My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding: A Study on Cultural Sociology

The amazing popularity of the movie that many had, prior to its release, dismissed, came as a surprise. Its success, I believe, is a result of the cultural diversities in this country, and the resonant chord it struck with all races and their respective idiosyncrasies, if you will. What was the movie about? It revolved around a Greek single woman (Toula) in her thirties who fell in love with a middle-class, suburban WHITE male who is definitely NOT Greek, and all the funny developments that could happen when two different cultures clash. There were the eccentricities of her parents, (her father who wanted her to be married to a Greek man, and her mother, who just wanted to see her married, period.) her relatives, (one of whom does not know what a vegetarian is, as Greeks LOVE meat), her fiancé, (who had to be baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church for him to be accepted by his future father-in-law) and her own, personal growth as a person beyond that of her culture, and what was expected of her.

According to Wikipedia, Cultural Sociology is a methodology that incorporates cultural analysis into interpretations of social life. The American Sociological Association section for the sociology of culture states that the sociology of culture is a “perspective” that “considers material products, ideas, and symbolic means and their relation to social behavior.” As a perspective on social life, those that practice cultural sociology study all aspects of social life, including diverse topics such as racism, fascism, love, and trade associations, education, gender, science, and family life. All the factors, it seems, that “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” encompasses. Of course, the movie had its over-the-top moments where you somehow feel sorry for someone who happens to be Greek, thinking they may all be lunatics, but then, culturally speaking, all races have negative perceptions (the French for their liability to surrender, the Germans for Hitler, the Italians for the Mafia, and so on, and so forth). So, the study of social cultures is an art in itself because of the innumerable factors that go into behavioral patterns, including lifestyle choices. You consider not just the culture a person belongs to, but how much influence the current environment has had on him. Consider Toula. She may have found a lot of her Greek traditions and expectations stifling but she knew how wonderful her family was, as well. She had been goaded into marriage for years, but she never succumbed to their match-making attempts and just fell into love by herself. She took steps into a life of her own (which was not very Greek of her), and yet respected her roots enough to know how important her marriage is to her family.

A lot of social issues were shown in this movie—all culturally-rooted, culturally-relevant, and culturally-universal.