The LA Times published an article yesterday about how a contingent of women have developed an online community dedicated to blogging about being a good wife:
“There are bloggers like Kathi Browne, a forty-something mother of three in Maryville, Tenn., who stopped working in the corporate world after her third child was born and summarizes her philosophy at Wingspouse.com as an alternative to the traditional career choices some executive spouses are forced to make. Rather than requiring a choice between a career or family, the wingspouse career unites the two — creating a partnership between the executive and the spouse, and leading to mutual success.
A wingspouse can help analyze an executive’s ideas without fear of reprisals — or theft. A wingspouse might accompany his or her partner to a speaking event and help work the room — or simply stand back and read people to see if the message is getting across. Or provide comfort on the home front. “Another wingspouse shared her secret to making her husband feel settled sooner,” Browne blogged last December. “She hangs the same plaque in the front entrance of every home they move to.”
A wingspouse can be a man or a woman, but Browne acknowledges that she believes she is writing primarily for women.
Kathi Brown’s idea is interesting because technically it could fall to either spouse, depending on who was working at the time, but some of the other bloggers were more concerned with wives wearing the right clothing, keeping the house up, and cooking.
“ … Taryn Cox, who isn’t afraid to put it all out there, unabashedly writing about stereotypically uxorial topics ranging from themed baby showers and creating her own cocktail-style dresses to the art of ironing a newspaper and how to clean with vodka at a blog she has titled taryncoxthewife.com. … Her blog, where the word ‘wife’ is written in capital letters, includes rules for domestic bliss (WIFE rule No. 17: ‘The perfect WIFE should shave her legs every day or every other day.’ WIFE rule No. 14: “The perfect WIFE should have the most beautiful and neat handwriting. This always comes in handy when writing Thank You notes, Addressing Cards, and Sharing Recipes”).”
I am a feminist who believes that a woman should be able to live her life in which ever way she pleases, whether that includes being a stay-at-home mom or working as a commercial truck driver. However, I am obviously against the notion that there should be ‘WIFE rules’ or that a husband should be absolved of all household tasks (such as writing his own thank you notes). Plus, we even haven’t gotten started on how women from a low socio-economic status does not get the option to stay home – she has to work to support her family – so what kind of message is that sending her when staying at home is so idealized?
“Not surprisingly, feminists are not amused by the notion that women’s roles in society are dictated in any way. “They want to live in this perfectly art-directed world,” says Michele Kort, senior editor at Ms. “It’s an illusion that if you have all the right clothes and right accessories that your life will be perfect. This is a throwback to stuff like [Marabel Morgan's 1974 self-help book] ‘The Total Woman’ … that a wife should be subservient and be all about making a man comfortable and having the perfect household … for the women of the ’50s, it wasn’t so happy-making.”
Are the 1950’s a time we want to romanticize? If so, is blogging about being a “good wife” the best way to do that? Thoughts?