My first mistake was typing an ‘f’ into my browser.
My second was hitting the first suggested site: Facebook.
My third was actually bothering to click on an article entitled, “20 Things you should never do in front of your husband” on thestir.cafemom.
I’m not sure why this popped up in my feed. I mean, yeah, okay, I frequent cafes. And sure, I’m the mom friend. But that doesn’t mean that I want to read articles actually written for moms.
Facebook, if you’re going to invade my privacy and use my personal Internet history in order to advertise to me, do it right.
Anyways, there I was, idly scrolling through Facebook, (trying to think of something to write about for this very blog), and I came this across the aforementioned dumb article for married women. So, naturally, I clicked on it. But before you judge me for A) falling for clickbait and B) Therefore encouraging Facebook’s likelihood of showing me more “cafe mom” articles, let me explain.
This article gave me a feeling. A certain kind of feeling. You know, that oh-this-will-most-certainly-piss-me-off sort of sentiment. To justify my desire to engage with this moronic, algorithm-generated Internet B.S., I told myself that it could help me come up with something to write. Like, it might be so insanely moronic that it actually inspires me. And I kind of thought, maybe I should do it.
So I did.
Let’s be clear, “20 Things to Never do in Front of Your Husband” reeked of the patriarchy. Before I even started reading, I could already tell that Alfonsina Storni was convulsing in her grave. But once I did, it just got so much worse. I wanted to bang my head against the wall.
What’s one thing you should never do in front of your husband? Belch. Why? It’s not sexy.
And of course, ladies, your role as a wife is to be seen as a sexual object. If your husband recognizes that you are human, that you too get air trapped in your stomach, and sees that sameness that you share, then you have failed. Every waking moment you spend with him, hide your biological processes. If he knows that you don’t burp glitter, he’ll leave you.
And without a man’s approval, of course, you’ll be nothing.
The list went on. Never be sick to your stomach in front of your husband. Do not allow him to hold your hair. Do not allow him inside the bathroom until after you have cleaned it and aired it out.
Have you, author of this article, ever thrown up? Because I have. And let me tell you, the last thing I’m worried about when heaving over a toilet bowl is my sex appeal. I may not have a husband, but if I did, I would not be fussing over him and what he thinks of me when I’m losing my lunch.
And other list items? Your husband shouldn’t see you floss, exercise, wear a facial mask, drive poorly, clip your toenails, or witness any hair removal whatsoever. But why? The principle idea dominating all of this? It’s not sexy.
I couldn’t find the name of the article’s author, but I could tell from the writing that it was a woman, because she was referring to her own experiences in her marriage. I doubt she knew that she was writing a very important article when she wrote it, but she was. The article is actively perpetuating a culture that tells women their worth is based off of how sexy they appear to men. In short, she is buying into the idea that without men’s approval, women are worthless. So if being objectified is the key to that approval, so be it. Make sure not to floss in front of your husband, because necessary dental hygiene apparently makes you look like an animal. That’s the analogy the article used to describe a woman flossing. She looks like an animal.
Ladies, you have two options. Number one, sex object. Number two, animal.
My preference? I want the nonexistent option number 3. I want human. (But apparently I’m actually, like, a panda bear or something.)
If only I could talk to the woman that wrote this article. If only I could tell her how these ideas hold women back, how they damage us. When we invite men and other women to adopt these views, we just hold back progress. And with the circulation of articles like this one, articles that flex the muscle of patriarchy, that reinforce constraints on women, it’s no wonder that men like Harvey Weinstein manage to get away with abuse. If a woman is no more than a sexual object, she’s free to be used and abused, no moral problem. Right?
I mean, I just read an article that told me to floss with the door shut and avoid any man that might be attracted to me when I’m sweaty. Translation: Hide your humanity from the likes of men so they don’t have to acknowledge it.
And in real life, these things don’t actually break relationships apart. If they do, well, that’s a good thing. Because you shouldn’t be with someone that thinks you’re less than human, or that you exist for their pleasure. Women are only embarrassed about these things because men told them to be.
And until you watch your friends fussing over makeup because they are going to be in the presence of someone male, or seeing an entire conversation about sweat or periods or burping or bras come to an immediate halt in the presence of just one man, don’t tell me this isn’t important. Don’t tell me that we, as a society, don’t value women any less.
Think about it. What happens when a man realizes a woman isn’t a sexual object, when he becomes friends with her and realizes that they are more same than different? She becomes “one of the guys”. She’s an honorary male, because, goddamn it, we can’t give women the title of ordinary humans. So we call her “bro” and tell her that “she’s not like other girls”.
By the way, can someone please, please tell me what the hell is wrong with the other girls? They are my friends. They are strong, beautiful people that contain multitudes. They are intelligent and they are leaders and they are scientists and writers and artists and comedians and businesswomen and economists and lawyers and politicians and engineers and computer programmers and role models.
I want to be like the other girls. They’re amazing. They’re diverse. They come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and ethnicities and religions and races and walks of life. And I promise you that each and every one of them burps, and some wear face masks and I’m under the impression that the vast majority clip their toenails too.
I’m going to end this with a quote from the author, blogger, and editior Erin McKean. It goes like this.
“You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’”
Peace out or whatever.