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Not Being “Wife-ish” Enough

The other day I was flipping through channels on TV and started watching part of a King of Queens episode.  The premise of the episode is that Doug and Carrie need to take a cake to a church event.  Doug had expected Carrie to bake the cake, but because Carrie had to work late she just picked one up from the store.  Doug gets upset about this, and tells Carrie that she isn’t “wife-ish” enough.  He goes on to explain, “you never bring me my slippers, or tell me I’m clever, or knit me something,” which are stereotypical things a wife might do for her husband.

This example demonstrates the way society has socially constructed what being a wife means, which is often unrealistic. The problem is that even though many women work, it is still assumed that they are going to be doing typical “wife” work around the house.  If two people are both working, it only makes sense that they would also split the amount of housework somewhat equally, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  It is a positive step that women are becoming more represented in the work force, but it’s a step in the opposite direction to expect women to work and still be capable of doing the majority of the work at home.

Another part of the episode I found interesting was when Doug calls his mother to ask her how they should make the cake, and his mother judges Carrie in a similar way for not being able to do it.  Not only does society expect certain things from a wife, but women have these expectations of other women as well.  And this can go both ways too; women might judge other women for not staying home with their children and doing the cooking/cleaning, or women could judge other women for not having a job outside of the home.  It’s important that women don’t judge other women for their choices; everyone is different, and the role that a wife takes on can be different for each individual.

In this show, Carrie is a strong and independent woman.  She has a job, and doesn’t feel that it’s her responsibility to take care of everything at home.  Although I have noticed that a lot of wife/mother characters on TV do have jobs now, I’ve also noticed that when they are shown in the home, they’re usually frantically trying to pick up the house or take care of their children.  I find it refreshing to see a character on TV that doesn’t represent the stereotypical wife/mother that is many times depicted in the media.


  1. hebasha says:

    You have a point with your write-up. I find that because of the expectation of women as responsible for domestic housework is so ingrained in our society, women do scorn other women for their inability to meet these expectations. This is incredibly unproductive when we seek to understand one another and not allow expectations to dictate our judgements of others.

  2. analyg says:

    This is a good post! I agree that the women are usually shown as housewife type women unless they have a job, and then they are sort of shown as a negative for some reason. It’s like they can’t have a job and be a good mom because they are too busy with work. It’s like how in class the other day, we talked about either women are liked or they are successful, you can’t really have both with women. I think this show is a really good example of this stereotyped image.

  3. rghannam says:

    Honestly, if more people were conscious about this stuff, it wouldn’t be as bad as it is. A ton of people go into marriage blindly without realizing stuff like this. Seriously, everyone should understand to a minimum of some comprehension in regards to these things. It would make marriage so much more enjoyable and there would be less divorce, and a lot of marriages would be rethought or at least postponed. Marriage is very complex, it requires knowledge.

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