Will and Kate’s big day is almost here. But while Americans of all ages and professions have been feasting regularly and deeply on this banquet of public pageantry, one thing has become quite clear – men and women are sipping from decidedly different cups.
Women have a slight edge when it comes to celebrating the event. According to thehotlist.com, a “social decision engine” that tracks the activities of some 100 million users across social media such as Facebook and Twitter, women make up some 57 percent of those planning social events to watch the wedding broadcast.
“The royal wedding is not as emotionally salient to men as it is to women,” says Terri Orbuch, a Detroit-based social psychologist and author, who adds, “women are far more invested in the relationships and connections around weddings than men in general.”
“I’ve been following the coverage in print and online,” he says, adding, “I’m very intrigued by the pageantry and processions and preparations.”
Social learning reinforces the message. “Think about what we expose daughters to,” he says, adding every day “we read them a fairy tale about a prince or they hear a Disney story about Prince Charming or watch a movie about Cinderella.” These two combine for a very powerful influence both conscious and not, he says.
However, that said, many women are relieved to know that this time around Prince Charming isn’t looking for an aristocratic, pretty virgin 13 years his junior, says Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., via email.
Rather, he is looking for an equally educated, same-age mate that he's known for 8 years, she says. “I am seeing more interest from these women this time around – they find it reassuring that the heir to the throne picked a real-life person with a mind of her own rather than a cartoon fairy-tale princess,” she adds.
Women from coast to coast are gathering in groups of girlfriends and multiple generations. From quiltmaker Roberta Levin, who watched Diana and Charles wed thirty years ago and wants to see her son come full circle, to public relations professional Elizabeth Anderson, who will watch surrounded by a bevy of female relatives, from her daughter to her mother and a slew of in-laws and nieces.
In the end, though, the story draws in both men and women, says Beth Amorosi, president of Ammo Communications.
“The story and history of the country, the royal family, the monarchy. The story of what happened to the previous generation,” she writes in an email.
She says the storylines continue the theme of the “new fairy-tale.”
“The story of a young girl named Diana who married Prince Charles and two little boys named Harry and Wills.
“The story of how that family broke up, but how she also raised those boys to be normal, gracious, and kind, young men.
“The story of how they – and the world – lost a beautiful ray of sunshine.
“The story of how we watched them grow up and become men.
“The story of how a young college student named William met his sweetheart named Kate, their courtship, their breakups and dalliances, reuniting and becoming engaged, and then becoming the hope for the future and modern evolution and reinterpretation of the monarchy.”
Men might not admit it, but they will be watching too.