh my word....and they're soooo young.

Carla said...

I'm not really into reality TV but I do like some of the shows on TLC, mainly Hoarders.

Now, would I be a gypsy or a hutterite? I really don't even have an answer for that. I'm hope I'm never faced with that ultimatum! LOL!

CeCe said...

Sometimes I wish I didn't have cable-then I couldn't be sucked into this stuff. But hey, it's entertaining!

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