This weekend, I was interviewing the longest married couples at a wedding, asking them if they had any advice for our bride and groom. One lady responded:
Do a lot of shopping. Buy lots of shoes, but keep them in the trunk of your car. Never bring more than one pair of shoes into the house at a time. Don’t ever let him know how much you’ve actually bought.
At first I found this advice amusing, and she admittedly got quite the laugh from the guests. But reflecting back upon it now, I find the advice demeaning and offensive to women. It reinforces a stereotype that women are materialistic, retail obsessed, and monetarily-focused. Why do women insist on perpetuating this stereotype with comments such as these?
I find myself harboring the same sense of disappointment and outrage when women requested Kanye West’s Golddigger and similarly degrading songs at weddings. It doesn’t take a genius to see how terribly offensive and demeaning a song like this is, yet for months women have continually asked that this song be played. I feel compelled to ask them, “Out of the tens of thousands of songs that are written and recorded each year, why would you request a song that makes women sound like greedy, selfish, single-minded money-grubbing sluts? Please don’t tell me it’s because it has a good beat.”
They often do.
I find this frustrating and disheartening. When women are continuing to request songs like Golddigger or suggest that wives spend their time shopping and hiding their purchases from their husbands, what chance is there for change?
I’m guessing that this new level of consternation has a lot to do with my daughter. While I may have found these issues unfortunate and disappointing in the past, the prospect of my daughter growing up in a world full of these demeaning, degrading and unjust attitudes is upsetting to say the least.
When they originate with and are perpetuated by women, it’s doubly upsetting.