Guys, We Know You Mean Well When You Say We’re “Wifey Material” But It’s Demeaning

My boyfriend told me that he considers me to be “wifey material” and I don’t think he really expected the strong reaction I had. It actually surprised me how much I hated being referred to as worthy of a guy putting a ring on my finger, but I know I can’t be alone in that. Being “wifey material” isn’t a compliment, it’s an insult — here’s why:

  1. It’s 2017, not the 1960s. Slow down, Don Draper. Last time I checked, being considered “wifey material” by a man is just straight-up sexist. I know you mean well and just innocently letting me know that you think that I would butter your bread just right, but consider how what you’re saying could make me feel in some way lesser than you, or like I only exist to be a guy’s prize. No thanks.
  2. How do you know I even want to get married? The majority of my friends are either not sure they want to get married or have sworn against it. Therefore, not only is being “wifey material” outdated, it also doesn’t apply to most women of this age. I’m too busy making an impact on the world to worry about how good of a wife I would be (and I certainly wouldn’t marry someone who wouldn’t make a good husband, either).
  3. All of my amazing qualities don’t exist to make you or any guy want to marry me. Attempting to compact all of my amazing qualities as just “marriage-worthy” makes it seem like I am who I am because that’s what will get a guy’s attention; like I should feel lucky that you’d deign to spend your life with me and I should just go along with it because that’s what every girl wants, right?  Wrong.
  4. I’m not here to please anyone. That’s great that you think I would make a good wife one day, particularly yours, but I’m not here to please you or anyone else. I love being with you and am happy you feel the same, but we need to be good partners to each other by being true to who we are, not being who we think the other wants us to be in order to stay in each other’s lives.
  5. Being a wife is pretty much my worst nightmare right now. Thinking about being someone’s wife is messing with my mind, to be perfectly honest. I have a hard enough time running my own life smoothly on a daily basis, so thinking of adding someone else into the mix 24/7 is kind of terrifying.
  6. You’re basically implying that I would make a good servant. I know you probably didn’t think of it this way, but telling me that I would make a good wife is a low-key insult. It sounds innocent enough, but what you’re really saying is, “Man, you’d be so good at doing all the things I think a wife should do for her husband,” and that’s kinda weird for me to think about.
  7. I’m worth so much more than just being someone’s wife. Marriage can be great if it’s with the right person, and I’m certainly not ruling it out one day. However, it’s not my main goal in life; in fact, it’s not a goal at all. I’d love to have an equal partnership that lasts a lifetime, but of all the roles I dream of playing in life, being your wife (or anyone else’s) isn’t really at the top of the list — or on the list at all, really.
  8. I won’t even necessarily be a great wife. Sure, in the moment it can be nice to hear, but the fact that you approve of me because you think I have some qualities that would make me a great spouse kind of stresses me out, and it’s honestly a little disheartening. What if I’m actually the worst wife in the world? Would you still love me anyway? Now I can’t be so sure…
  9. It discounts everything else I’ve worked for. I don’t care about being a wife at all. It’s not even on my radar. If I ever was one, though, I see it coming about by mutual decision because it makes sense for us, not because some guy finally decided I’m worth the investment of a diamond ring. The things that I actually appreciate you complimenting me on are things that I actually work for, like my job, my art, my relationships, my personality — you know, the stuff that matters.
  10. You’re only reinforcing what the media tells women every day. Now I have two talking heads to thank for my low self-esteem. Oh wait, can’t forget my mom — make that three. When you “compliment” me on being “wifey-material,” it’s only adding to everything I’ve ever heard or seen through the media on how women should act. Plus, there’s the old idea that you only have worth if you’re married with children. Don’t add fuel to the fire. Let me be me.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.