“You have a good job, own your own spot, cook and look good, and you’re educated. You’re wife material.”
That’s the weak line a man hit me with assuming that he was flattering me. He wasn’t. Instead, I was disgusted. Partly because I was sick and tired of hearing “wifey” or the phrase “wifey material.” Who said that because a woman cooks, has a degree, and a stable job she should be considered “suitable” for a serious partner and someone who doesn’t have all three isn’t? “Wife material” is similar to many other baseless forms of terminology that should be retired immediately.
At first it was cool. It was a catchy way for a man to say that a woman was much more than just a side chick, someone to simply kick it with, or a one-night stand. To be a “wifey” meant that a woman was worth wining and dining. It was something many women aspired to be, even me at one time.
But it’s 2016. You can morph “wifey” into “wife material” and it still isn’t an accolade.
While I’ve been told I was overreacting by several men because I now take offense to the word, it doesn’t change my displeasure. It’s not necessarily the phrase that I despise, but what it stands for: a checklist of criteria by men that women should hope to live up to if they want to get married (with no guarantee that will actually happen). Cook, clean, look good, lady in the streets and freak in the sheets. You know, all of the things men say will make a good woman. I am actually sick of hearing it.
When I challenged the aforementioned man about his choice of terminology, he said exactly what I thought he’d say: It was a compliment.
“So what if I didn’t have a good job, wasn’t educated, and couldn’t cook?” I asked.
“Then you wouldn’t be wife material,” he quickly responded. I laughed at the audacity of his statement, knowing that he wasn’t alone in his thinking.
In no way am I saying that people shouldn’t have standards when it comes to who they date; that criteria should definitely be higher before tying the knot. However, when we attach a dedicated set of requirements to women that presumably makes them more admirable to a man, we are being biased and limiting. Plus, you can easily miss out on love that way.
When I attempted to explain my reasoning to the man who considered me “wife material,” he continued to appear puzzled by my disapproval. He was confused as to why I took offense, especially because, according to him, I fit the description. But what about the woman who doesn’t cook (which is actually me 50 percent of the time)? What about the caring woman who any man would be lucky to have, but she only has a high school education? And, according to the man I was speaking with, women who are “wife material” don’t have kids. Give me a break.
I admit I may be blowing a simple case of a guy being lame out of proportion, but “wife material” is one of those terms that we could simply do without. It’s one thing to have your own criteria for a partner, but it’s another to say that anyone who doesn’t have such traits misses the boat for everyone else as well when it comes to being a good catch. Save it.
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