“My Wife”

I had one of those everyday sexism recognition moments this morning while I was driving in to work. It was a subtle, seemingly trivial thing so internalized that I had never noticed it. Until I noticed it.

When interacting with coworkers (regardless of where I worked), I noticed a marked difference in the way that male and female coworkers talk about their romantic partners. Women I’ve worked with almost exclusively mention their spouses by name. Men I’ve worked with almost exclusively refer to their partners as “my wife.” I don’t even know the names of my male coworker’s partners; I’ve worked here three months. I knew the name of a female coworker’s in the first week.

It is incredibly subtle, but the implicit message is clear. Women’s partners are full autonomous people with names. Men’s partners are defined only as how they relate to them.

Coverture: not as dead as you thought.

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