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to be outraged by Nativity casting as 'Innkeeper's wife'!!!

(1000 Posts)
PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:26:18

Daughter (6) has been cast as 'someone's wife' in the Nativity play at school. 'Innkeeper's wife' to be precise.


This is fucking not OK! In 2019, to be identified as 'someone's wife'.

Normally I am pretty relaxed about all things school, and I certainly feel sorry for he teachers' workloads, but come on people!? This is 2019 - no woman should be identified by her relationship to a man!? SURELY!

Itching to call them out on this. Itching!

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Fri 15-Nov-19 09:27:23

Is this a joke? confused

KatnissMellark Fri 15-Nov-19 09:27:27


Bluewavescrashing Fri 15-Nov-19 09:27:45

I don't see the issue here I'm afraid. The play is set over 2000 years ago when women were somebody's wife.

Dontlikeoranges Fri 15-Nov-19 09:27:51

Isn't the Innkeeper's wife one of the standard roles in a nativity play?

MrsWillGardner Fri 15-Nov-19 09:27:53

You’re being ridiculous op.

Hellofromtheotherside2020 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:28:16

Chill out snowflake

User1924 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:28:36

The innkeepers wife has always been referred to as just that. Maybe you could think of a name for her, like Sandra

SleepingStandingUp Fri 15-Nov-19 09:28:45

Couldn't get het up about it Tbh. The role of innkeeper has the lines about saying no to Mary and Joseph. His wife is a subsidiary character to his, does she even have lines? Casting her as Eliza Kepinner is silly when the Innkeeper doesn't even have a name.. If they cast Mary as Jesus' Mom or Joseph's wife I'd see your point.

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:28:53

The thing is, I know all of this, but I still think that this is how casual everyday feminism gets perpetuated; by people not calling people out on this shit!

Chottie Fri 15-Nov-19 09:28:53

I don't see the problem either. Your DD has an actual role and is not one of many sheep or angels.

Finfintytint Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:37

Not so bad. My son was usually livestock.

FenellaMaxwell Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:44


Majorcollywobble Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:48

I agree with you . She should be referred to as the Innkeeper ‘s significant other .
If not insist your DD is recast as a sheep.

HiJenny35 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:53

This has to be a joke.

SleepingStandingUp Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:53

However I suggest you write to the school and withdraw your child from the school play in principal. Enty of kids will happily fill her spot.

AloeVeraLynn Fri 15-Nov-19 09:29:59

Good grief. I feel sorry for teachers sometimes having to manage parents like this.

Happyspud Fri 15-Nov-19 09:30:06

I don’t think you’re ridiculous at all. They could both be ‘Innkeeper’ or ‘Innkeeper couple’.

How do people think this paints small children’s view of women? It’s all part of it. All of these little everyday positionings of women.

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:30:36

haha re. Sandra!

Part of me knew I would get this reaction, and I highly doubt I will say anything. But on a vaguely seriously note, do you not see a vague point here? It just bothers me that in the core learning place for our kids, this stuff just goes on with no one batting and eyelid.

keyboardwarriornot Fri 15-Nov-19 09:30:51

This is my first ever post. I am itching to tell you that you are being unbelievably ridiculous!

LagunaBubbles Fri 15-Nov-19 09:31:23

this is how casual everyday feminism gets perpetuated; by people not calling people out on this shit!

Oh ffs really! hmm

MrsMaiselsMuff Fri 15-Nov-19 09:31:31

Perhaps you could suggest she is known as "the innkeeper's equally important partner in life and business"?

Or you could just get over yourself.

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:31:33

Yes @Happyspud this is exactly my point!!

Mickhasnotorso Fri 15-Nov-19 09:31:39

My first thought upon seeing this thread title was "ooh 3 exclamation marks, this is gonna be good"

Janus Fri 15-Nov-19 09:31:55

I feel sorry for teachers too reading your ridiculous post.

Mickhasnotorso Fri 15-Nov-19 09:32:02

Also, you do know wives are a real thing, right?

Limpshade Fri 15-Nov-19 09:32:13

As a child frequently cast as a tree, I could only dream of becoming the innkeeper's wifegrin

Sorry, OP, but I think your good intentions are misplaced here. It's a simple descriptor. What title would you prefer, Co-Innkeeper 2?

FriedasCarLoad Fri 15-Nov-19 09:32:32

What’s even worse is that the nativity play will probably fail the Bechdel test, being all about... a baby BOY shock


OllyBJolly Fri 15-Nov-19 09:32:34

Actually, I do find this outrageous.

What did the innkeeper's wife do all day? She would have cleaned, cooked, made beds, welcomed guests. She was a fellow innkeeper. Despite all that, as a woman her only status is as the wife.

I worked on a farm as a student. The "wife" worked on the lambing, milked the cows, was part of the dipping team yet when it came to the census she said her job was "housewife". This was early 80s.

It's a dreadful message to send out to children, especially female children.

loseyourself Fri 15-Nov-19 09:32:40

@Finfintytint Not so bad. My son was usually livestock


MinisterforCheekyFuckery Fri 15-Nov-19 09:33:07

But what do you want them to call her? If your DD came home told you she'd been cast as Julie or Vanessa you wouldn't have a clue what she was on about. There are so many actual, genuine examples of misogyny in every day life to get worked up about. This isn't one of them.

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:33:07

To be clear, I am not 'that parent' at all. I think teachers have it unbelievably tough and generally go out of my way to support etc.

I have never got anywhere near saying anything to a teacher along these lines before. I haven't ever seen such a casually popped in bit of inequality before.

InDubiousBattle Fri 15-Nov-19 09:33:08

Ms Innkeeper? Better?

Normally I am pretty relaxed about all things school
Summon whatever it is that normally relaxes you op!!

Aroundtheworldin80moves Fri 15-Nov-19 09:33:31

I sort of see your point... But schools are under pressure to provide as many speaking parts as possible in the Nativity play, so the Innkeeper is now Innkeeper+ wife, where as before the inn keeper was a girl or boy.

Mrsjayy Fri 15-Nov-19 09:34:14

This is so ridiculous you know you are being ridiculous right Innkeeper andsandra wife are an integeral part of school nativity but I think if you are so enraged phone the school go on do it grin

WinkyisbackontheButterBeer Fri 15-Nov-19 09:34:22

I spend ages rewriting our nativity to give as many children as possible a part. Last year our innkeeper has a wife and two kids. I just couldn’t get upset about that tbh.
It’s an easy way to label the part for the script.

Stickytoffeepuddingyum Fri 15-Nov-19 09:34:25

ffs not everything is a cause, not everything is a feminist issue or outrage.

It is a nativity that has been going for hundreds of years for god sake.

Don't be that parent

happycamper11 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:34:37

Oh gosh but this play isn't set in 2019 is it hmm

BJsHair Fri 15-Nov-19 09:35:05

My son was normally cast as a tree or a star. Count yourself lucky she has an actual human role

VardySheWrote Fri 15-Nov-19 09:35:21

so being someone's WIFE is an insult now?

wow, every time you think we've reach the bottom, someone comes up with a new one.

Why don't you suggest a lesbian couple to run the in, so the innkeeper would be female too, that would work!

<goes back in her shed to shine the shoes of the master of the house after being allowed out for a cup of tea>

Happyspud Fri 15-Nov-19 09:35:29

How about ‘Innkeeper‘ and ‘Innkeepers Husband’. Sounds wrong doesn’t it??? Why is that?

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:01

I have no plan to be that parent! smile

I just think it's rather sad that this is still going on. It is casual inequality. As @OllyBJolly said - well put. What the hell did this 'wife' do all day - probably as much as the Innkeeper I suspect.

MrsWooster Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:03

I really want to take the piss, but I actually agree with you, op, and happyspud. Or cast her as the innkeeper and the lad as the ‘innkeeper’s husband’.

raspberryk Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:05

She's lucky, I was an ox.

PurpleWithRed Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:07

I see your point. Why not second innkeeper, or landlady? something that's not 'Male role = an actual role; Female Role = male's dependent". How did they cast? Did they consider a girl for the role of Innkeeper? etc. It's a small point but pernicious. But then we are talking about a story in which the Woman is revered for Not Having Sex and Being A Virgin, which is a whole other thing!

PhilSwagielka Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:26

Are you fucking with us? This has to be a joke.

AgeShallNotWitherHer Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:51

Soon teaching will be carried out entirely online by previously approved BOTS. Parents can then chose the BOT that best reflects their own views and use a ChatBot to complain about these issues.

We could also rewrite stories from other religions to ensure they reflect 2019 culture - but I bet OP wouldn't dare suggest that.

In the end - that is all she is in the story. The Shepherds are defined only in relation to their animals.

MrsWooster Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:02

Or, indeed, cast the pair of them as ‘the innkeepers’ and share the lines.

TheTrollFairy Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:12

They are teaching kids about a woman who magically got pregnant (although wasn’t she supposed to be 12 when it happened) and you are concerned about your dd being cast as someone’s wife??

KitKat1985 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:20

It may have escaped your notice but the 'innkeeper' doesn't have a name either. What do you want her to be called? Susan? Margaret? Bethany? Maybe with 'stay-at-home Mum and part-time stable hand and crib maker' written next to it so she's clearly not defined by being a wife?

I tell you what go the whole bloody hog and tell the school you don't think any of the characters should be defined by their job, marital status or gender, and insist everyone is referred to as 'gender neutral person 1, gender neutral person 2 etc' for the entire show.

Alternatively you could just give your head a wobble and just enjoy the bloody nativity.

CripsSandwiches Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:29

Surely at the time of the nativity the inn keeper would be a man and if he had a wife she would be thought of as the inn keeper's wife? It's a one off event so you should let it go.

Abraid2 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:30

Tell the school you want the innkeeper to be female. Or male identifying as female.

bilbodog Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:31

Im not religious so should get upset about children being force fed the nativity and jesus as son of god stuff - but i like traditional stuff particularly at Christmas and have made it my job to get my children to question things and come to their own conclusions. I never cared what part they played in the nativity. Get over it - merry Christmas !!!

VardySheWrote Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:39

She's lucky, I was an ox

now that is traumatic, how are you handling life after this difficult time sad

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:39

@MrsWooster smile - that is sort of how I feel! I am looking at myself thinking 'get over yourself / don't be 'that parent', I would love to feel like I could take the piss out of myself on this, too.

But I just feel like this is constant. I suspect it is just the straw that broke the camel's back!

Happyspud Fri 15-Nov-19 09:37:45

@VardySheWrote, being described as Xs wife in THIS context is bad.

There are plenty of contexts where it’s totally fine. Ones where is NOT about making the wide secondary to the husband.

Ringdonna Fri 15-Nov-19 09:38:05

If I was the teacher I would get a boy dressed in drag to play the part to piss you off evenmore.

PrincessHoneysuckle Fri 15-Nov-19 09:38:35

If we knew the innkeepers wifes name she would be called that.Im someone's wife, if a friend of dh didn't know me hed call me dh wife.Its a non issue.

Singlenotsingle Fri 15-Nov-19 09:38:37

It's tradition. Things were different then. What if your dd had been cast as the donkeys rear end? (It could be a male donkey, of course).

WorraLiberty Fri 15-Nov-19 09:38:37

And people wonder why Mumsnet is often a laughing stock

Next you'll be complaining about Mary being pregnant by another man...

Dahlietta Fri 15-Nov-19 09:38:58

This is 2019 - no woman should be identified by her relationship to a man!?

I'm afraid I am quite frequently somebody's wife. Most of the rest of the time I am somebody's mother. Occasionally I am me. Things haven't changed so much in 2000 years.

GrandmaSharksDentures Fri 15-Nov-19 09:39:09

Have we all just assumed the innkeeper is heterosexual? wink

Peanutbutteryogurt Fri 15-Nov-19 09:39:36

The innkeepers wife has always been referred to as just that. Maybe you could think of a name for her, like Sandra

Surely then the innkeeper would need a name too. 'innkeeper and Sandra' isn't really fair on the innkeeper, he's a person with a name.

PIPERHELLO Fri 15-Nov-19 09:39:43

Yes this! -

I see your point. Why not second innkeeper, or landlady? something that's not 'Male role = an actual role; Female Role = male's dependent". How did they cast? Did they consider a girl for the role of Innkeeper? etc. It's a small point but pernicious. But then we are talking about a story in which the Woman is revered for Not Having Sex and Being A Virgin, which is a whole other thing!

ThatsMeInTheSpotlight Fri 15-Nov-19 09:40:06

I remember when the 'interesting' threads started late afternoon on a Friday. They're getting earlier and earlier.

VardySheWrote Fri 15-Nov-19 09:40:08

Surely at the time of the nativity the inn keeper would be a man and if he had a wife she would be thought of as the inn keeper's wife?

there's always someone destroying the thread with a sensible and accurate post!

Of course CripsSandwiches you are absolutely right, but outraged people do not want to know about anything that doesn't meet their agenda grin
and a WIFE! How outrageous is that grin

Thegreymethod Fri 15-Nov-19 09:40:22

You're being ridiculous!! The inn keeper is a big part and usually has lines it would be weird if they just sent a letter home saying your daughter is playing the part of Sharon, you'd be saying who the hell is sharon?!?!
Honestly a nativity is a lovely thing to be part of and to watch, don't make schools think twice about doing them because they can't be bothered with the hassle they get. Pick your battles, this isn't it

Her0utdoors Fri 15-Nov-19 09:40:39

My experience of working in hospitality is the wide is the one who is sober enough to actually keep the whole show on the road, be it pub, restaurant or hotel. I'd happily mention it to the teacher, I'm happily 'that parent'. I write letters, but I've also been the ONLY parent to turn up to events the school has arranged to discuss changes in school policy.

saraclara Fri 15-Nov-19 09:40:51

So what other plays do you think should be changed then, OP.

The Merry Wives of Windsor might be a start. Let's get Shakespeare sorted out then.

Abraid2 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:41:01

Virgin Mary is assumed to be female, but how out of touch is that?

MoreSexPleaseImBritish Fri 15-Nov-19 09:41:02

I can't get upset about this.
The last property I rented was owned by a woman. I referred to her husband as the landlady's husband because that is what he was...he didn't own the property so he wasn't the landlord.
These things happen. I wouldn't call my GP's wife a Doctor because that would be ridiculous given that she is a teacher.

Brenna24 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:41:29

Well, it is at least historically accurate. If you are that fussed about it you talk to her about how 2000 years ago the wife would be described as a wife, while probably doing more of the hard graft than the husband and certainly more of the menial chores. These days there are plenty of wives still, I am one, but our contribution to lives and individual status as a person is now acknowledged. So we have moved on.

Happyspud Fri 15-Nov-19 09:41:41

Gosh, I don’t hold much hope for improvements in misogynistic language based on this bunch of responses from people here. Depressing that many of you can’t even see it.

IncrediblySadToo Fri 15-Nov-19 09:41:46


For the love of fuck, don’t be such a donkey.

It might be 2019, but the nativity is a ‘few’ years old now. Maybe you’d like Jesus to be a girl? Maybe they could get Jo to book a few nights in a birthing suite on his phone. And obviously if it was written now it would be 3 Wise Women as we all know that finding 3 wise men is like finding a needle in a hay stack!

You’re being utterly ridiculous.

delorisvancartier Fri 15-Nov-19 09:42:24

It's 2019 why are you assuming the 'Inn keeper' is a male wink

ConkerGame Fri 15-Nov-19 09:42:33

I see your point OP but the issue is that “inn-keeper’s wife” isn’t an actual role - it’s one that has been made up to give an extra child a “part”. From memory she doesn’t actually say anything? As someone upthread said it would be different if they called Mary “Joseph’s wife” because everyone knows who Mary is due to her own life but nobody would have any idea who your DD was if they gave her an actual name!

I guess the most 2019 way of doing this would be to give your DD the role of innkeeper and a boy the role of innkeeper’s husband, although that wouldn’t be historically accurate as all innkeepers were men back in the year 0!

I wouldn’t say anything when it’s the nativity but would say something if it was a newly-written play set in today’s times.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Fri 15-Nov-19 09:42:33

What do you mean you're sad that this is still going on?? It's the Nativity! It's a very, very old story from the Bible. There are far more offensive things in the Bible than the Inkeepers wife not being given a first name!

littlepaddypaws Fri 15-Nov-19 09:42:39

ffs outraged, really ? possibly annoyed but outraged ?
this thread will go poofff shortly as op will get angry and close the account due to responses,
totally daft thread.

nornironrock Fri 15-Nov-19 09:42:52

I have a wife.

She's also a mother, Director of a charity, board member for another, and may other things. There are many ways to describe people.

Sadly for the Innkeepers wife, in this instance, as a fictitious character, she has nothing else by which to be recognised. Perhaps you'd prefer they were each referred to as co-owners? Not historically correct, but as you say, it is 2019 and we'd not want to let a little historical accuracy get in the way of "the message".

Oh, and I introduce my wife as "This is my wife, (name)" and she introduces me as "This is my husband, nornironrock".

I'm all ears for your alternative.

hazell42 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:43:35

When 'actors' are not named in the play they are named by a shorthand descriptor.
'Inn-keepers wife' identifies who they are in the play, not their station in life
Even the inn-keeper doesn't get a name
Could be worse. In films you can get descriptors such as 'fat kid 2'

Aroundtheworldin80moves Fri 15-Nov-19 09:43:37

The Innkeepers wife has more lines than the Innkeeper in my DD play... In which incidentally the main characters are a pair of midwives (both female) and their Donkeys (both male).

ChicCroissant Fri 15-Nov-19 09:44:07

I don't expect history to be changed to suit the modern preferences Happyspud.

billandbenflowerpotmen1 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:44:08

My DD was a tomato. In a Catholic school. In the nativity. I would have been thrilled had she been anyone's 'wife', at least that's human

Whattodoabout Fri 15-Nov-19 09:44:30

This is mental.

cuparfull Fri 15-Nov-19 09:44:37

It's up to you to make ur child a little more robust than you obviously are.
Don't sweat the small stuff snowflake.....

SciFiScream Fri 15-Nov-19 09:44:48

@PIPERHELLO I understand. I'm not sure much can be done with this particular instance.

If the school does lots elsewhere to inspire the female pupils then I'd let this slide

Or the innkeeper and wife could both be cast as girls?

Or the wife could be the owner and the innkeeper works for his wife?

It's an example of micro everyday sexism and it least it only happens once a year.

FoamingAtTheUterus Fri 15-Nov-19 09:45:19

Please decide to make this the hill you choose to die on .......please, please, please let this be the hill.

Then report back.

elliejjtiny Fri 15-Nov-19 09:45:55

I don't see anything wrong with it. The innkeeper isn't named and neither is his wife. If you want to you could tell your dd that she is joint owner of the inn. They don't normally have an innkeeper 's wife in my dc's school, apart from the year my ds4 who has learning difficulties was playing the innkeeper. She was brilliant, held ds's hand and made sure he was in the right place at the right time.

VardySheWrote Fri 15-Nov-19 09:46:01

This is mental.
grin grin grin

the thread is obviously a joke, which is great, but the scary thing is that there's always a poster or 2 who will take it seriously and go on a big dramatical rant and lesson!

MockersthefeMANist Fri 15-Nov-19 09:46:45

Mary (Mariam) was not Joseph's (Yusuf's) wife. They were betrothed. More like fiancee.

(Fifty-odd year old bloke and the pregnant fourteen y/o.)

MbwaKidogo Fri 15-Nov-19 09:46:46

If this is the play I think it is.....the innkeeper's wife is a main part as a judge on a "strictly" type programme. The innkeeper is just in a dance. More feminist than it at first appears.

Kanga83 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:46:57

Perhaps you could ask that she be dressed as a snowflake....?

Perhaps also suggest that Jesus not be the addressed as the Son of God but self-identifying individual of a spirit being? Mary, the victim of a forced illegitimate pregnancy?

I mock but our Catholic school received so many complaints over the nativity that it now does a traditional and non-traditional version which I find incredibly sad.

TheQueef Fri 15-Nov-19 09:47:09

If you want a contrived role, Bethlehem Bus Driver! Now that's grasping.

Did you hear the PM on fivelive by any chance?

kjhkj Fri 15-Nov-19 09:47:46

You are beyond ridiculous

Lovewineandchocs Fri 15-Nov-19 09:48:05

Do you know for sure she isn’t actually saying anything? At my DC’s school there were three innkeepers’ wives and they all said more than the innkeepers (who were also not named and credited simply as “innkeepers”.

Clawdy Fri 15-Nov-19 09:48:07

If it was a modern re-creation of the Nativity story, then it would be a bit odd.But as the traditional story is set thousands of years ago, it's fair enough. Would you change the Chaucer tale name "The Wife Of Bath" ?

MinisterforCheekyFuckery Fri 15-Nov-19 09:48:47

Or the wife could be the owner and the innkeeper works for his wife?

And how exactly do you expect the school to shoe-horn that information into the script?

Joseph (knocks on the door)
"Have you any rooms left?"

Inkeeper: "oh I'm sorry, sir. I don't have the authority to answer that question as although I am technically classed as the inkeeper, it's actually my Wife, Sandra, who is the proprietor of this establishment and I'm technically her employee"

Promises to be thoroughly entertaining hmm

historysock Fri 15-Nov-19 09:49:44

Perhaps they could re title the role as Co keeper of the Inn? It wouldn't be historically accurate but I suppose it would send a more modern message.

MissCharleyP Fri 15-Nov-19 09:49:47

Crikey! When it was my first nativity I wanted to be an angel but wasn’t allowed as I had dark hair; the only ones cast as angels were blonde. This was 1984/5. Happily (for me) one girl was sick on the day of the performance and the class voted me to be the replacement 🙂

PollyShelby Fri 15-Nov-19 09:49:52

I'm a teacher and I'm begging you to go in to complain.

This can be a tough term and those teachers will really appreciate the laughs it'll give them.

Please report back once you've spoken to them grin

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