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I Now Pronounce You Wusband and Hife

Posted on March 6 2010 7:52 pm
Jenn escaped blue state academia for redder pastures in the South. Follow her on Twitter and read more of her work at
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What does it mean to be a husband? Newlywed Carrie Sloan isn’t exactly sure, but it’s got something to do with leaving dirty socks on the floor, bat-out-of-hell driving habits, and a man-sized butt print on a La-Z-Boy recliner.

Not that she buys into gender stereotypes or anything.

And what about being a wife?  Sloan, the editor-in-chief of Lemondrop, AOL’s lifestyle site for women says:

For me, it conjures up centuries of well-worn stereotypes: Women in bonnets bent over hot stoves, and ’60s Stepford-types handing over martinis with tight smiles — nothing resembling the thoroughly-2010 relationship I have with the guy I love.

That’s why Sloan says the word “wife” was her “single biggest fear about marriage.”  She agonized over whether a trip down the aisle would force her to give up lead-footed driving and a bedroom floor strewn with her socks, essential qualities of her “inner husband.”

How, she wondered, can a couple of “progressive” newlyweds possibly negotiate this mixed up, muddled up, shook up world of oppressive gender roles without betraying their feminist values?

Simple: abolish the terms husband and wife and replace them with wusband and hife. “These labels, at least, allow for a little overlap: A division of labor based on what we’re each best at, not just what’s assigned us by virtue of chromosome,” explains Sloan.

Seems like somebody decided to answer Mary Daly’s call for a feminist linguistic revolution a couple of decades too late.

Now that Sloan has coined these stereotype-slaying new labels, she can spend carefree evenings in the kitchen and her wusband can be the “human Mapquest” of their marriage.  And when they’re bored with caricaturing traditional marriage, she can revel in keeping her maiden name while her wusband does the dishes and laundry.

Isn’t their post-modern relationship awesome? (Try not to laugh too hard.)

This is easy-bake feminism at its most ridiculous. Swap a couple of letters, topple the patriarchy! Boy oh boy, er, I mean, girl oh girl, feminism is hard work.

Sloan and her wusband would have been quite the trailblazers back when American women were fighting for suffrage. But it’s 2010 and few couples in the United States feel socially obligated to conform to rigid marital roles (though they do try to stick to labels that don’t sound as emasculating as “wusband.”)

Sloan ends her piece by saying, “I see no reason why we shouldn’t bust out of molds that are already broken.”  Quite the rebel, that Carrie Sloan, shoring up her feminist credentials by striking a blow against an opponent that doesn’t exist.  She rails against the terms husband and wife because it’s easy and safe. And meanwhile, she ignores the women around the world facing genuine inequality and oppression while she fantasizes about her next move in Feminism: The Role Playing Game.

Hat tip: Cassy Fiano


Follow Jenn Q. Public on Twitter and read more of her work at

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