At first, I was surprised when my boyfriend proposed because I’m not the kind of woman most guys consider to be “wife material.” Turns out, I didn’t have to change myself to get married to my dream guy, and neither should you!
It gives the impression that being controllable is a good trait for women. I don’t think I need to tell you how messed up that is, but a lot of men still want women who will cede power to them and be submissive. I’m not talking about being submissive in the fun roleplay way, either—they actually want to be in control all the time and in every single room of the house, not just the bedroom. That doesn’t work for me, and no woman should have to settle for such an antiquated relationship dynamic in 2018.
It discourages women from having their own careers and professional identities. Back in the 1950s, a woman’s value was based on her husband. While her husband had the money, the career, and the property, all the wife had was her husband. I couldn’t have lived during that time; I’d be bored to death and completely unsatisfied with my life if I didn’t have my career and accomplishments. I’m glad my husband appreciates my hustle and our financial equality; real men aren’t intimidated by successful women.
It implies that all women should want to be homemakers. I don’t think it defies my hardcore feminism to enjoy cooking; after all, food is a necessity and I have fun creating new and interesting dishes. However, preparing every single meal for my husband and doing all the household chores is not in my job description and it never will be. He’s a grown man and I’m not his mother, so we both contribute equally. I know women who can’t cook at all but are still happily married because their husbands aren’t too macho to make their own sandwich or cook dinner for the family.
It perpetuates the insulting myth that women are nothing more than baby factories. The whole structure of the old-fashioned marriage with the submissive housewife is based on the expectation that the wife’s job will be taking care of the kids. In case it hasn’t been clarified enough, not all of us want to have kids. I thought I wanted kids for a while, but I ended up changing my mind when I met the right guy and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by choosing not to procreate. In fact, I’m more excited about my future now that I’ve closed that door, and I know it’s a relief for my husband too.
It sets unrealistic expectations for a woman’s personality. Guys don’t even know how often they do this and how offensive it is. The “wife material” myth portrays women as always happy, and this is why guys still harass women by telling us to smile when we’re deep in thought or legitimately worried about something. Heaven forbid we use our tiny little lady brains to think instead of just mindlessly smiling for the pleasure of every man around! Sorry, not sorry. Luckily for me, my husband isn’t a condescending a-hole like that.
It means that those of us with sharp edges are harshly judged. I’m sarcastic as hell, I have no filter, and I spend a lot of time making fun of my husband because that’s just my personality. He’s a good sport about it and jabs right back, so we have fun. It’s just another characteristic that makes me the opposite of traditional “wife material” though. My personality would be seen as thoroughly disrespectful and offensive if I lived 60 years ago, so I’m very lucky to be a modern woman.
There’s no way I would ever dress up to hang around the house. It makes absolutely no sense to me to wear nice clothes and shoes inside my own home just to impress my husband. I’ll dress up when we’re going somewhere nice; when I’m home, it’s pajama time. I just laugh when I see those pictures of old-fashioned housewives wearing fancy dresses and aprons to clean their houses. If that were still a requirement of marriage, I would have said no.
“Wife material” is just one big cliché and it needs to go away. If we can’t eradicate such an antiquated term, it should at least be redefined based on modern, realistic relationships. Marriage itself has been redefined along the way, but somehow the standards that stereotypically make women “worthy” of that honor are still outdated. I refused to change who I am and I learned that there are guys out there who don’t have such unrealistic and demeaning expectations; I just had to be picky until I found the right one.
Women really do deserve better. We’ve come a long way in the last century. Our foremothers put up quite the fight so we could have the right to vote, the right to own property, better career opportunities, and equal pay (we’re still working on that one), but there will always be men trying to derail our progress because they don’t want to give up their preconceived notions that they’re somehow entitled to dictate how we dress, act, think and feel. Meeting my husband and discovering that not all guys are like that gives me hope that future generations will have more respect for women than past ones.
Wife material is in the eye of the beholder. According to tradition, I’m definitely not “wife material.” I’m strong, career-driven, sarcastic, and I don’t want to ever have kids. Tradition can be won over by perspective though. According to my husband, wife material is me: strong, independent, sarcastic, and a big fan of birth control. I like his definition of wife material; it doesn’t even require air quotes because his definition is real, modern, and respectful.
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