Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Superior Wife

I love the show "White Collar."  Partly because it is clever, humorous, and interesting, and partly because Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay are two of the most charming men ever to set foot on television.  But mostly I love it because of the relationship between nice-guy FBI agent, Peter Burke (played by Tim DeKay), and his wife, Elizabeth, (the former Kelly Kapowski, Tiffani Thiessen) who, gratefully, missed the Hollywood Size Zero Memo and LOOKS LIKE A NORMAL PERSON (well, a stunningly beautiful normal person, anyway).

Ahhhh.  Refreshing.

But what is most refreshing is the way these two married people treat each other.  They flirt.  They date.  They don't play ridiculous games or drag their marriage around like a ball and chain.  They love each other and they take their marriage seriously, which means there is no griping about each other in public and no obnoxious plots built around mind-reading and marital guessing games.

This is quite a departure from most other television shows these days which consist of a buffoon for a husband and a long-suffering wife who is always smarter and more capable than her husband and who lives out her marriage vows in a state of moral and intellectual superiority.

Think about it.  Have you ever seen the husband portrayed as the smart one?  I haven't.

This is not to say that TV husbands (or husbands in general) should be (or are) smarter than their wives.  But why can't the husband and wife both be smart?  Why can't we go back to the days of Cliff and Clair Huxtable, who each had enough brains to match wits without trading damaging barbs?

Instead, we've abandoned our quest for spousal equality in pursuit of notarized feminine superiority.  And it's not just on TV.  Hang around on Facebook for five minutes and you're bound to come across something like this:





And my personal favorite:


Ladies, if you really think your husband is as stupid or infantile as these memes suggest, why on earth did you marry him?

Your husband is your partner, not your child.  And if it's a happy marriage you are looking for, you won't find it if you insist on wearing a Superiority Crown.  Take a page from Elizabeth Burke's book and treat your husband with kindness.  Don't disparage or demean him, especially not in public.  You chose him, remember?

Don't make him regret choosing you.

12 comments:

JujuBean said...

Amen. A refreshing reminder that equal means equal, not a wife insisting that she be treated like a princess. But men are not without blame. Have you seen this youtube clip about the 'stupidest wife ever'? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhm7-LEBznk. I literally screamed at this guy. And given that they're travelling from Logan to Boise, chances are better than average that they're church members. Grrr!

Bonnie said...

Yep, I did see it. In fact, I blogged about it. :) http://overlys.blogspot.com/2012/03/i-now-pronounce-you-dumb-and-dumber.html

COOLWHIP said...

There was the whole generation of sitcoms where the men were idiots and the women were always having to clean up the messes they made. Just watch any episode of Everyone Loves Raymond. And what do people do? They mimic what they see on TV, like that's a good role model. I always cringe when I see husband bashing. That's not our job. If we supported them and quit finding fault, marriages would last longer, children would function better, and society as a whole would be better.

Braden said...

Thank you for posting this. Raising a daughter, I have tried so hard to keep her away from garbage that objectifies women and I pray she'll find a man who has avoided that. Now, I am trying to keep my boys away from the garbages that infantilizes and ridicules men. I hope they will find women who have not absorbed this. In my mind, objectification of women and infantilization of men are equally ugly and degrading.

Jill said...

(Have you read any Berenstain Bears stories? Same thing. They may be improving in recent years, but I don't know for sure.) Somewhere it became politically incorrect to make women dumb, and the only way Hollywood could think of doing that was to make the men dumb. THANK YOU!

Luisa Perkins said...

I could not agree more. Well written.

Bonnie said...

@COOLWHIP, I agree, husband (and male) bashing is really damaging, which is why it is a frequent blog topic of mine. We need to take the issue much more seriously.

@Braden, you said it perfectly. It's time we decry the infantilization of men as vehemently as we do the objectification of women.

Janet Kay Jensen said...

Absolutely. Women are objectified and men are dumbed down. It's not good for either gender, and certainly not good for kids to see either. Loved your post.

Jenn Wilks said...

Jujubean, I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but the actual guy who filmed that clip and posted it never called his wife stupid as far as I could see and defended her in the comments when other people called her stupid. He says that she is actually really smart and is a college graduate.

Bonnie said...

@Jenn, As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter whether or not he actually called his wife stupid (or if he actually thinks his wife is the smartest woman on earth). The fact is that he presented her as "stupid", and gave the general public the opportunity to tear her down. Not cool.

Abby Scorsonelli said...

Have you watched Last Man Standing? (I love Tim Allen.) Reminds me a bit of the Cosby Show. Check it out!

Jeff Emilie Lynn said...

Hi Bonnie! I know I've never commented before, but I love reading your blog. I, too, love White Collar (for so many of it's elements) and remember an episode where Elizabeth Burke said, to Neil about her marriage, 'We're not like most couples - we work.' It would be lovely if more couples were modeled that way. How about having a husband come home from work to his wife and kids and help her finish dinner or set the table or play with the kids while she gives him a grateful smile? Or have the wife telling him just to relax for awhile because she can tell he's had a long day? What would people think? Keep blogging, witty girl!