Exhibit A: Why I Hate Wife-n-mommy Culture 


I will, soon enough, be writing a whole bunch of posts as to why I hate what I term the wifenmummie (or wife-n-mommy) culture. I don’t have the energy to tackle that task right now, but I will give you an example of why I find it so outrageous.

I was browsing my timeline on Facebook. I came across a post from a relatively new friend. I like her a lot. This isn’t a criticism of her. She is trying to be a sympathetic friend and she also, like many young people, is wrapped in her life, her life, her dreams. But we must stand our ground and tell the truth…even, and especially, to our friends.

This friend, who shall be called Suly, wrote a post advertising a GoFundMe for a friend going through hard times. Some of those hard times, for example, the loss of her cat, tugged at my heart, and I sympathized. I wanted to help…but those few sympathetic causes were not the focus of this Facebook post. The primary hardship the recipient faced, and the primary reason for soliciting donations, stopped me from having anything to do with this project.

It turns out this friend of Suly, the recipient of Suly’s beneficence, is a wife and aspiring mother who recently went through fertility treatments and failed to get pregnant. She wants to try again, because she wants to have a baby so badly and she feels so guilty and so useless because she can’t give her husband the family he wants (not the exact wording, but very similar language). Only…she doesn’t have the money right now to go through another course. So Suly wants us to donate money so she can throw wifenmummie a Harry-Potter themed party to make her feel better, which is innocent enough, AND/OR…wait for it…a loan to pay for another course of fertility treatments.

Hold the phone, lady!

No way no how am I spending my hard-earned money on that!

The party, like I said, is innocent enough. I wouldn’t have given money, but I might have given supplies, a small gift, or a card…maybe even a gift card. After all, wifenmummie has endured some real losses besides failed fertility treatments, such as the aforementioned loss of her cat. I don’t believe all fundraising needs to be for destitute people, people in dire circumstances, dying people, or only for serious ventures or basic needs. For example, I have no problem donating to the Special Olympics, to Make-a-Wish, to my local nursing home for a new activity center, to a school’s performing arts field trip, etc. One of my proudest moments was donating a big bill on a street corner to the boys’ Little League Team so they could travel out of state to a big game. With that said, I do expect people who are *able* to do so to do their part, and I expect the project to a) be a legitimate need or goal and B) to reasonably require the funds and resources being requested in order to get the project done in a satisfactory and timely manner. Granted, these judgments are subjective, but suffice it to say, this party didn’t even come close to meeting my relatively loose requirements.

I mean, anyone who can afford fertility treatments can afford recreation…and Suly was more than able to fund her own generosity. This is a woman who can afford multiple big ticket events, such as a trip to Disney World, a year, is buying a house, and has all kinds of money to spend on clothes, makeup, merchandise from her favorite fandoms, etc. And she lives, and shares assets with, her fiance who is also doing very well for herself. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but…wht are you asking us to fund a party that you are more than capable of throwing yourself? I’ve thrown big parties with much less wealth. Skip a few shopping trips, Suly, or dip into your vacation money, and do it yourself. Seriously.

As irritating as this is, though, that’s not my biggest problem. My biggest problem is, you guessed it, the fertility treatments.

Unreal.

There is no way I will take even the remotest chance that my money will go towards fertility treatments. Such treatments aren’t medically necessary in avoiding death, disability, or disfigurement. They’re not healthy for mother or baby. They’re very often unsuccessful, which amounts to wasted money and time, and most importantly, they’re unethical. They entail playing God in one of the most misogynistic and heterosexist ways imaginable.

By the way, Suly and wifenmummie live in England, where their health care is largely paid for by the state. A huge chunk of the audience for this post is American, a group of people that is a) struggling economically, b) has a minimal safety net, and c) has to PAY for healthcare that they actually NEED! All too often, people are paying large sums of money that they don’t have and ruining whatever credit or assets or security they had for care that they truly can’t live without. Yet these women think nothing of asking this same population of people to fork over their minimum wage incomes to find what is essentially a cosmetic procedure for a well-off couple.

How dare you? The gall of such a request!

And of course, no one calls this out for what it is, nor do they call out this woman’s husband, for whom the woman feels “guilty” and “useless” as a wife. NO ONE told this woman that her lack of fecundity wasn’t het fault, that she had no reason to be guilty, and that there is more to being a wife than being fucked and being pregnant. NO ONE called Dear Hubby out for being selfish, sexist, and entitled. No, they reinforced this woman’s feeling of failure and now are trying to finance the means to “fix it.” Hate the oppressive housewife role? Take Valium! Hate sex role stereotypes? Change your sex! Hate being targeted for your weight? Go on a diet! Hate your lack of fertility? Get treatment? Hate your inability to be the wife your husband wants? Change yourself!

What’s curiously absent is the real solution to all these problems…change expectations. Change priorities.

I suppose I should consider the source: Suly and Alma (fiancee) are a lesbian couple who want to pursue artificial reproduction…so perhaps they’re a bit biased? Ya think? They mourned the Brexit decision, in part, because they thought their rights, namely their reproductive options, would take a hit. That’s right…a nation’s success, identity and sovereignty must be suppressed because someone somewhere wants a designer baby. And the thousands of people that want their country back will just have to be content to serve wifenmummie’s baby fever. Even if you do not support, or are not affected, by Brexit, you have to admit that the reason given here for opposing it is mind-blowing in its self-centeredness.

If this doesn’t ooze privilege and entitlement, I don’t know what does. If you don’t see what’s wrong with this picture, there’s nothing I can do for you. If you still don’t understand why I hate wifenmummie culture, there’s more where this came from.

As you can imagine, I declined to participate in this endeavor. My money went to Alley Cat Allies instead.

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11 comments

  1. Saye Bennett · August 26, 2016

    Being a bit (ahem! hahaha!) older than you, I don’t often see that sort of crapola on my FB timeline…and thank goodness for that, because my head might explode.

    But your post made me vividly recall a woman (I’ll call her “J”) who was part of a book group I was in when I lived in South Florida. J was straight, (supposedly) happily married, successful in her business, very attractive, smart, young, and affluent, had many friends and a loving family (everything that people think is “living the dream”)…but none of it mattered because J was in a deep dark depression because she had been unable to conceive after many failed attempts and numerous VERY expensive medical interventions.

    During the 2 years that I was in that biweekly book group with J, she never once smiled. She rarely contributed to the group discussion, and when she did, she would relate the characters’ tragedies to her own fertility issues (so, for instance, in her mind, her fertility issues were on par with suicide, murder, cancer, famine, the Holocaust, etc.; basically anything ranging from bad to horrific was fair game for comparison).

    I remember being mystified. That J’s entire self-worth, her entire WORLD, had narrowed to a single-minded focus on procreation. Other straight acquaintances in that group were popping out babies, and therefore were also talking baby-baby-baby-baby-BABY!! which, of course, definitely made matters worse for J.

    Since it was so puzzling to me, I started observing more closely and noticed that this is a phenomenon that often seems to severely handicap many women.

    Is this obsession a biologically/hormonally-driven “mandate” for many women based on an underlying lingering evolutionary-based need to procreate? A process that hijacks all reason and critical thinking?

    Or is it a combination of that biological drive and the myriad social pressure/expectations culminating in a laser-like focus on procreation?

    I don’t know, but I noticed similar things going on in my peer group when I was in my late twenties/mid-thirties and in some cases, beyond those ages. Women who had seemed relatively normal before suddenly would catch “baby fever” and it was bye-bye to the person they once were, almost chillingly Stepford-wife-style.

  2. grumpyoldnurse · September 1, 2016

    I did get baby fever when I was that age, and when I was trying to conceive, it did take up a lot of my attention. But, I tried to remember that other people had other stuff going on. Looking back on it now, it was very weird. I mean, I’m glad I have my children, and I do feel that my life is richer for having them in it, but they are not all of my life.

    I think it’s a combination of biology and social pressure. I kind of envy women who don’t have that pressure!

    • joannadeadwinter · September 1, 2016

      I’m very fond of children myself, and enjoy spending time with babies. I have friends who are mothers and I go out of my way to help them and their children because they *are* my friends. The thing is reciprocity. I know that if I needed a break caring for my father, they would step in in a heartbeat, kids and all. I am a supportive friend but I am not a slave.

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 1, 2016

        A sensible stance, and I applaud you for it.

        The thing is, and this may sound trite, but there are children who need loving homes. Now, adoption isn’t exactly like popping round to the SPCA and picking up a kitten, but why not consider it? Especially if you are spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments?

      • joannadeadwinter · September 1, 2016

        Exactly. If you can do the IVF clusterfuck, you can do the adoption equivalent. It comes down to ownership, a very male concept, and commodities, another male concept. Its gotta be mine and it’s gotta be top notch. No damaged goods from inferiors, no way!

        You will find, as you read my work, that I can’t stand “wifenmummies” but not to worry, I do not consider you one of them. I will, soon, be writing a post distinguishing wives/mothers from wifenmummies.

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 1, 2016

        Not to worry! If you did consider me a wifenmummie, I’d be interested in discussing it with you, since I’ve never met a purity test I can’t fail. 🙂

        Also, I’ve been purusing your blog, and trying very hard to not necro too many threads! Very enjoyable visit I’m having, too.

      • joannadeadwinter · September 1, 2016

        Please, keep visiting and keep talking! It gets lonely up in Maine. 😉

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 1, 2016

        Thank-you! I intend to!

  3. emilygoddess · September 2, 2016

    Found your blog thanks to grumpyoldnurse, and as a childfree woman I’m looking forward to more posts on this topic – but I’m also psyched to meet another Mainer! I don’t live there any more but the place you grew up is kind of always your home, you know?

    • joannadeadwinter · September 2, 2016

      I actually was born and raised in New Hampshire and my parents were born and raised in Mass, but I’m definitely a New Englander, now and forever. And I will be writing many more posts on this topic!

  4. k.jane · October 22

    You should totally write more posts like this because it is very refreshing to read!

    It is a shame that with the woman who was getting fertility treatments, that no one told her that there’s nothing wrong with her and that her husband is an ass for making her think she’s a failure as a wife. Instead, they are all reinforcing her beliefs and reinforcing patriarchy. Fertility treatments are dangerous too and can cause sciatic endometriosis and cancer. Of course, they don’t like to talk about it. (Gee, who would have thought that dosing yourself with a high level of xeno-estrogens and progesterones could be dangerous!)

    I am not British and currently don’t have a strong opinion either way on Brexit, but I agree that “designer babies” is a really selfish reason to be against it.

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