Wife still equals mother for many

// 29 January 2007

Charlie Brooker, the irreverent and hilarious Guardian TV critic, is not in search of a wife. But, he reports in a column today, everyone else thinks he should get one, to sew his buttons on, keep him tidy, organise his bills and generally run his life.

Three times in the past fortnight, women unfamiliar to me have broached the subject with a blend of amusement and pity.

Two weeks ago I was on the phone to the bank, absent-mindedly bemoaning my own uselessness at opening bills until it’s too late. “You need a wife,” chuckled the woman at the other end.

It’s particularly depressing that it seems to be women reinforcing this idea that a wife should take on the role of domestic drudge/organiser/mother for the person she’s married too.

As one commenter, irisstorm, points out:

The most worrying thing abbout all the unsolicited advice is surely the extent to which the great British public still thinks of a wife as a kind of unpaid seamstress/secretary/cleaner. Why shouldn’t a married man pay the dry cleaner to sew on his buttons, and why should it be assumed that this is somehow the job of the woman back home?

Lipgloss adds:

This column reminds me to be glad I’m a lesbian. Marriage should be a partnership of equals, not the equivalent of adopting a child.

And who can be surprised that these men are still unattached:

One of my friends, living at the time in a communal house of single males, separated males and divorced males, said you know who the wife is…the one who cleans the toilets.

Photo by Big Fat Rat, shared under a Creative Commons license

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