Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Exploring the "Wif" of Wer Ond Wif

I read a really interesting (aren't they all?) post on A Practical Wedding back in January, called On Both Having & Being a Wife. The post explores a bit about what the word wife means for lesbian couples.  The comments, in the way that APW comments are wont to do, go off in all sorts of glorious directions about what terms like wife and partner mean. You should go read it all (always read the comments over there) for yourself, but in the meantime, here are some thoughts the post sparked for me.

The terms wife and husband are fine with me because they're specific, concrete. When someone says husband, I think of my Justin, not all the repressive husbands that ever were. When someone says wife, I think of myself, not a cliched 1950s housewife ideal. The honorific Mrs. is fine with me in the same way. I'm Mrs. Mylastname-Hislastname*, the only one that exists in the whole world. It's very specific to me and to my husband, who is the only Mr. Mylastname-Hislastname in the world.

All the same, I totally get the argument to use Ms. exclusively, because it intentionally applies to both single & married women and it's what I used when I was single. It's also a brilliant way to challenge people's assumptions about me, as is saying partner instead of husband (as suggested in the APW post).

I guess in the end, whatever terms feels most logical for you & your spouse is the one that's best.  I second commenter Sarah's opinion, "I am looking forward to the time when EVERYONE feels free to use meaningful terms that signify the complete import of their relationships."

hose of you who know our real names are probably thinking, what the heck did she just type?  This anonymizing shorthand is used pretty often on wedding & feminist blogs when the "taking-his-name" debate crops up.  ;)

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