Child-aid organization Plan Norway uses a local face to raise awareness around the global issue of child brides.
BY RAE ANN FERA
Norwegian bride-to-be Thea is sharing her picture-perfect wedding preparations in a thoroughly modern way–through her blog. As she gets ready for her big day, Thea is posting photos of the gorgeous church in which she’ll be wed. She’s adding selfies and snapshots of her wedding dress and cake. She’s also sharing her complex emotions about how she feels about soon becoming a missus, like how she was so frustrated that her wedding plans got in the way of attending her classmate’s birthday party. Thea is 12 years old and on October 11 will marry a man 25 years her senior.
Thea is not real. Nor is Geir, the prospective groom who’s old enough to be Thea’s father. But for a brief moment, Thea’s tale–in which she shared increasingly dark struggles that mirror what real child brides deal with–was taken as legitimate. It sparked outrage in Norway. People called the police and child services. They asked how, in this progressive and prosperous nation, could a girl so young be permitted to marry? And that was exactly the point.