Wifey material is a term that refers to a woman who has the qualities of a good wife. Much like husband material, is a term that refers to a man that has the qualities of a good husband.
These attributes are beyond physical appearances. For example, a woman can be attractive and beautiful, but still lack the attributes of a good wife. Similarly, this same principle applies to men.
Of course, these attributes are subjective and may differ from one individual to another. However, in this article, we’ll focus on wifey material as a concept, not so much on the attributes. We’ll look at its development and influencers. And, whether it should still exist.
It’s not clear whether wifey material is entirely a thing of the past. The new roles of men and women – particularly in relationships- are changing the dynamics of families and society.
As we move closer to an egalitarian society, the attributes that society had long ago set for a wifey material are becoming obsolete.
The first question: is it only society that sets these rules? Or are there other influencers? Say, like biological influencers.
A brief history of wifey material
Typical wifey material
During the early days before modernization, women were still brought up to be wives and mothers. They grew up knowing that their main role in society is to look after children and husbands at home.
From the time they were young, they were taught how to take care of the family, and they mainly engaged in familial activities such as cooking, doing laundry, and looking after the younger ones.
It was easy for a man to choose a woman and vice versa, as all women by default were wifey material. Furthermore, men also knew exactly, what to do as husbands during this time period. In other words, marriage was mainly a reproductive social arrangement, often involving the extended family.
Modern wifey material
After the second-wave feminism movement came along, the feminist movement gained more momentum, and that’s when things started really changing.
Civilization empowered women. Thus, realized their rights to contribute to education, boosting the economy, and being equal to men. There started the famous saying that goes “what a man can do a woman can do better.”
Here, females’ education level was added to the marriage dimension. Thus, a wifey material is now educated, which in turn affected how men and women match in a marital relationship.
Post-modern wifey material
As technology continued to advance, the feminist’s movement spread everywhere in the world. People started adopting their roles in society from traditional life to the modern one.
No sooner had women become economically independent, than the divorce rates got higher. Although this wasn’t a negative outcome per se, more women wanted to become independent of men, especially abusive men. However, It was at this juncture when the problems of feminism started to manifest.
Now females’ societal role was also a part of the marriage dimension. Thus, a wifey material had another main role in society, besides having children.
The change of gender roles and division of labor in couple relationships lead to what is called the marriage squeeze.
Roles in society, an innate preference?
Gender-equality is a heated debate. With one side, asserting that although, wealthier countries have more gender-equal societies. Thus, the difference in occupational roles between men and women, are based on their interests, rather than economic factors. Nevertheless, females tend to show a lower interest in STEM areas compared to males. Notwithstanding that boys and girls have similar achievements in STEM subjects—with girls often excelling. Yet, this may suggest that women innately differ from men in their preferences.
These findings were called the ”gender-equality paradox.”Needless to say that they wreaked havoc.
Equality of opportunity. Not there yet.
The other side of the argument believes that equality of opportunity is still far from being materialized— confusing it with equality of outcome sometimes. They observe that women still have limited choices of roles in society due to factors, such as; government policies and the ancient patriarchal system. As opposed to their innate preferences being the reason for their role choices.
The rationale here is that to create a flexible system that allows women to combine successful societal roles with family life, a lot is still missing. For example, child care and maternity leave policies in gender-equal countries may create a glass ceiling for women in many professions. Those policies are desirable, Nonetheless, they affect women’s abilities to reach top-level positions in society, further limiting their choices.
Today, women in the world play a pivotal role in developing the economy and society. Many women are even serving as leaders in society across the world.
The society has given them an opportunity to feel free and do whatever a man can do to some degree. However, many women still think they can do more. Particularly in modeling leadership, and strengthening corporate development programs to move more women forward.
Wifey material, hit the road
Successful women want to be a wifey material no more, no more, no more, no more. What you say?
Well, the argument is that maybe ”wifey material” is based on patriarchy and gender inequality. Therefore, women who are young, and have demanding and exciting jobs, aka, executive women, would look at wifey material as degrading and sexist. They want to enjoy their careers. Although this still comes at a cost, especially when executive women want to have children.
The maternal mother?
Whether women biologically get the urge to have babies, or it’s simply a cultural input— the notion that a woman is not complete without being a mother. Nevertheless, if women stop wanting babies, then, well, that’ the end of humanity— not just wifey material, right?
Some people favorably agree. Watch the video “Saving the planet by not having any kids” done by BBC News.
A wifey material woman, who can’t work and look for a living for herself is definitely a thing of the past. However, this wifey material woman has evolved, and women shouldn’t feel degraded or offended by this term. Having said that, a social change that combines successful societal roles with family lives is the way to move forward. Children are blessings, and they should not become burdens in the pursuit of success. Or worse, a thing of the past.
A quote from Victor Joseph Étienne de Jouy
“Without women, the beginning of our life would be helpless; the middle, devoid of pleasure; and the end, of consolation.”