The ol' ball and chain am I right. Gotta go back to the wife. *shivers*
You know… the woman you made a commitment to love and cherish for the rest of your life.
There's a startling trend, particularly in media and comedy where hating your wife is not only OK but extremely normalized. Intense resentment and even hatred towards one's spouse has been ingrained in American culture for decades. The classic sitcom, cartoon, and even children's story almost always involve the nagging wife and the heroic husband who puts up with it all. However, this representation of love and marriage is not only cynical and inaccurate, but it also exposes a wider issue within society—we hate women.
A prime example of typical "wife humor" is easily identifiable in just about any popular male comic's set.
Many mainstream comedians make a living off the supposedly awful treatment they receive from their wives, who god-forbid just want their husband to participate equally in the marriage. Louis C.K., though now not only divorced but publicly ostracized for being a sexual predator, is known to make references to his wife in many of his sketches. In a 2005 comedy sketch, he joked about the complications of masturbation when you're married:
"My wife's like, "Well, do you think about me when you're doing that?" What are you fucking high? Why would I do that? I can think about anybody, that's magical. Why the fuck would I, I'm married to you? Do women really think their husbands are going, "Oooh, my wife? Oh yeah, that's fucking hot. Oh yeah, picking her up at the airport and getting yelled at, yeah that's fucking hot."
Within the same joke, not only has he derided his wife and admitted he would rather imagine someone other than her, the woman he married, when fantasizing sex, he also fell back on the classic nagging wife trope to complete the joke.
While most might argue, well it's just harmless exaggeration to make the joke, he probably doesn't actually hate his wife, I would like to point out that not only did she divorce him three years after this bit aired, but Louis CK also admitted to sexual misconduct in 2017 and was dropped from many networks as a result.
When mainstream comics make a habit of using wives and girlfriends as the butt of their jokes, pop culture picks up on this and emulates the behavior in order to create their own content.
Media companies targeted at college students often use the same girlfriend hating humor standard created by these comics in order to be relatable. This content, targeted towards a generation beginning to figure out relationships and think seriously about their future creates an unfortunate and ugly cycle. Men are encouraged to be "manly" and "masculine" in relationships which equate to showing little or no affection towards their female counterparts in front of their peers. Showing affection towards your significant other, the person who is supposed to be the object of your affection, is seen as weak.
Men who outwardly are kind, affectionate, and respectful to their girlfriends and wives are said to be "whipped" and jokes are even made surrounding the loss of a man's freedoms when he gets into a relationship.
A viral tweet trend that circulated shows the truth in how men act in public vs. when they're around their partners:
While the tweet is humorous and light-hearted, it exposes the deep problem that denies men the opportunity to be openly affectionate towards women. Men are pushed from all directions to hate women, and so it's no wonder that they then approach relationships from this perspective. Society has told men that not only is it okay to hate and deride your significant other publicly, but that you should, or else you're under the thumb of a woman, and that is the worst possible thing you could be.
Media sites like Barstool Sports all have perpetuated the girlfriend-hating narrative with branding like Saturdays are for the boys.
While scrolling through these pages, I often find that almost every other video is something depicting women in a negative fashion, whether it be a girlfriend yelling at her boyfriend for most likely doing something wrong, or girls being derided for being too sexual, not being sexual enough, nagging, you name it. All classic tropes of misogyny, repackaged, updated, and disseminated to a generation of young people beginning to form their own worldview.
The hateful depiction of women is not all fun and games.
While many men just view this as harmless fun, they need to be reminded that 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner, 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner, 1 in 5 women in the United States have been sexually assaulted, and 50% of female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner. Harmless fun is only so harmless until a man takes this popular and promoted hatred of women a little too seriously and takes it out on the woman who has committed to being in a relationship with him. Many of these men do not think partner violence is something they could ever be capable of. Not all men, until it is. Not you, until it is.
It's time to stop tolerating this attitude towards women.
The nagging wife, the bitter girlfriend, and annoying party girl, none of these women deserve the hatred of men they receive in the media. Disliking a woman for her personality, for things she has done for you, for being a downright bad person is okay. Hating women for simply being women is what leads to thousands of us dying annually and hundreds of thousands more being domestically abused, raped, stalked, and threatened. It's time to start challenging misogyny in popular media. While women might have more rights and freedoms than ever, misogyny is still present in almost every aspect of popular media, and it is affecting women's lives every single day.
It's OK to poke fun at your spouse, it's not okay to publicly espouse hate towards her in order to get a laugh.
It's OK to dislike a woman — it is violent and dangerous to dislike women.