Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh here we go! A new word everybody! WINGSPOUSE(tm)

Alrighty, not only have a found a new term to replace our decrepit and roundly-hated trailing spouse, but it also offers a new direction! That is, no direction at all but to support your husband.  WINGSPOUSEe(tm)* is an executive help-meet, but who cares about concise vocabulary, when you don't need to worry about a pesky career anymore!
Can I be a wingspouse™ partner and still have a career?It’s possible to be employed outside of the home and still act like a wingspouse™ in some capacity. A few wingspouses are lucky enough to have a career that directly benefits the executive spouse. However, a true wingspouse™ is a full-time and equal partner to the executive. She enjoys being professionally challenged, but finds a separate career difficult because of executive career expectations, time demands, relocations, or family responsibilities. That’s just the nature of the beast. If this sounds like you, then you probably have the makings of a wingspouse.
Isn't WINGSPOUSE(tm) just another way of saying a woman's place is at her husband's side? Or the kitchen? Maybe I'm looking at this too harshly, but the solution here is not to find your own identity but to find a way to more successfully carve it out of his:
She enjoys the success of the executive’s career and actively participates in that success using her own unique set of skills.
Oy.  Over on the LA Times blog, one writer seems to think this is AWESOME (since when did married women not think being a good wife was important? Feminism doesn't mean marry a man just to torture him).
Wouldn't it be better for her spouse and children if she were to opt for a more traditional role — full-time wife, full-time mom, full-time writer of thank-you notes — a choice that continues to be embraced by many forces in our culture?
My head and my desk are having a party right now.  This is what I was talking about a few days about about not being able to surmount these ideas of traditional roles if I take one.  What also irks me is that it assumes a one-income household is possible for most people.

Good on her for making the website and trying to sell this idea, but WINGSPOUSE(tm) makes me want to WINGSPEW.

*It's all caps or go home. This website is crazy-pants.


  1. UGH!

    I just have one question: Since all the pronouns referring to the WINGSPOUSE is "she", why don't we just call this person WINGWIFE. Or, better yet, wife?

  2. Whu--whut? Or at least, that was my reaction before I scrolled further down. I apologize for thinking you would use the phrase "executive spouse" seriously.

    This is some straight 19th century BS. There's an awesome book (awesome for a historian, at least) called Home and Work by Jeanne Boydston, which is basically about how this kind of talk took over in the 19th century and why women's labor (ie, caring, nurturing, reproductive labor) became un-valued as not-labor. But I guess the 19th century (and a lot of the 20th) was a great time if you were a rich white d00d.

  3. @Barefoot I know-- this is just dressing up something that already exists and making it sound more palatable.

    @Eileen I was going for a Sady Doyle-esque rant style. Also-- if this duder has a PA, isn't his wife going to annoy the hell out of them?

    I'm going to check our library for that book RIGHT NOW.


    Crap! We don't have it. :(

    @Freeze-dried I second your grrrr.

  4. The real outrage here is that person is so terribly inconsistent in the use of her trademark symbol.

    However, I think that her website is redeemed by the fact that the title of one guest post by a guy is "Manswers to Wingspouse Criticism"

    And there's also this:

    I kind of feel sorry for her.

  5. I would do a series of posts on this particular monstrosity, but I don't want to be mean. Maybe I should think more about being my husband's flight attendant.

    Do you think she wrote the "Manswers" post herself? Maybe I should ghostwrite some guest posts.

  6. You know, that's a good idea. I could have a lot of fun inviting some "guest contributors" to my blog, such as...

    -Tom Dearborne: family man carpenter, city councilman at-large, homespun working-class hero, and closet agitator for radical anarchist causes

    -Oscar Meddlestonbury: effete and sweaty conservative commentator, prone to lapsing into fits of offensive hyperbole followed by self-doubt and guilt-stricken public admission of own wrongness

    and of course, Gay Girl in Damascus


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