Can We Talk About This Garbage?

[Content Note: Misogyny; classism.]

So, the Guardian published an anonymously authored letter from a dude titled "A letter to my wife, who won't get a job while I work myself to death."

It was subtitled: "The letter you always wanted to write." Sure.

Anyway. This dude is real mad that his wife won't get a job. By which he means a paid job. Because if you already guessed that they have kids for whom she's the primary caregiver, give yourself a gold star!

But obviously this lady is a reeeeeeeal bitch, because she refuses to take on a second job while this guy works himself to death (!!!) in a mine. Just kidding. At a lawfirm. Because, in his own words, "I want you to work so I can get a different position and we can still maintain a similar standard of living."

Does his ungrateful wife want to maintain the same standard of living? Who knows! Who cares, amirite? The point is that this guy does, and it's his wife's duty, if she loves him, to share that goal. Or support it, even if she doesn't.

The best, bar none, response I read to this was Prof. Tressie McMillan Cottom's, on Facebook, which I'm sharing with her permission.

It's such a beautiful deconstruction, in every way, but this part is especially terrific:
Part of that "lifestyle" he's so hot to maintain are children that reflect his economic and social investment in them. Therefore, it would have to be a good school for good careers that his peers would recognize as such. Those things don't just happen. They have to be managed. As he admits to working an ungodly amount of hours and only nods minimally at "helping out" at home, it's reasonable to assume that managing that process is his wife's responsibility. And that doesn't include the transportation, networking, relationship building, scheduling required to get and keep two middle class status-striving kids in music lessons, sports teams, language lessons, tutoring, community service, orthodontist appointments, healthy eating (to maintain physical appearance of middle class, high status), and so on.

All of that sounds like a job. A job that requires his wife hang out with those friends he dismisses as ladies who lunch. Because who knows the word on the new school, new teacher, new requirements for entry into the good life if not the social circle of other parents who manage these things full time? One man's lunching lady is another man's status manager.

The dude's letter ends thus: "But mostly I want you to get a job because I want to feel loved."

If, indeed, this dude doesn't feel loved, then I wonder why it is that he's staying in this marriage. Could it be, perhaps, that he's getting something else out of it? Like someone who is managing his entire home life while he works to maintain a lifestyle he cannot abide to abandon?

In which case, maybe it should be as obvious to him—as it is to the rest of us—that his wife already has a job.

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