Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Disapearing "Wife"

This article on the disappearance of the term "wife" has a few noteworthy paragraphs:
"The women's movement was not the only thing to muddle the word. Pretty much every social trend in the past 50 years has left its own ding, from the drop in the marriage rate to the rise in the divorce rate, to the upward creep in the age of first-time brides and the major leap in the percentage of mothers who are not married when they give birth."
What's funny is the author blames social trends as being additional causes to the demise of "wife", but really every "social trend" she mentions is directly related to the women's movement/feminism. 
  • Drop in marriage rate. Check.
  • Rise in divorce. Check.
  • Upward age of first time brides. Check.
  • Out of wedlock birth (tactfully worded "mothers who are not married when they give birth", which is more palatable to a woman's sensibilities. Check.
It would be too much to admit that all these things are related or offshoots of feminism; rather, they are just trends that presumably came out of nowhere.
"What does it mean to be a good wife?" she asked. "I don't know what that means. I know what it means to be a good mother. When you have a baby, it's very clear what you have to do -- you have to keep the baby alive and love it ... It's hard to neglect a baby, if you're not crazy and evil. It's easy to neglect a marriage; you have to work at it and it's easier to forget that you have to work at it."
This is a very telling paragraph that captures how clueless women are today about what it means to be a good wife. 

The article goes on to say that women think motherhood is easier than marriage, which is no surprise that women would gravitate towards the easier role (perhaps why out of wedlock birth or aka "choice moms" are popular).  Also in being a mother there is a certain level of power and authority that comes with the job, which is not common in being a wife--that is--'wife version 1.0' where wives naturally assume a more submissive role. You can boss and direct your children, but not necessarily so with a husband.

15 comments:

Zorro said...

This blog should be mandatory reading for all American females ages 16-30. After that they're a lost cause.

sestamibi said...

In her book "Heterophobia", Daphne Patai related an anecdote about a woman college professor who often referred to her "partner" in class discussion. Apparently this was done in order to let her students conclude that she was in some kind of live-in relationship, most likely of a lesbian nature...

... at least until she was "outed" as being married to the same man for over 25 years, with children from him to boot. Such scandal!!

Jennifer said...

Motherhood's easier than marriage? That'll be the day.

Simon Grey said...

So, do you think that the assertion that "motherhood is now easier than marriage" is true (because of, say, how the government serves as a surrogate father) or false (because, say, husbands make motherhood easier)?

BTW, it's good to see you post again. I was beginning to wonder if you'd disappeared.

More Anon said...

It's amazing how consistent gender neutrality has become. It is enforced not only through word processors. There are requirements for gender neutrality in college writing classes, corporate HR laws and even in the party rulebook for the Democrats.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the AP stylebook.

Laura G. Robins said...

Simon,
Either way it makes sense that motherhood is easier cause either government or fathers are helping. With wifehood,especially being a good wife or prov. 31 wife, who exactly is helping wives with that? The older women are not largely teaching the younger women; and even those who do, offer a feminist version of being a good wife since they come from 60s feminism. Plus, even if women want to know and embrace being what being a good wife is, I think largely they would not want to hear it as it does not sync with their modern sensibilities.

P.S.
Don't worry...I'm not going anywhere. I just can't post as much as I use to because I have a little one now.

Anonymous said...

"Also in being a mother there is a certain level of power and authority that comes with the job, which is not common in being a wife--that is--'wife version 1.0' where wives naturally assume a more submissive role."

If a more submissive role was something that wives assumed "naturally", then human societies would not have needed to go to great lengths in order to enforce it; nor would wives care much for the power and authority that goes with the job of being a mother as that would cast her into a role that would be "unnatural" for her to assume.

Elspeth @ Breathing Grace said...

You might find this interesting:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46438194/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times/#.T0FlCIExhZ4

Clearly women have decided that motherhood is easier than marriage.

Jennifer said...

Laura, you're a MOM? My gosh, congratulations!!

papabear said...

Congratulations! And thanks be to God!

Simon Grey said...

I've been working on a post about the failures of older women in teaching the younger women. It hasn't really been going anywhere for a while because I don't feel like putting in the energy to study it out. It's an interesting concept, though, to see just how much has broken down in a single generation.

Also, congratulations on your new one. I trust that things are going well with you and your little one?

CL said...

If a more submissive role was something that wives assumed "naturally", then human societies would not have needed to go to great lengths in order to enforce it; nor would wives care much for the power and authority that goes with the job of being a mother as that would cast her into a role that would be "unnatural" for her to assume.

There are several things wrong with this line of reasoning. First and foremost is that certain people (and a certain unsavoury character – I’ll let you figure out who that is) have gone to great lengths to subvert the natural order. Until you understand this, you will not understand why the assertion whence the rest of your ill-founded claims come is wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how organized religion brainwashes people into believing that perpetuating the tendencies brought about by our fallen state (i.e., the "natural order" of things, as defined and enforced by humankind) is something to which we should aspire.

"(and a certain unsavoury character – I’ll let you figure out who that is)"

Ah, that must be that same unsavoury character that teaches and has taught men to "worship their own will as such a grand thing that it is actually the law for another rational being. There is nothing which men so easily learn as this self-worship..."

I understand this quite well, and I understand that Christ tried to teach us, by words and example, that we ought to be upraising, rather than subjugating, those who we "naturally" would want to "lord it over".

Anonymous said...

That linked article included a piece, wanting a wife. Many years ago, in the early days of feminism, I went on Saturday to the local mall.There was a woman I knew who was part of a feminist team leafleting the customers of the mall with photocopies of that article.

Many years later, I learned from a mutual friend that while she was out there whining how she wished she had a wife, her second husband was home, taking care of his step-kids and doing the housework. That is, she had a wife at home already

Anonymous age 69

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's a good one, Anonymous age 69. Kinda puts me in mind of Phyllis Schlafly who never once mentioned how she had "domestic help" (though she would never have called them "nannies") to raise her children and take care of her home whilst she was busy chastising women for pursuing careers rather than raising their own children.