I first read about The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-First Century by Anne Kingston, in the comments of my favorite “wedding” blog: A Practical Wedding. I’m starting to do more reading about marriage and weddings as ours approaches and I was intrigued by the book.
This was the first book I finished for my new To Be Read Challenge, and I was disappointed I didn’t like it more. Kingston looks at the portrayal of wives in modern day Western society, but I felt like that some of her discussions on inequities applied equally to unmarried women (the chapter on abused wives for instance, could have applied to any woman in an abusive relationship). The chapter I liked most was “The Unwife” which dealt with how society treated unmarried women and the tendency to view these women as pre-wives, women whose marital status would eventually change. I think this is definitely something worth exploring further – why we treat women in particular as if a relationship is the ultimate goal.
I think some of the book also did not resonate with me because although I am getting married this year, there will be two wives in our marriage and no husbands, so discussions of the gender dynamics in marriage, while interesting and deserving of exploration don’t really reflect the thinking that I am doing in my life about what it means to become a wife.