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husband/wife/spouse

(9 Posts)
rainbowtoenails Mon 01-Aug-11 15:29:44

Why are we still generally using the terms h&w rather than the gender neutral 'spouse'?

If I ever get married I dont ever want to be a 'wife'. It has so many negative connotations. We mostly no longer use:spinster, madam etc so why stick with wife? I dont get it.

MrsReasonable Mon 01-Aug-11 16:05:55

I'm not ashamed of my gender. I'm happy to have gendered words used about me and MrReasonable. Also, the word 'spouse' always looked odd to me, as if it were describing some horrible food ("Yum, spouse, chips and gravy").

AMumInScotland Mon 01-Aug-11 16:14:23

Feel free to describe yourself any way you like - and if I knew you and knew you preferred "spouse" over husband/wife I'd be happy to use it when talking about your spouse. But I don't have any negative connotations about the word "wife" - to me its simply the word for "spouse who happens to be female" as opposed to "spouse who happens to be male". And I describe myself as DHs wife, and him as my husband, without feeling either of us is belittled by them.

Malificence Mon 01-Aug-11 16:28:13

I love being a wife and a Mrs, so shoot me.
It's a positive thing in my life and has absolutely no negative connotations.
The world would be incredibly boring if everything was gender neutral.

Prolesworth Mon 01-Aug-11 16:29:31

Message withdrawn

jennyvstheworld Mon 01-Aug-11 21:56:37

What are these negative connotations contained by the word wife?

OrangeHat Mon 01-Aug-11 22:34:43

Well I suppose if you look at the root of it then marriage is a problematical institution with an awful lot of terrible baggage.

Husband, wife, mr, mrs, all of these things stem from the institution of marriage. So the conversations around these things are all connected and definitely a feminist issue.

I think as usual it is a balancing act between what you would ideally want, and going along with society conventions for a quiet life.

So bottom line is, if you don't want to be a wife, don't get married. You get married, you are a wife. A man gets married, he is a husband. That's the terminology.

For me, personally, I start to wonder whether the title stuff is a red herring. I was ms when I was young, now I'm a mrs and a wife. I was a miss for a bit there too. If there was no sexism, these things would not matter one jot. I like the fact that gay couples can register civil partnerships, and wish the religions would catch up to serve those who think a religious ceremony is important. Pairing off is fine. Ceremonially pairing off is fine. Changing your title because you have paired off is fine. Discrimination, sexism, an assumption on what work you will do etc is not fine. Tackle that, I think. And tackle the sexism in most mainstream religions. Sort those out, and "husband" , "wife" won't matter, there will be no connotations.

jennyvstheworld Mon 01-Aug-11 22:46:49

Quite so... there's an awful lot of baggage in the world and we can hardly go through the dictionary removing words we don't like.

Of course, there is the N-word, but I'm still thinking about that... Wife though - ffs!

PatRiarchy Thu 04-Aug-11 05:10:18

Well it's like Womens Studies. The Patriarchy tried to change it to Gender Studies to eliminate any reference to male or female but feminists have been fighting hard and long to keep it as Womens Studies to make sure that gender is specified.

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