Book review

Review of The Meaning of Wife By Anne Kingston

The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-First Century by Anne Kingston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With women moving out of the home into the career world, the definition of wife has changed. One of the main reasons this book received three stars is it is dated. It was written in 2004, and because it uses social examples, the information is often irrelevant to the new generation of wife. Seriously, the first chapter starts with the author watching Princess Diane get married. Even women thirty years old weren’t even born yet. There are so many other references to Hollywood’s interpretation of wife that the book uses as fact that are sickening. Hollywood is selling something not the basis in which most people live their life. Seriously, we may have watched ‘Sex in the City’ but that doesn’t mean we want that much drama for ourselves. I nearly gagged on the chapter, to which Ms. Kingston writes of the White Bride. A bride is not a wife, it is a commercial idea and any woman, who has been around a married couple, is at fault for blinding themselves that marriage doesn’t take work and it is a continuous party as the wedding.
The only slightly educational chapters were “Sex and the Married Woman” and “What’s a Wife Worth”. Sex and marriage. Where to begin? Women can be sexy until they get married. But then, lingering ideas of women being their spouse’s property still exist. Meaning that after they are married, women should only be sexy for their husbands. Covering themselves in a way that would keep other men from looking at “the goods”. The wife should be a sex pot in the bedroom even when exhausted or frustrated at the end of a long day. It is sad that after all the advancements made that a woman feels less of a sexy woman when she marries. How to change it? Communication or avoid using wife at all seems to be the author’s take.
Evaluating the worth of a wife has recently become a topic in ecomonics and in the households, where women are outsourcing “wifely duties”. But it is not just cooking, cleaning, kid juggling that are involved. Even universities are paying wives as they offer their services as hostesses to fundraisers, volunteer time, attend meetings, and even create their own network that encourages their husband’s careers and businesses. Wives are beginning to say no to these things as they develop their own careers but several businesses are realizing the value of these women behind the scenes of their male employees as they lose their support. We are currently realizing this as the thought has been brought forward to pay the First Lady for her work rather than just assume it is her duty to encourage the career and policies of her husband and the country. Of course, because of the date of the book, the author does not cover this.
Would I recommend this book? Not likely, especially for a reader with traditional upbringing. It’s sheer volume of social, hollywood references make it out of touch with a good number of wives or future brides. A wife should write her own definition to her role as it is the role in which only she is the key actor.

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