This twitter account is just the worst. Firstly, wife is not a verb. Saying you’re going to ‘wife’ someone sounds like a threat. “I swear to god if you don’t behave I will wife you! I will wife you to death!”
Secondly, this is nothing more than a prescriptive list of attributes that apparently makes a woman desirable – so if you’re not smart or pretty, sorry, you’re destined to be alone.
Take note ladies, these are some of the things that make you worthy of being wifed:
– A big arse
– Double D breasts
– Sexy legs
– The ability to do the splits
– Good singing voice
– The ability to correctly use grammar
– You remind him of his Mum (ew)
– You enjoy cooking and cleaning
Maybe the next step could be turning ‘wife’ into an adjective and if a woman isn’t living up to these standards then their partner can simply say “Could you be more wife, please?!” or “Your attitude is a little less wife than I’d like. Work on it toots.”
Thirdly, too many of these posts suggest that women should be ‘wifed’ if they put up with emotional abuse and are willing to be their partner’s punching bag. There’s this strange 1950’s attitude running throughout that women should exist to feed, fuck and cry over their men – and if she doesn’t? DON’T WIFE HER.
“If she’s still around after you put her in pain, made her cry & she’s still waiting for something to happen between you two, wife that girl.” – wow.
Lastly, the very phrase ‘wife her’ positions the woman as a passive recipient of said ‘wifing’. There’s an underlying assumption that she will accept the proposal no matter what. Need she even be present when the decision is made? Or can the person just come home one day and say:
“Today I have wifed you. No need to thank me.”
“But I didn’t want..”
“SHUT UP! YOU ARE WIFED!”
I just read this rather illuminating article by Aileen Moreton-Robinson about the High Court’s Yorta Yorta decision and I want to make sure I’ve got a couple of things straight.
So…if, as an Indigenous Australian, you want to make a claim to land under the Native Titles Act because you were dispossessed from that land under British colonisation, then in the very act of saying that you were dispossessed from the land you are disqualifying yourself from claiming that land because you have inherently shown that you haven’t had an ‘unbroken connection’ with it?
And if you can prove an unbroken connection to the land (by white definitions) by demonstrating use of the land, then this use of the land has to be ‘traditional’ – in other words it cannot (and you cannot) have changed or evolved since the beginning of colonisation 200 years ago despite colonisation forcing this change? And despite the ‘adaptation of white culture’ being ‘necessary for one’s survival’? So, Aboriginal people are never allowed to change or evolve their societal practices either voluntarily or involuntarily?
And if you’re of ‘mixed-race’ descent then your ‘Aboriginality’ is brought into question despite the fact that colonisation created such racial mixing both through rape and consensual relations? And also despite the fact that conceiving of ‘Aboriginality’ as inherently linked to skin colour rather than “history, socialisation patterns, knowledges and experiences” (Moreton-Robinson 2000, p.88) is a white conception of what it means to be an Aboriginal person by judging “cultural authenticity” by “racial purity”? (Moreton-Robinson 2000, p.88)
AND if you’re an Indigenous woman then your link to the land is further brought into question because according to white male anthropologists Indigenous men have a greater claim to the land?
Is it just me but does this not only punish Indigenous Australians for being the subjects of colonisation, but also punish Indigenous Australians for responding to colonisation?
Oh, it does?
OK. JUST CHECKING.
Quotes from Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s Talkin’ up to the white woman (2000)
I love articles like this for several reasons: the blatant sensationalism, the subtle enactment of prejudice, and the extraordinary ethnocentrism.
The article states that paralympic athlete Mehrdad Karam Zadeh refused to shake Kate Middleton’s hand, snubbing her and failing to take her up on her offer of a handshake. What a rude bastard, right?! I mean, just to show what a misogynistic pig he is, he gladly shook the hand of a man but Mr I’mtoogoodforwomen (I am amazing at making up names) still rudely rebuked the lovely Kate Middleton.
Why did he so savagely refuse this most basic offering of friendship and congratulations? Because Iranian cultural conventions ‘ban’ men and women from physical contact like the big ole Muslims that they are.
Except that’s not what happened, not even a little bit. Mehrad Karam Zadeh didn’t ‘refuse’ the handshake, because Kate Middleton never offered him one, as she was fully aware of Mehrad’s culturally and religiously informed personal decision not to do so.
The article, of course, frames this as a disrespect towards women generally and Kate Middleton particularly – completely ignoring the fact that in Iranian culture and Muslim culture, not going around touching people you’re not related to is actually a sign of respect – not disrespect. The inability of Erin Tennant (the author) to conceive of this non-event in any other way reveals a deep ethnocentrism whereby everyone in the world must conform to ‘our’ social conventions.
This is epitomised in the rather perfunctory and unemotive description of Mehrad ‘clutching his hand to his chest and bowing his head’. In comparison with the article’s otherwise effusive style the inherent loveliness of this gesture (which once again is holding your hand to your heart and bowing to another person)seems somewhat missed. I mean really, does that sound like a snub to you??
Further respect to the Princess can also be shown in the fact that she was informed earlier of all of this, so that she wouldn’t offer her hand and then be left hanging and feeling really embarrassed and awkward.
The use of the word ‘ban’ here is also particularly evocative. Since when can a cultural convention ban anything? There are so many other ways to phrase that sentence, but of course the use of the word ‘ban’ fits so easily into wider public discourse in which Muslims and Muslim countries are so often depicted as severe, inflexible and y’know…all ‘fatwa-y’.
Mehrad’s actions are further reinforced as aberrant, abnormal and wrong when Tennant makes sure to highlight that both of the other medallists shook Kate Middleton’s hand – so basically, they did the ‘right’ thing while Mehrad did the ‘wrong’ thing.
There’s also a rather subtle reinforcement of anti-Muslim prejudice in the way that the ‘no touching’ practice is framed, not just in this article but in others. There is a suggestion that the practice of not touching non-relatives of the opposite gender is a directive passed down by men, and that it operates as an affront to women. This quite successfully sidesteps the agency and the voice of Muslim women. There is an underlying assumption that if it wasn’t for the ‘bad Muslim men’ then Muslim women would jump at the chance to go around touching a whole bunch of men, throwing off the ‘shackles’ of religious and cultural practice for the ‘better’ Western way. This is so insulting to Islam as a whole but it also shows how Islam is perceived as an innately masculine religion. By conceiving of Islam in this way men are continually contributed agency while women are disempowered and silenced – perpetually positioned as victims of Muslim men.
This is further evident in the different meaning attributed to practices of non-touching, according to the gender of the party engaging in the practice. If a man doesn’t shake the hand of a woman it is spoken about as above – as a snub, a refusal and as evidence of an underlying misogyny. If a woman doesn’t shake the hand of a man it is suggested that she is being held back by Muslim convention and that if she did shake his hand (cause we all know she wants to) then she’d get in trouble with her probably abusive male relatives.
Is it really so hard to step outside of our own cultural traditions and practices, and our own mindset, to be able to appreciate that there are different cultural and religious practices, that these practices have their own intrinsic value and that the people practising them aren’t mired in ignorance and oppression? Are we really so blind to that to the point that someone holding their hand to their heart and bowing is taken as an affront rather than a show of respect?? I really hope not. I really hope that of the people who make it past the headline and then make it past the article and actually watch the video are able to draw their own conclusions rather than being drawn into this sensationalistic insanity where everything is a controversy and there are no shades of grey.