Wife material concept keeps women in patriarchal chains

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Dingaan Mokebe and Vathiswa Ndara play husband and wife in Muvhango. The writer questions the concept of a wife material. /Veli Nhlapo
Dingaan Mokebe and Vathiswa Ndara play husband and wife in Muvhango. The writer questions the concept of a wife material. /Veli Nhlapo

It's Women's Month, and I'm reminded of how young women are encouraged to weave themselves into a wholesome silky wife material.

A cloth especially designed to keep their men warm and grounded, woven from strong threads that will capture a man, secure him and tie him down.

Our society is invested so much in the wife material concept it is reinforced with scriptures and reiterated as the ultimate qualification for any woman to earn the lifelong affection of a man. You must be a wife material, or else you are headed for a lonesome life of rejection and loathing. It is prescriptive. It is above all, precious.

Meanwhile, the upkeep of the wife material is quite daunting. Forget the domestic chores and responsibilities of raising children that are inherent to any domestic household.

There is added pressure for the woman who is wife material to go an extra mile and literally be a humble, God-fearing-bipolar-hyperactive-psycho-obsessive lover with a great smile and ready-made motivational quotes to uplift her husband.

Yes, all of that woven into one bale of goodness she wraps herself in for the duration of her marriage.

That is, till death.

She prays for her husband, administrating a non-existent relationship between him and God. Noticed how many women go to church without their spouses?

She is careful around him, allowing his ego to thrive. She walks besides him, only a step behind so as to allow him to lead. She is humble and coy, careful not to appear to be overshadowing him in any manner.

She is strong, but definitely not as strong as her man. She needs him for protection and guidance. She might yell at the kids, screaming out all her frustrations, then when their father comes back home, she is all cried out and smiling. It's all too much!

That wife material is bound to wear out and tear. It will wrinkle from kneeling through all those prayers. Some discolouration here and there, from all the tears that dripped onto it. Blood stains from the confrontations unspoken of.

Overstretching to accommodate all stereotypes around being a wife.

Perhaps women need to reconsider the need to be perfectly dressed as flawless partners for men. The truth is, we are desperate to be seen as a wife material so we can be married off to men with no readiness regime for being equally capable spouses.

There is no such thing as a husband material. Yet, here we are handing over our precious selves to men who have no idea how to handle a bale of good silk.

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