On Slate’s recent Dear Prudence video podcasts, Emily Yoffe, who plays the role as Prudence, was giving advice to a pregnant woman who was suffering from nausea while at work. Yoffe said:
Oh yes, I remember in my third month my husband was heating up Chinese food for dinner. I made him eat it on the porch.
I hate this. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Note how Yoffe said that she “made her husband eat on the porch.”
Why perpetuate the stereotype of the bitchy, bossy, housewife? It’s my hope that Yoffe simply asked her husband to eat on the porch, rather than “making him.”
But I hear this kind of talk quite often.
I told my husband to do this.
I made him do that.
I warned him about this.
I sent him to do that.
I even hear husbands buying into the stereotype, talking about how they are going to “get in trouble” for this and that.
Get in trouble? Did these guys marry their mothers?
I don’t believe for a minute that all of these wives are truly as domineering, insistent and intractable as they claim to be. Marriage is a partnership, a process of compromise, a progression of give and take, and I like to think it works this way more often than not.
I’d like to think that the stereotype of the impossibly demanding, unrelenting wife is more myth than reality.
But with women like Emily Yoffe bragging about their propensity to order their husbands around, pregnant or otherwise, this is a stereotype that will not die anytime soon.