Bonjour, cool cats!
I just started reading The Meaning of Wife by Anne Kingston. It is pretty awesome. And, like all good books should, it started me thinking. Even if I were allowed to, I don’t plan on getting married. There’s just too much stigma attached to it for my taste. Marriage was conceived as a way to use women as currency, disguised as a religious commandment. Even with the religious background, though, in its early days, marriage’s ownership overtones wasn’t disguised that heavily.
In our current PC days, though, that would like, so not fly with those feminists. You know, the angry ones with hairy armpits from the 70s? They would be pissed. So how to convince generations of women to keep getting married? Tell them that marriage is the ultimate form of love, because every wants to be loved! And even I have to admit that the idea of getting dressed up in pretty clothes and swearing you’ll love each other until the end of time is honestly sweet. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots (hopefully most!) of married couples that adore each other. And I think commitment is important, especially if you want to have children (nothing against divorce; my mom has been divorced twice and it hasn’t killed me yet). But marriage in and of itself is not the ultimate form of love. And I don’t see the point in continuing a tradition that originally, had nothing to do with love, in the name of love. Does anyone else see why I think this is odd?
In addition to the tradition of wife-as-property, the wedding industry is eeeeviiilllll. *spooky voice* Consumerism is one of the main ways society subverts women. The obsession with having the “perfect wedding” leads to a year-long shopping spree, often with purchases of items that cost exponentially more because they have the word “wedding” tacked to the front. (Wedding Port-a-Potties!) Not to mention the completely exploitative shows like “Bridezilla”.* And (blarrrgggh) the belief that every little girl dreams about her wedding? When I was a little girl, I was fantasizing about having a pet dragon and riding it to school and all the other kids would be soooo jealous. The only thought I ever gave to marriage was being really sad that I’d have to give up my last name, which I was apparently extremely attached to, because I just assumed I was going to get married one day.**
And there is something about “wife” that connotes a certain personality. Type-A, tidy, with it, probably nagging, if not
speed freak cheerful frighteningly cheerful about something. For something that is supposed to be able to include all women, that sounds pretty narrow (and unrealistic). In The Meaning of Wife, they mention that women actually try to change to seem more wifely. Er. As in, acting more demure, doing more dishes, etc. etc. Maybe taking some time to purchase a pink frilly apron. Guess what? Their husbands didn’t like this. Yeah, maybe because they married a human being who suddenly MORPHS INTO WIFE-BOT! Transformers, sexists in disguise! While I disdain the genre of humor consisting of middle-aged dudes complaining about how they married some hot lady who is now UGH! Letting herself go! Nagging! Wearing granny panties! Maybe there is a tiny kernel of truth to it. (That sentence hurt to write) If wives feel so much pressure to conform to this 50s, Feminine Mystique-esque stereotype that they’re actually trying to become that, they’re probably losing themselves. And the men who married them probably miss that old self, because you can’t love a stereotype. You can’t love the stress that comes with trying to be someone you’re not. You can love a partner who lives with you and shares chores with you and maybe raises kids with you and keeps house with you and sleeps and cuddles with you. But after all the problems that “husband and wife” have had in the past, it seems that “wife” is having a damn hard time adjusting to being a person who just happens to do all those things with their significant other as well.
And for Pete’s sake, keep your name or hyphenate. Please?
*I have never even seen this show. I would probably puke.
**No, little Rabbit! You don’t have to give up your last name! You can keep it! Or hyphenate! Or even not get up-and-marriaged at all!