Wife goals

LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

Nowadays, the term "housewife" is considered disparaging by Brits.


Reuters reports that British women hold this term in distaste, considering it as either sexist or embarrassing. That seems odd, since we also encounter the term "househusband," so there's an equivalence of sorts. But maybe “housewife” has already accumulated a lot of baggage over by the English shores, and hence the resulting societal reaction.

Obviously, England did not have the same historical encounter with that term as we did. To recall, Cory Aquino appropriated all the accompanying domesticity and banality of the term for herself, and made it her battle cry of sorts. This "ordinary housewife" stood up against the Marcos dictatorship, and used her ordinariness and normalcy to power her way to the hearts of the likewise ordinary Filipinos.

Brits, on the other hand, complain that parenting and running households are still seen as traditionally women's roles, and don't like it. A woman's place is not necessarily the home. It could be in the boardroom, the CEO chair, or the pilot's seat.

We probably agree with those equality sentiments, but that hasn't resulted, at least in this country, in sullying the term “housewife.” Admittedly, I still use it to describe friends, even family. Perhaps, though, I should be more sensitive in the future.

So, assuming housewifery may no longer be in fashion, what term should we use? What would pass the tests of the thought police? Well, there's "homemaker" that's bandied about sometimes, but that also seems too domesticated. Almost as unexciting as housewife. No glamour at all, unless you're living in a mansion, in which case what you're making would be not a home, but palatial statements.

There is also the "stay-at-home mom," which wouldn't work if the woman is not a mother. (She would then be just a lazy bum?)

"Tiger-mom" is also available, for the over-achieving, helicopter parenting samples of our species. (And the spouse would then be what, the "lion-dad"? Ugh, how corny.)

Something that royalty might use, for example. Titles like Duchess and Princess aside, what does Meghan Markle call herself? Surely not "stay-at-home wife." With her many public duties, (accompanied by matching gowns, tiaras, and coiffeurs) she's certainly making sure she's not staying home.

What do expat women call themselves, especially if they have no children? All these executive men have relocated to our shores, bringing with them bored women who spend all day trying to amuse themselves. If they have no kids, what would be their daily agenda? Lunch with the girls, more shopping, or even hitting the gym. Would we describe them as imported hospitality girls?

Meanwhile, some of the childless imports probably have more ambitions in life, so they might be looking for a job to make themselves useful. Yet others enjoy the no-pressure, low-expectation environment, in which case we can safely call them useless (except to their husbands). Their entire purpose is to look pretty and wait in the house for their expat man to get home, where they have a home-cooked (not!) dinner, chilled wine, and a bubble bath waiting. So does that mean we can in truth call them, because they deserve the term one hundred percent, the housewife?

Don't mind the cattiness. I'm just envious some people are able to hitch their fortunes to the fate of another person, and voila, they're made for the rest of their petty lives. No need to lift their pretty fingers, ever! (Special shoutout to Melania and Ivana!)

Meanwhile, we await suitable replacements for the housewife. And I am not referring to the mistress.


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