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Exploring an Unknown Culture on 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted May 31st 2011 1:12AM
'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding''My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' (Sun., 9PM ET on TLC) purported to pull the curtain back on the Irish Traveller and Romany communities, but it left us with even more questions and uncertainties. Certainly the most disturbing custom appears to be one that many of these people aren't even fully supportive of.

Premarital sex is frowned upon, but "Grabbing" is the custom of a young man finding a girl and basically forcing her to kiss him. He often gets physical with her, holding her until she acquiesces. Sounds more like sexual assault than a custom, and that's an assessment many of them seem to agree with.

Cheyenne, who was grabbed during filming, said of the experience, "It's not nice at all, but you just have to live with it. Just keep trying to get him off of you and that's about it. That's all you can do."

Admittedly, this was just a sneak preview of the series proper, which isn't slated to premiere until June 3rd. It was also just a re-airing of a Channel 4 special in the UK. So future installments may give us a more detailed and explanatory approach to exploring this culture we know so little about.

The network is also prepping 'Gypsyville,' which takes a look at the same communities stateside. Between the two series, maybe audiences will gain a better understanding of these misunderstood people, much like 'Sister Wives' opened some minds about the poylgamist lifestyle. Time will tell.

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