not in Primary anymore

wife as we know it

“Seriously?” I gripe, on what feels like a more and more frequent basis, “doesn’t anyone else see this?”

I rant as I walk with a friend through a bookstore. I groan as a roommate and I watch promos for a new show or movie. And just when I think that I’ve surely seen the end of the craze, it resurfaces, more vicious and obnoxious than ever. Or maybe my tolerance level has reached an all-time low. Either way, I’m not sure how much more of this crap I can feasibly face.

Wife. It’s such a loaded term, with so many expectations and fantasies surrounding it. Any number of images may come to mind, from heroic leader of the home, to working woman extraordinaire, to beaten and battered victim, and even haughty trophy. The word becomes even more complex when we take into account the historical and cultural aspects surrounding it. However, the place I see this reappearing buzz word most is in the media, who seem to be milking wives (pardon the crude imagery) for all they’re worth.

This last week, I have had an unorthodox amount of time on my hands and actually had some to spare for the tube. Whilst allowing myself to be simultaneously horrified and fascinated by the latest episode of “The Briefcase,” I changed the channel whenever a commercial came on.  At one point, I reached the ABC channel and saw that a new show will be premiering on Thursday June 18th- a “gem” called “The Astronaut Wives’ Club,” based on the book by Lily Koppel.

I wouldn’t call it a breaking point per se, but it certainly got me to write this post, now didn’t it? Anyway, what I’m getting at here is what is swiftly becoming my undoing. But instead of saying it outright, I’ll let one of the wives from the show that I observed in the promo do some more exhibition for me first.

“Our husbands all want to go up [into space] first- it’s our job to get them what they want,” she  informs the other wives. Fast forward to her on the phone, demanding to talk to the president (of the U.S., I presume). “Who am I?” she asks, obviously bursting to share with the person on the other end, “I’m an ASTRONAUT’S WIFE!”

And therein lies my beef, my intrinsic struggle- what the title of “wife” has come to mean in the media. It’s like a badge of honor to be worn; an officially unofficial way to place oneself on par with the triumphs and victories of one’s spouse or even a a stand-alone method to claim that a woman has an interesting story to tell due to her wifey status. And while I would say a husband or a wife is doubtlessly instrumental in helping their cherished one reach his or her goals, I wouldn’t support the idea that our spouses’ achievements are our own. If I gave birth to a child, I would say that I had given birth- I can’t imagine many eyebrows would raise at the fact that I hadn’t accredited this act to my significant other. I would certainly say he had been instrumental in making the pregnancy possible and would, in an ideal scenario, be by my side as a comforter/cheerleader during the actual birthing, but to say that he had also given birth wouldn’t be very accurate. That would be all me, baby, all the pushing and the sweating and the dilating- all that fun stuff.

In this same vein, I wouldn’t say that the wife of an astronaut had done the intense training and undergone the same strain as her husband in order to become an actual, bonafide astronaut. She has almost certainly been by his side and supported him every step of the way, but unless she too has gone through the proper channels and put in the time and effort, she is simply putting the “not” in “Astro-not.” And in reality, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this; there’s no shame in being the wife or spouse of someone who is wildly rich, successful, etc. These womens’ stories would probably be very interesting to watch based on the merit of all the things they’ve gone through, both as a support group for each other and as pillars of strength in their homes and communities. But when did our media become so obsessed with focusing on women through the lens of their status as wife? Why are we focusing more on astronaut wives than female astronauts? Or any type of wife, for that matter?

Another show, “The Real Housewives of (D.C., Atlanta, Orange County, take your pick),” follows the lives of several interesting, successful (albeit, sometimes quite catty), women, many who own their own businesses and lead fascinating lives, and yet, they’re still referred to first and foremost as wives, not women.

Although I am not one, being a wife seems just like anything else worth doing- a lot of work with the potential of great rewards for both parties involved. But both women and men are much more than their marital status, and it seems like a shame that in order to tell a woman’s story, it is more often-than-not done through the title that ties her to her husband. Patriarchal much? And to those who might feel inclined to huffiness or outrage at my observations, I ask of you- where are all my riveting books and movies brimming with exciting tales about husbands? “The Time Traveler’s Husband?” “The Bishop’s Husband?” “The Zookeeper’s Husband?” No? Well, at least there’s “Husband Swap.” Which would technically be an accurate title anyway but…  le sigh.

So in honor of all the eye rolling I have done anytime a new novel, show, or film emerges that uses the word “wife” in the title, I have compiled a list below of several examples that come to mind. I’m sure I’m leaving out some juicy ones, so feel free to add to the list in the comments if you spot one I missed.

Wife-themed books, movies, etc. (in no particular order, I’m not a masochist):

*The Good Wife (T.V. show)

*The Astronaut Wives Club (book and T.V. show)

*The Bishop’s Wife (movie)

*The Time Traveler’s Wife (book and movie)

*The Zookeeper’s Wife (book)

*The Real Housewives of (Take your Pick) (T.V. show)

*Army Wives (T.V. show)

*First Wives Club (movie)

*Desperate Housewives (T.V. show)

*The Actor and the Housewife (book)

*How I Met your Mother (a.k.a. “my wife,” T.V. show)

*Silent Wife (book)

*The Astronaut’s Wife (movie)

*A Reliable Wife (book)

*The Lost Wife (book)

*Wife Swap (T.V. show)

Once again, this is not a comprehensive list; I welcome any other additions with great anticipation of additional eye rolls. 🙂

31 Responses to “wife as we know it”

  1. Anonymous

    Ha, if you want to see wives acting like this in real life, hang out around military wives. Especially officers’ wives. Of course there are exceptions, but it’s rampant, and I’ve had to put up with it for 18 years. I can’t tell you the amount of eye rolling I’ve done in this time!

  2. Rebecca

    This is a good point. It is unfortunate that we so often attach a woman’s worth to her husband’s title (and just add “wife”) instead of her own. However, I think it’s a bit deeper of an issue than that.

    In our society, women are expected to put aside their own education and careers to support their husbands’. If they don’t put it aside, then they’re expected to do their own thing (without support) while supporting their husband as well. It starts with helping them through school, but then after school the husbands still need support in their new careers, and by the time he has time to maybe dedicate some support or needs less support, the woman is older than the normal college student or new hire and has a harder time getting into a career. So, many wives are left without any sort of title or any worth to the world outside of their home, which means that if they want to seem or feel important, they’re left with only their husband’s title/career, which they did put a lot of their energies into supporting even if they didn’t do it themselves. Otherwise, they have nothing besides “I’m really good at cleaning and cooking just for my own family!” which society doesn’t value as much.

    The solution is for us to encourage husbands to support their wives in careers and education or to not expect so much support, or for couples to wait until they’re finished their education to get married, but I think we’re a long ways off from that, unfortunately. And because that’s how it is in real life, society is picking that up and putting it in our media, which of course turns back to convincing us in real life that that’s normal and how it should be.

    As for the list of titles you have there, The Good Wife really stuck out to me as an unfortunate name (which I didn’t think too much about before this post, actually) because the protagonist, Alicia (the “good wife”), is so much more than just a wife. She’s a really talented lawyer who did feel obligated to give up her own career to support her husband’s career but the show itself concentrates more on her getting back into her career and supporting herself and her kids more than her husband (who is a manipulative, selfish jerk). I guess half the show is still her supporting her husband, when it’s not about her husband or mother-in-law throwing a fit because she’s not being a perfect wife (after he cheated on her a lot and embezzled a lot of money to cheat on her) but there’s just so much more than her relationship with her husband.

    The only other one I recognize in that list (I’m sorry, I struggle to sit and watch tv shows and movies, sitting down that long concentrating on one thing just isn’t usually possible, I’m not trying to be “too cool” for tv, I promise!) is How I Met Your Mother, and… yeah… the mother’s whole purpose in that is just to be Ted’s “perfect” wife. Frustrating.

    Anyway, sorry, I do agree with your post and liked the points you made and it really made me think, but I just wanted to point out another aspect that I’ve noticed, because I think it really is something much more than just women being silly or subconsciously thinking that their husband is more worth mention than themselves. Sometimes that’s all they have, unfortunately, and it’s not so much their fault as it is the grip the patriarchy still has on our society and lives.

    • Dexter

      Thankfully, I don’t think that “in our society” women are expected to do those things you said. Or I guess I don’t know what you mean by “our society”? Please explain.

      • Rebecca

        I suppose I should have specified North American societal norms rather than the vague phrase “our society” that I used, seeing as I have no experience with European countries besides the media (this post was specifically about how media shows wives, however), so I can’t completely accurately use “Western societal norms” as a whole. Maybe make that Canadian and American societal norms, since I personally have no experience with Mexico either, and they can speak to their own experience better than I. I see that somehow in the minute between your first comment, the one in reply to Sweentasia, and your comment in reply to mine, you forgot what “society” means, seeing as you used practically the same phrase (“as a society”) in your comment as the one you stated you didn’t understand in mine. Either you have some serious memory problems or you weren’t complaining about the vagueness of my use of “society”. Or is it only okay when you use it and not when I do?
        I wasn’t expecting to have to write an essay, complete with definitions, on a blog post, but since apparently that’s the only way I can be taken seriously since it doesn’t line up with your personal lived experience that trumps all.
        In any case, I am so grateful on your behalf that you have never had to endure MRS degree jokes, because those are enraging. How lucky for you that you’ve never had to personally (your comment was a personal anecdote) deal with the pressure of societal norms that put so much more worth on male education than female education. How have you avoided hearing about “trophy wives”? And then to be completely unaware of the expectation of women to be homemakers/stay-at-home moms/wives? Wow. Ignorance really is bliss, isn’t it?
        See, just because something doesn’t happen in every situation (obviously not yours, since you’ve had the privilege of never having to deal with it) doesn’t mean it never happens, nor does it mean that it isn’t prevalent. Just because some people are able to ignore a problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
        Take the phrases stay-at-home mom, working mom, and stay-at-home dad (yes, these exist, and I think that’s great! More men should be stay-at-home dads! Only problem is, they’re looked down upon a lot and there’s a lot of stigma attached to it, because it’s expected that the mother will be the one taking over the majority of the child raising). Where’s working dad? Oh, that’s right; that’s expected. That’s normal. Everyone assumes that “dad” means “working dad”. A mom is either a homemaker who doesn’t work outside of the home or a working mom who does work outside of the home but is also expected to do everything a stay-at-home mom does. A few related articles: and
        Additionally, the comment above mine refers to “military wives”, which is just another form of stay-at-home mom (or working mom, if they work); how often do you hear about military husbands? How often do we define men simply by their relationship to their spouse? And how often do we roll our eyes at the men who have nothing but their spouse’s title to hold to when they’re struggling to make their opinion worth something to those to whom they are speaking?
        And, funny thing, but it’s easier to complete schoolwork as well as focus on your career (and not be as stressed while studying or working) when you don’t have to do as much housework, even when there aren’t kids in the equation. That’s a lot of what I meant by support, by the way: saving them time by doing the cooking and cleaning. and for a few articles on this subject.
        When you look at it within the context of current societal norms, the idea of putting the man’s career makes sense. He is mostly likely going to get paid more (with the possible exception of interracial marriages, as I believe surveys and studies have shown that currently white women are, on average, paid more than men of colour). He is more likely to be promoted (especially since very few if any are going to wonder how he will balance his career with his home life). He is more likely to be criticized for being a stay-at-home parent. That doesn’t mean that we should just accept it, though. We should be trying to change all of these causes. My point in my first comment was that making fun of women because they’ve gotten trapped in the support role doesn’t fix anything and, really, only does harm. Comment on media and societal (and patriarchal) norms, yes, but don’t use it to comment specifically on the women, who are just using dealing with what life has given them.
        Sweetasia in this very article has pointed out how in media women’s roles as wives is highlighted and seen as more important, even when the female characters have careers or educations. Having read this article (I assume you’ve read it, anyway) you have been introduced to how societal norms expect women to put being a wife before anything else in their lives. Just because these characters and shows are fictional does not mean they are irrelevant. Media does not exist in a bubble. It both influences and is influenced by current societal norms.
        But, you know, YOU don’t think that women have to deal with this, so that must be how it really is in real life, right? If we just ignore all our problems and say they don’t exist and say that we’re already equal then magically that’s how everything will be.

  3. Dexter

    I couldn’t agree more, Sweentasia. I am shocked at how many people (women and men) seem to think that we, as a society, have made it and we no longer need to strive towards equality between men and women. I find if disgusting that women are still viewed this way.

  4. sweentasia

    Rebecca, I agree with you- there is definitely more to the problem than women just holding on to their husbands’ titles as their own. The point I tried to make with the post is that patriarchy is SO engrained into us and our society that no one really notices or raises an eyebrow about the double standard. If a bunch of shows were created that mostly focused on men through their title as a husband and what it meant for him to support his wife through all her big-time achievements, I am pretty positive people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. It’s the same with a man taking his wife’s last name or being a stay-at-home dad. People go bananas. And while it would be ideal if husbands and wives could just support each other and do what was best for their families, unfortunately, most of us are so entrenched in tradition and the expectations of others that we go against our own happiness to please others. It’s a problem; a problem that leads us to being put into positions and titles that don’t always suit us or our family’s best interest.

    And Dexter #1, I think society really DOES expect women and men to conform to certain roles, and that’s a shame, because the only roll I want to dedicate myself to is either a Hawaiian or a hoagie. But with the media constantly shoving “ideals” into our faces and reinforcing them with some of the examples I listed, it gets to be a little much. Dexter #2, true that. Nothing says a bigger screw you to the hardworking advocates for change and betterment of the world than those off-handed comments like, “well, men and women are already equal, so what’s the big deal?” or ” well, at least things are better than they used to be.” Right. And my broken leg is about halfway healed, but it’s better than it used to be, so everything is fine, right…?

    And now, I’m kinda curious if both Dexters are the same person… 🙂

    • Rebecca

      Sweentasia, I agree; seeing a show with the husband supporting the wife (The Doctorate Student’s Husband?) would be great, but people would go bananas. I hope some day all of those will be normal. Is there a currently popular show where the man takes the woman’s last name? I think in “How I Met Your Mother” Lily keeps her last name but Marshall still keeps his; that’s the only example I can think of that is even a little bit close. I’m sorry that I didn’t mention that my point about not blaming the wives was mostly because of the comment above about how bad military wives can be. Your post definitely showed how ingrained this is in western society and all of us in it.

      • sweentasia

        I actually had my boyfriend read my post, and while we were talking on the phone, he looked up on IMBD the amount of movies with the titles “Husband” and “Father in them. The problem is, as he went through them, some are applicable to the father/husband as the primary role title paradigm, (Father of the Bride), but some didn’t (there was one called “Oh my Father,” which seemed to be the religious type of father). That might actually make for a good follow-up post, wherein I’d have to dig through a whole bunch of titles, because according to my boy-man, there were a couple hundred titles for both wife/mother and husband/father, but some of them doubled-up and some of them were cross-overs from other categories (ex. dead wife and dying wife). But once again, it would make for some interesting research.

  5. Dexter

    Oh, it’s the same Dexter. Regarding my first comment, I think that may be true in Mormon society, but I don’t think in US society women are expected to put everything aside for their husbands. Well, I suppose it is still much more common than it used to be, but it has changed a lot. (But that’s not enough, it needs to be equal). Of course, I live in a big city. Most of America is probably still that way, and to the extent it is, I agree that it is a huge shame. I was just wondering if “in our society” meant Mormon society or US society or world society. 🙂

    And I hate the idea to put the man through school first and then maybe we’ll see about a career for the wife. Give me a break. Each should equally get a chance to pursue whatever they want to pursue.

  6. Dexter

    Rebecca, I agreed with Sweentasia’s post and I am on her and YOUR side. I hate that women have been mistreated. I hate that women get paid less than men for the same job. I don’t believe that a wife’s career goals should take a backseat to the husband’s. I don’t believe that wives should stay home. I don’t believe a wife should put the husband through school and then consider her own career. Did you not read my other posts? I made this perfectly clear. All I was saying was, THANKFULLY, in many parts of the USA, does not expect a wife to put a husband through school. I have lived all over this country and I’ve only seen that trend in Mormon society. So I was just asking what was meant by “society”. Maybe that belief is more predominant than I am aware of, BUT I AM AGAINST THAT BELIEF, I THINK IT’S NOT ONLY SEXIST, BUT STUPID. EACH COUPLE SHOULD DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM, WITH EACH MEMBER OF THAT COUPLE HAVING EQUAL SAY.

    I am one of the most vocal and ardent pro equality between the genders people that I know, and you attack me like I’m your enemy.


    Thanks for absolutely trashing me even though I am ON YOUR SIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can’t believe how aggressive and condescending your comment was.

    • CDO

      She doesn’t owe you an apology. You responded to her comment in a flippant manner, basically just saying, “I’m right, you’re wrong; winky-face.” Rebecca responded by adding further references to back up her claim, to which you – again – responded with, “I’m right, you’re wrong; winky-face.”

      So far the only evidence you’ve presented on this topic is purely anecdotal; YOU haven’t witnessed this happening outside of Mormonism, so your assumption is that it doesn’t happen. Meanwhile, you’ve had a couple of people show you credible sources saying that these issues DO exist outside of Mormonism, and that this is a more widespread issue that transcends our (relatively) small religious community. You’ve been very dismissive of these sources and those who shared them.

      It’s a fallacy to assume that what happens in Mormonism isn’t happening elsewhere. Even within the Utah bubble, Mormons are just as susceptible to following greater social trends as non-Mormons. Jo Smith and Brigham Young didn’t invent patriarchy.

    • Rebecca

      Just because you personally believe something doesn’t make it so for everyone else. I replied condescendingly because I can’t stand hypocrisy, and pointing out that I used a vague term after using it yourself is 100% hypocritical, and the tone of your post came as completely condescending (poor little girl thinks that women are oppressed in a way that I don’t think they are oppressed and is using the word society in a way that isn’t specific enough for me even though I use it vaguely too! Then, your post from a week ago: poor little Mormon girl, doesn’t understand that women are only oppressed in Mormondom!).
      I had a feeling you hadn’t actually read my post when you responded last week. It seems that you still haven’t actually read it. I linked to a Harvard study. Last I checked, Harvard (the study that was referred to was done by Harvard; check the links) wasn’t run by the church like BYU is, and I am pretty sure Berkeley School of Law (one of the articles is written by a professor who works there) isn’t either. You insisted that my lived experience–which is NOT in Mormon “society”–and the lived experience of many other women is impossible because you personally haven’t experienced it.
      Good for you thinking that it’s not right! Have a cookie. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. And you are still saying that apparently none of what I referred to happens outside of the Mormon church. Just because things are changing doesn’t mean that they are different; stay-at-home moms are STILL the norm. Trophy wives are NOT a Mormon thing. Single mothers struggle with poverty because they are not as well educated as the men who divorced them. Military wives (which is mostly what I was originally commenting on, seeing the anonymous comment making fun of military wives who cling to their husbands’ titles) are not only Mormon.
      Sweentasia’s whole post was on TV shows that reflect women being referred to as wives rather than their own titles, and I specifically pulled out The Good Wife because that’s one that I’ve actually seen. A major plot point in The Good Wife is that Alicia had to push her career aside to be a stay-at-home mom (which, once again, is NOT just a Mormon thing). The Good Wife is not a Mormon show and none of the characters are Mormon (actually, Alicia’s an athiest). It’s an American show. I’m pretty sure most of the media Sweentasia has referred to are not Mormon.
      I’m not apologizing for not allowing the experiences of many women to be erased by someone who thinks that just thinking that it’s over and everyone is equal is going to fix everything (as you said: “Thankfully, I don’t think that “in our society” women are expected to do those things” because if you don’t think it, it’s not true?) . Good for you for believing in equality. I never said that YOU believed that any of those things are right; I just informed you (and backed myself up with articles) that is what many women in reality have to go through. Now stop trying to erase women’s lived experiences and stop trying to shut them up because you think you’re smarter than they are (insinuating that I must be using the wrong definition of a word, for example;). Maybe try not being so vocal and let women have a say every once in awhile instead of speaking over them and insisting that you’re better at this feminism stuff than they are. As you said, NOT COOL!
      I would still like to know how you’ve avoided MRS degree jokes, the pay gap, and hearing about “trophy wives” (because those are all examples of how and why men’s education and careers are more valued by the western world than women’s). I would like to live in that imaginary dream world instead of this harsh reality where, even if women should be treated equal, we aren’t treated equally yet.

      • Dexter

        I said all along women aren’t treated equally yet and that that is a tragedy and that they should be treated equally and I get attacked?!?!?

        You latched onto one phrase of mine and attacked me mercilessly. I even said, before your rant, “Regarding my first comment, I think that may be true in Mormon society, but I don’t think in US society women are expected to put everything aside for their husbands. Well, I suppose it is still much more common than it used to be, but it has changed a lot. (But that’s not enough, it needs to be equal). Of course, I live in a big city. Most of America is probably still that way, and to the extent it is, I agree that it is a huge shame.”

        You view me as an enemy when I’m in full support of equality for women.

        I wish you weren’t so swallowed up in hate that you could see that. I agreed with you and you yelled at me. What is your problem?

  7. Dexter


    I love how you seem to be able to read minds. I never said anything in a flippant way? Who do you think you are interpreting my feelings? We all know tone can be easily misread in written form. I never had that tone. I never said I was right and that she was wrong. I agreed with her! Where do you get this from?

    • CDO

      Yep. I’m a mind reader. That’s me. And yes, you did come off as flippant.

      Merriam-Webster defines the word flippant as, “lacking proper respect or seriousness.” Your initial response to Rebecca absolutely lacked proper respect and seriousness – you just dismissed her post/perspective/lived experiences because you personally haven’t witnessed these issues. Put frankly, you’re a man. You wouldn’t experience these issues yourself, because men don’t have to navigate patriarchy like women do.

      Rebecca said: “In our society, women are expected to put aside their own education and careers to support their husbands’. If they don’t put it aside, then they’re expected to do their own thing (without support) while supporting their husband as well. […] So, many wives are left without any sort of title or any worth to the world outside of their home, which means that if they want to seem or feel important, they’re left with only their husband’s title/career, which they did put a lot of their energies into supporting even if they didn’t do it themselves. Otherwise, they have nothing besides “I’m really good at cleaning and cooking just for my own family!” which society doesn’t value as much.”

      You responded with: “Thankfully, I don’t think that “in our society” women are expected to do those things you said.”

      When Rebecca responded to you, providing references to back up her position, you just doubled-down on your position while claiming to be in total agreement with hers. Do you agree with her or not? You can’t reasonably say, “I’m totes on your side, like all the way, 100%” then proceed to effectively tell her how your lived experiences trump hers, and that she’s wrong as a result, and expect that to go over well.

      And here’s where you did exactly what I described in the above paragraph: “Rebecca, I agreed with Sweentasia’s post and I am on her and YOUR side. I hate that women have been mistreated. I hate that women get paid less than men for the same job. I don’t believe that a wife’s career goals should take a backseat to the husband’s. […]THANKFULLY, in many parts of the USA, does not expect a wife to put a husband through school. I have lived all over this country and I’ve only seen that trend in Mormon society.”

      In other words, “I totes agree with you, dudette, and we’re on the same team for realz, but my personal experiences haven’t reflected what you’re describing, so it must not really a problem.” You have to see that this is problematic. Both of your responses read like, “I’m right, you’re wrong; winky-face.” You say you agree with Rebecca, and that you’re totally on her side, but then you use your own lived experiences as a reason why she’s wrong. YOU don’t think the expectation is there, therefore NO ONE should.

      In regards to why you feel everyone’s gaining up on you, re-read Rebecca’s comment from yesterday, assuming you’ve read it already. She tells you exactly why she reacted the way she did. No one here owes you an apology. You said it yourself that tone is hard to convey through text. You may not have intended to come off as sarcastic and dismissive (aka, flippant), but you did.

      • Dexter

        That’s how you interpreted it. You are looking for a fight. Learn how to read.

  8. Dexter

    The record is here for all to read. I would love to have someone review it and tell me how I deserve all this vitriol.

    The record clearly shows the following:

    1) I asked what was meant by “in our society”?

    You mocked me for asking this.

    2) I agreed that in Mormon society, this is prevalent. I clarified that it is also present in US society, but that in my opinion it is not as prevalent there as it used to be (thankfully) and not as prevalent there as it is in Mormon society. I never claimed to have some deep knowledge about this subject, I admitted my knowledge was limited to my personal experiences. My personal experiences, however are not miniscule. I was raised in a very conservative LDS family but in a very liberal area of the country. It breaks my heart that my mother didn’t work because the leaders of the church, at the time, made it clear to her that women should stay at home. I think she (and my childhood) would have been much happier if she had a career of her own, or at least if it could have been her choice, instead of feeling guilted by the church to not work. I have lived in Detroit, St. Louis, Virginia, Connecticut (several years near New York City and a few years near Hartford), Utah, Las Vegas, Newport Beach and Phoenix. In my opinion, things have changed for the better (in and out of LDS culture) but there still is tons to do. I said this above.

    3) I made it clear that it is awful that women are still treated in the way described in the post and in comments. I admitted it still occurs. But does anyone disagree that it used to be worse? I’m not saying that makes it ok, but progress is something, I think. Are we not headed in the right direction?

    I made it clear repeatedly I hate that women aren’t treated equally and I am doing everything I can to move things towards equality.

    Yet, I have been treated like an enemy. Why?

    I’m on your side. I don’t understand the vitriol towards me.

    • Rebecca

      1) You asked me to clarify what I meant by “in our society” after using the exact same phrase and not clarifying it yourself, meaning that you obviously know what it means and felt that it was specific enough when you used it. Then, when I clarified, you stated that “I think that may be true in Mormon society, but I don’t think in US society women are expected to put everything aside for their husbands.”. Yeah, you followed it up with “I suppose” otherwise, but still insisted on clarifying that you think it’s only in Mormon society even after I provided plenty of evidence that it isn’t to the point where you needn’t “suppose” any more. If you’re going to insist that someone is being too vague, then don’t use the same word in the exact same way yourself. And after using the word, showing that you know what it means, saying “Or I guess I don’t know what you mean by “our society”?” comes off as “I know how to use it correctly, so my not knowing what you mean by it means you are using it wrong”.

      2)You never clarified that it is present in US society. You doubled down on how you think that it isn’t (but “suppose” maybe it is somewhat, but not as bad as it used to be! … I never said it was as bad as it used to be? You also started it with saying that you think it’s only part of Mormon “society”). I also never replied to that post (on purpose). You came back a week later demanding an apology. You also never said that there was tons to do.

      3) You said in your original comment to Sweentasia “. I am shocked at how many people (women and men) seem to think that we, as a society, have made it and we no longer need to strive towards equality between men and women” and then turned around and did EXACTLY THAT by saying “Thankfully, I don’t think that “in our society” women are expected to do those things you said.” That is what I was originally replying to. So, yeah, I called you out on your behaviour. Just because you say you’re totally against that behaviour doesn’t mean you’re above being called out for it. You also asked me to “please explain” so I wrote a long post, including research to back up my point, to show that women ARE expected to do these things in our society. I answered your question. I defended my position without just saying “well I think it is” to someone whose only proof that I was incorrect was basically “well I don’t think so”. I also called you out on saying one thing but turning around and doing the opposite in reply to me. You also didn’t admit that it still occurs, you said that you suppose that it might still occur, maybe, but you haven’t seen it (even after I gave you many examples, which leads me to still believe that you’ve only read the first paragraph of my first reply to you).

      Good for you for doing everything in your power. I don’t know what you do in real life, I only know what you’ve said in these comments. I just pointed out how it is everywhere around us, and you still insisted that you can’t see it. And telling someone that you don’t “think” one part of oppression isn’t a problem after saying that you think that that people thinking that we’re already equal and don’t see oppression is a problem is as clear as mud. You said one thing but then acted a different way. That is not making your position clear. You’re even still saying that I should be focusing on how things are better? Why? What good does that do when I’m talking about something that should be improved? Why would you redirect me to only concentrate on how it used to be worse? And yes, you said in your first comment that you think there’s still tons to do… but then in reply to my comment about not blaming the women for this happening (such as by making fun of military wives), but instead to blame the expectations put on them, you said you don’t think that the expectations exist. How do you not see that you did the exact thing that you say you are shocked by? And because you did the exact thing that you say you are shocked by, I put a lot less weight behind how shocked you really are.

      You still haven’t admitted that the expectation of wives to support their husbands is present in US culture, you’ve just stated that you’ve admitted it. I mean: ” All I was saying was, THANKFULLY, in many parts of the USA, does not expect a wife to put a husband through school. I have lived all over this country and I’ve only seen that trend in Mormon society.” You were, just yesterday, STILL saying that in many parts of the USA this doesn’t happen. You were STILL saying that in most places the fight is over in this case and we’re already equal. I’m saying that I’m not going to be thankful for that because it’s not true. You said that after I included a link to a Harvard study as well as articles from non-Mormons, but still can only see it in Mormon society somehow. The last comment that I am currently replying to is the closest you’ve come to admitting that this is present in western culture as a whole by saying that you’ve already admitted that.

      And, by the way, you’re not being treated like an enemy. I educated you and pointed out your hypocrisy. I wasn’t even going to bother further, since I’d provided you with plenty of information, until you demanded an apology for hurting your feelings. There’s been no insisting that you be kicked out or for everyone to rally around and destroy you, just trying to convince you that women are, actually, oppressed by the expectation that they put their husbands’ needs before their own, since you stated that you don’t think that expectation exists.

      I’m sorry that your mom was unhappy. My mum is happier while working too, from seeing her in both roles, and even when she worked I wish she could have put herself first. My point, which you disagreed with, is that it’s not the fault of the women, nor just the fault of the church, but the culture and societal norms as a whole.

  9. Dexter

    You need to stop educating me and educate yourself. Start by learning how to read.

  10. Dexter

    Sorry for the learn to read comments. I wish I could erase it but I can’t. I felt insulted 50 times by you both, but I still should not have said that. My fault. But you both have said that I said things or believe things that I never said and I do not believe.

    If you are willing to let me start over, I would like to say this:

    Of course male dominated society existed before the church ever did. I agree.

    Can we agree, though, that today, the problem of women being expected to put aside their own careers for the sake of their husbands’ is more common in Mormon society than in US society? Do you two think that? I do. I think US society has moved in the right direction regarding women’s rights (and racial issues, and its treatment of the LGBT community) but that Mormon society ever so slowly follows. This is why I think it is worse in Mormon society than in US society (the same way the church was slow to give blacks the priesthood and is slow to come around on LGBT issues).

    I agree that this problem exists in Mormon society and US society and it is a problem. I am now asking, how prevalent is it? In Mormon society, do you think this is occurring in 100% of couples? 80%? 50%? Is it moving in the right direction?

    In US society, do you think this is occurring in 100% of couples? 80? 50? Is it moving in the right direction?

    • Rebecca for some research and other articles done on the USA at least. Canada is a lot like the USA when it comes to this.

      Thank you for acknowledging and seeing that this exists outside of Mormon culture. Now we can be on the same page.

      It’s not about the percentage of couples. It’s about the mindset: the ingrained patriarchy (ingrained in our minds and in our culture). Even with a couple who sits down and considers what’s best for them as a couple, they’re not going to be able to deny that the male’s education is going to be valued more as a whole. Even if they don’t say that aloud or realize it that is going to influence all their decisions. And even if the wife is supported, she’s still not going to be supported as much by those around her. Take a couple where the father is the homemaker and the mother is the one with the career, for example. They’re both going to be looked down upon because that is not the norm. Things are going to be harder for them because of that. And then there’s the fact that they were both raised in a patriarchal society, meaning that the woman was most likely raised doing more chores and will more likely have more guilt if things don’t get done. She’s also going to know how to do more of the chores or taking care of the children, while the man in the relationship may have a bit of a learning curve. Societal norms will influence them no matter how forward thinking they are. A couple may even decide for both to concentrate on school at the same time, but because of the ingrained patriarchy, because of how they were raised and everything around that that influences how we think and act, it’s more likely than a wife will end up extending herself into a supporting role (plus it’s difficult to be working full time and going to school full time as well as doing your own cleaning and cooking; people do it, but it’s not ideal, especially once children enter the equation). There aren’t exact percentages because it’s not really something that’s measurable, until you get into the details of how many hours each are spending on chores (and childcare in some cases). There will also be couples who are somewhat aware and try to do better, but still fall into following current societal norms regarding gender roles and education.

      So, yes, there are some couples who do not follow this norm, but it is still a problem as a whole that needs to be addressed, even for those couples who choose the more difficult way (and it is more difficult) and make sure the wife gets the support she needs. Individual couples won’t help a lot with changing (a little, but not much), especially when those around them react so badly to someone acting differently than is expected. First we need to make it seem normal to everyone (as well as get rid of certain more physical difficulties, such as the pay gap and men being more likely to be promoted, since a couple does need to consider income).

      This is why it’s important for media to change, not just so that women aren’t in supporting roles but so that we can see men occasionally in supporting roles (while not being called the babysitter nor making fun of how hopeless they are at supporting/housekeeping/childcare). Once people start getting used to that it will slowly change how we think, which will change behaviour as well.

  11. Serrape

    I really hate all the secular media portrayals of women as trophy wives or which otherwise imply that a woman’s value is somehow based on something other than individual achievment or inherent worth. That’s why I support, affiliate with, attend and (presumably, based on the blog title) give 10% of my income to an organization that boasts as its 21st century Title of Liberty a document that literally says women’s highest worth (not to mention her heavenly ordained job) is wife and motherhood and instructs women to stay in the bedroom and kitchen where at all possible, and whose highest religious ceremony quite literally requires women to bow their heads and take an oath to obey their husbands. There are no words to describe the temerity required for such a person to dare accuse anyone else of hypocrisy. Shame on anyone, male or female, who would pay lip service to the gender equality you so vociferously champion here, while your true energies go to supporting the suppression and oppression of women, minorities and those of alternate lifestyles in virtually every forum and context. Unless you all are covertly middle-aged white males, I think it’s clear who are the true hypocrites here. You’re the modern day equivalent of the “Young Black KKK”. But sure, we’re all dying to hear what you have to say on the topic of equality.

  12. mungagungadin

    I know Dexter from another forum. Unfortunately, his written behavior in this thread does not do his other ‘nacle participation credit. He’s a good guy who expressed himself poorly in the first comment here, then doubled down by asking for an apology/cookies in later comments.

    Dexter, your original comment at the top was flippant and dismissive. This constituted a denial of this “wife” culture that is not just in Mormon-land.

    Part of me thinks that you tried to draw a hard line between the two “worlds” to, in your mind, help Mormon girls decide to GO where the grass is, in-your-mind greener in the only in some places and special moments less demeaning non-Mormon field. Truth: wife-culture is in both fields, it is just ***worse and more demeaning*** in our Mormon field. Wife-culture, the strategic distillation of women who live and achieve through the lives of others, is very much an everywhere kind of problem. The writer of the blogpost is correct, and those who called you out on your dismissiveness in your first comment had no obligation to go backwards to older comments in other threads in order to read your mood/meaning and fabricate an average before responding to your comment. All they should do is respond to your comment. Because you kicked back at their first push and choosing to walk backwards yourself, you got your stuffing knocked out more.

    They left you breathing, though, and I think it is a good time to dust off and try again, another time. There really are no cookies for allies. It is just a place to be whole with each other, see eye to eye when our whole culture places us in power-tiers. It is its own reward.

    I know you meant well.

  13. Dexter

    Thank you.

    For the record, I wasn’t trying to say Mormons should head to non-Mormon land. I poorly expressed what I was trying to say. I subsequently asked questions that you all can answer if you want.

    Your pal,


  14. Dexter

    You were both so eager and motivated and energized to attack me..but when I ask a respectful question, you can’t bring yourselves to respond?

    • Rebecca

      I replied on Sunday. It’s in moderation, I suspect because it started with some hyperlinks. You’ll have to wait, because I’m not going to spam just to try to get a comment through. Take it up with the mods.


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