Designing Women S4 E19 Extra Sugar - First Comes Baby…Then Comes Marriage? An Ode to the Shotgun Wed
Ah…the time-honored, patriarchal tradition of marrying quickly to hide the shame of an unplanned pregnancy. This week’s episode of Designing Women was all about that (+ one-night stand shame for Julia), so let’s get some “Extra Sugar” on it. But, we’ll jazz it up, make it fun, with a “Grits Blitz.”
Here are some references Nikki used to pull this piece together:
Wikipedia’s entry on shotgun weddings
Come on y’all, let’s get into it!
Nikki: Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.
Nikki: In this week's episode of Designing Women, we learn that oh, boy, pain sure has been, as Mary Joe put it, busy this semester.
Nikki: He's got a girl, a degree, and a baby on the way.
Nikki: What's a man to do but marry the girl and make an honest woman out of her, right?
Salina: That's right, Payne's.
Nikki: Quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Nikki: Wedding inspired this week's Extra Sugar, which is all about the time honored tradition of getting hitched before anyone realizes you're pregnant, otherwise known as the shotgun wedding.
Nikki: I'm calling this segment first Comes Baby, Then Comes Marriage, an ode to the shotgun wedding according to a grammar.
Nikki: You can laugh if you want.
Salina: Thank you.
Salina: Well, I was thinking about whether I needed it to go.
Nikki: You made the right choice to just laugh, but thank you.
Nikki: According to a grammarist article I found, the phrase shotgun wedding appeared in the English language in America sometime during the second half of the 19th century.
Nikki: The term made its way into the court system by the 1870s.
Nikki: The article included an example of someone suing for divorce because of a shotgun wedding in 1972.
Nikki: In that case, the person claimed the woman's family threatened to kill him, then even held a gun to him during the entire ceremony.
Nikki: You know, wedded bliss.
Nikki: That was a weird example because it was like it made its way into the court system in the late 18 hundreds.
Nikki: Here's an example from 1972.
Nikki: But it's the only example I had.
Salina: Yeah, I was definitely there.
Nikki: I was like, 1972?
Nikki: Okay, I read it three times, and then I went back and double checked because I was like, what am I missing here?
Nikki: But that's just the way the article was written.
Nikki: I don't have to tell you.
Nikki: So for this segment, we're going to talk about the history where the term itself comes from.
Nikki: We're going to talk about shotgun weddings around the world.
Nikki: And then I've got a round of grit splits for you, Selena.
Nikki: Two truths and a Lie style.
Salina: Oh, anything could happen.
Nikki: So for those who are uninitiated, as I said at the top of the segment, at its core, the term shotgun wedding largely refers to the idea of a hasty wedding thrown together because of a pregnancy many, many moons ago.
Nikki: An unplanned pregnancy could destroy a woman's reputation and social standing, not to mention her families.
Nikki: So her father would presumably hold a gun to the man's head as a threat if he doesn't marry her.
Nikki: So with all that in mind, payne's wedding doesn't seem to be a true shotgun wedding.
Nikki: Her dad barely had time to hold a gun to his head, what was being in Asia and all.
Nikki: But it checked some of the boxes.
Nikki: She was pregnant, they got married, blah, blah, blah.
Nikki: So I found a 2018 analysis of data from North Carolina that found that shotgun marriage births which they called the much less stigmatizing.
Nikki: Mid pregnancy married births were holding less stigmatizing, but a lot harder to say.
Nikki: We're holding study at about 10% over the last 25 years.
Nikki: That compares to about 27% in the 70s.
Nikki: Shotgun marriages are more common today among black and white, less educated and younger women.
Nikki: In that group, shotgun wedding births account for a quarter of births.
Nikki: Another thing the 2018 analysis looked at that I think is interesting when you talk about the concept of shotgun weddings is divorce rate.
Nikki: So generally speaking, common understanding is that shotgun weddings don't last or shotgun marriages don't last.
Nikki: Actually, the 2018 analysis revealed that maybe it does, at least in certain populations.
Nikki: So younger black women with lower levels of education had the same or lower divorce rates as preconception marriages.
Nikki: And more advantaged groups tend to dissolve their shotgun marriages.
Nikki: So, like, the more money people have, the more likely they are to get a divorce.
Nikki: The article summarizes that perhaps there's a quote overlooked resiliency in those marriages that I was talking about before that makes the marriages last longer.
Nikki: For what it's worth, my initial instinct to that conclusion was that resilient felt like a weird word to choose because it implies to me like a sense of shame or like divorce conferring some sort of weakness.
Nikki: So, like, if you can overcome divorce, you're resilient.
Nikki: You know what I mean?
Salina: Don't you dare take away my shame.
Salina: We're all here for the shame.
Nikki: The other part that bothered me about it is that it assumes just because people didn't divorce, that means they want to be married.
Nikki: And I don't think those two things are always true at the same time.
Salina: I think you just described the 1950s.
Nikki: Yeah, right, but I went through the article because before I jumped to that conclusion and just, like, railed against the article, I wanted to read their rationale.
Nikki: So this is why they say they came to that conclusion.
Nikki: And this is a quote from the article perhaps because nonmarital births are so common among black couples, norms to marry, quote, for the sake of the child, are weaker among blacks than among whites.
Nikki: Thus, blacks who are married either preconception or mid pregnancy may have married for relationship focus rather than child focused reasons.
Nikki: So they looked at a whole bunch of other sociocultural and other sorts of research to kind of come to this conclusion that if a black couple has a shotgun wedding, they're more likely to stay married than a white couple.
Nikki: Very simple.
Nikki: I'm simplifying that a lot.
Nikki: But they came to that conclusion because they saw other research that showed that not necessarily are they getting married because of the baby.
Nikki: They may just have decided, oh, this is a good reason to get married now.
Nikki: But we were always planning to get married because we love each other and want to be married.
Nikki: Does that make sense?
Nikki: It's complicated.
Nikki: Yeah, it's complicated.
Salina: I hear you.
Nikki: Anyway, the idea of forcing a marriage on an unmarried couple that's expecting a baby is hardly an American tradition.
Nikki: In fact, according to my research, there's not even really a term for it in many countries in the Middle East, because it's taken so seriously that most of the weddings successfully take place before anyone even knows there's a pregnancy involved.
Nikki: So it's never become a cultural phenomenon.
Nikki: There's no need for a term.
Nikki: Warriors don't talk about it.
Nikki: In some countries, premarital sex is against the law, so it comes with stakes that may be even higher than a little gun threat.
Nikki: I found a 2021 article that indicated the United Arab Emirates had just decriminalized premarital sex in 2020.
Nikki: However, a marriage certificate is required to secure a birth certificate, and unmarried women are denied medical insurance coverage for maternity care.
Salina: Good grief.
Nikki: There's just so much cultural stigma associated with premarital sex and women who aren't, quote, pure that the consequences of a pregnancy outside marriage is too much.
Nikki: So many women are turning to a quickie shotgun weddings.
Salina: Just a rip roaring time.
Nikki: It's just fun.
Nikki: It's just fun, actually is kind of fun in other places.
Nikki: So shotgun weddings are also a thing in East Asia, but they don't seem to carry the same social implications.
Nikki: They're almost, like I was saying, light hearted or something.
Nikki: So, for instance, in Japan, they're called oops, we did it marriage.
Nikki: One quarter of Japanese brides are pregnant at the wedding.
Nikki: In China, they're sometimes called married by the order of the child, which is a play on the phrase that means the marriage is done by the order of an imperial edict.
Nikki: So they've just sort of turned it into a cutesy phrase.
Nikki: That's fun.
Nikki: And the whole phenomenon is becoming even more common among younger generations.
Nikki: But one thing I read sort of indicated that even like, generationally so even in younger generations, some people are like, why are we so cool with this?
Nikki: And other people are like, Because it's just a baby.
Nikki: Let's get married again.
Salina: All I can think about is them blasting oops, I Did It Again by Britney Spears.
Salina: That's all I can think of.
Salina: Be kind of like a fun thing to walk out to show stopping.
Nikki: That's true.
Nikki: So in the UK, shotgun weddings are called Knobstick weddings.
Nikki: It sounds like Knobstick refers to a stick that Wardens of the Church used to carry.
Nikki: It implies they would use it as a weapon if needed to ensure that the wedding took place.
Salina: I knew that somehow beating was coming into this.
Nikki: There's a beaten involved somewhere.
Salina: There better be, or why are we here?
Nikki: Why are we even here?
Nikki: So I wanted to mention the Netherlands and Belgium because they have sort of a recent historical trend that I thought was pretty fascinating.
Nikki: So the term shotgun wedding in Dutch is mucce.
Nikki: I'm probably not saying that right.
Nikki: I did listen to a pronunciation.
Nikki: So it's something like mooche.
Nikki: It's a noun that's made from the verb for must or have to and a suffix which indicates something smaller, so loosely translating that it is translated as little must or little you have to, which is what I love to call my kids little you have to.
Nikki: So when you put it together, it indicates you must get married to altogether.
Nikki: Now, avoid the shame of giving birth unmarried.
Salina: Oh, it's beautiful.
Nikki: So, this is where it gets interesting, though.
Nikki: Apparently, these types of marriages were really common in the first half of the 20th century.
Nikki: About a quarter of marriages in the Netherlands in the early 60s were shotgun weddings.
Nikki: However, they faded by 2013.
Nikki: Only 82% of Dutch, which still sounds like a lot to me, but 82% of Dutch people and 43% of Flemish people even recognize the term anymore.
Nikki: So shotgun weddings, a time honored tradition the world over.
Nikki: Am I right?
Salina: Oh, yeah, you're right.
Nikki: Do you want to play a game?
Salina: I feel like your first question would be, like, was your wedding a shotgun wedding?
Nikki: Share what you want to share.
Nikki: Grit splits.
Nikki: You want a grit splits?
Salina: Let's grit splits.
Nikki: So what I wanted to do for this game is two truths and a lie.
Nikki: Famous shotgun wedding edition.
Salina: Oh, okay.
Nikki: So I'm going to name three celebrity couples, and you tell me if she was pregnant when they got married.
Nikki: Oh, okay.
Nikki: For the record, this game feels mildly tacky.
Nikki: I get it.
Nikki: These are people, and I want to be clear, I'm not disrespecting them.
Nikki: Anyway, there is no judgment.
Nikki: These are straight facts.
Nikki: I found very easily online that they were pregnant at the time they got married.
Salina: Patriarchy, it's not us.
Nikki: We are super clear.
Nikki: Not judging them, don't care their life.
Nikki: That's between two partners, why they got married.
Nikki: It's just fascinating to know that celebrities, they're like us.
Nikki: So I only have three, so this could be a brief game.
Nikki: We'll see how you do.
Nikki: Okay, first up, let's do a late 90s, early 2000s edition.
Salina: Well, that is my sweet spot.
Salina: Go on.
Nikki: So the three celebrity couples selena are Justin Timberlake and Jessica Beal reese Witherspoon and Ryan phillippi Freddie Prince Jr.
Nikki: And Sarah Michelle Geller.
Nikki: So, of those three, one couple was pregnant at the wedding and the other two were not that we know of, who was pregnant.
Salina: Oh, that's tough.
Nikki: Okay, it is tough.
Salina: I know it's not the first one.
Nikki: So it's not Justin Timberlake and Jessica.
Salina: They weren't together yet.
Salina: That much I know because I know I should not know that.
Salina: Honestly, I'm embarrassed that I do.
Salina: So it's going to be the second or the third.
Salina: I'm going to say reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillips.
Salina: Thank you, Ryan Phillippi.
Nikki: Well done.
Nikki: So they got married in June and had their baby in September.
Nikki: So second group, it looks an awful.
Salina: Lot like Reese now.
Nikki: Oh, my God.
Nikki: So much like her carbon copy.
Nikki: I saw a video of them at the Taylor Swift concert, and I thought I was watching Reese Witherspoon Walk, and I thought, man, that woman just never ages.
Nikki: And that is true.
Nikki: She never ages.
Nikki: Yet her daughter also is younger than she is, right.
Nikki: She just looks like her.
Salina: It's amazing.
Nikki: So, second group, let's do more like modern Hollywood legend types, okay?
Nikki: Okay, so the three couples are Harrison Ford and Callista Flockhart, julia Roberts and Daniel Motor.
Nikki: Drew Barrymore and Will Copelman.
Nikki: Okay, so of those three, which one was expecting a little one when they walked down the aisle?
Salina: Oh, man, that is tough.
Salina: I'm going to say Julia Roberts and Danny Motor.
Nikki: They're not right.
Nikki: I don't know.
Nikki: Is it pronounced motor?
Nikki: What's his last name?
Nikki: M-O-D-E-R motor.
Nikki: I don't know.
Nikki: You're not right, though.
Nikki: It was Drew Barrymore and Will Copelman.
Nikki: They also married in June and had a baby in September.
Nikki: It's worth mentioning, though, that Callista Flockhart did have a child at the time she and Harrison Ford got together.
Nikki: She adopted the child at birth, and then they got together.
Nikki: Okay, so finally, the last segment is broadcasters, like TV broadcasters.
Nikki: So we have Nick and Vanessa Lache.
Nikki: And just to be clear, I'm using the term broadcasters loosely.
Nikki: They host love is blind.
Salina: How dare you?
Nikki: So Nick and Vanessa Lache news Anchor savannah Guthrie and her husband, Mike Feldman.
Nikki: And sports caster Aaron Andrews and her husband, hockey player Jarrett stole the middle one.
Salina: Savannah guntheri.
Nikki: Savannah Guthrie.
Salina: That's it.
Nikki: And Mike.
Salina: What did I say?
Nikki: Savannah, it's because I'm on camera and I'm nervous.
Nikki: But you're right.
Nikki: You're right.
Nikki: They got married in March, and she was four months pregnant at the time.
Salina: That was a total guess.
Nikki: Erin Andrews was just sort of an interesting aside.
Nikki: So she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2017, and they were married that year.
Nikki: In June of that year.
Nikki: She says they'd never even really discussed kids before that point, but because she had cancer, that sort of escalated everything a little bit.
Nikki: So after she was declared cancer free, she ended up having IVF so that they could at least have the embryos if they ever decide to go that route or the eggs or whatever.
Nikki: But to this point, as far as I can tell, don't have any kids.
Nikki: So you got two out of three, right?
Nikki: Do you feel like you learned something new today?
Salina: Big time.
Salina: I learned how you feel about the Lachets and their broadcast.
Nikki: To be clear, love the Lachets.
Salina: It doesn't make you broadcast journalism to run a game show.
Nikki: It doesn't.
Nikki: They're not on the same par as.
Salina: They have got three very successful series of game shows.
Nikki: That's correct.
Nikki: Yes, that's correct.
Nikki: But I just had trouble finding other broadcasters.
Salina: That, and they all have more money than us for now.
Nikki: And some of them were babies than us.
Salina: Yeah, well, they all have more babies than me.
Nikki: That brings us to the end of this week's extra sugar.
Nikki: Well done.
Nikki: Do you feel like you need a prize?
Nikki: That's an oddly specific prize for grit splits.
Nikki: I need to come up with a grit splits recipe.
Salina: How about biscuit based shortcake that's already downstairs?
Nikki: Sounds like a great idea.
Salina: I'm a winner.
Nikki: And a birthday girl.
Nikki: You win in all the ways I win with aging.
Nikki: So you all know the drill.
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Nikki: You can find us on YouTube by searching sweet tea and TV podcast.
Nikki: And our website is www.sweettv.com.
Nikki: Come back next week for a brand new sweet tea and TV take on designing women.
Nikki: This has been this week's extra sugar.