And His Wife
The societal, human made bridge between man and women have been ringing in my ears. Louder than the ring of a cat call down the street, louder than the silence that face men daily, as loud as the lack of acceptance reigns in for millions of people that don’t necessarily fit the profile of their sex ring in.
Masculinity is a stark outburst denouncing itself from femininity. While women are made out to be incoherent and rabid emotional and unsteady, men are also made out to be solid as stone, cold as ice, abusive and objectifying. While women are preparing for war as they walk home alone, men are faced with living up to the expectations that their dicks brought for them before the day they were born. We are both a wounded and mutilated people.
Since I am a “dependa,” someone who leeches and sits on her ass all day, raking in all of the Tricare and military housing allowance benefits that my husband earns for both of us, I feel as though I have an interesting perspective on the trials and tribulations of this timeless battle of the sexes. The week I got to Spain, my husband and I were at a bar, I had my wallet because my husband left his at home, so I had the cash to pay for our drinks. As my husband asked me to pay, snickers and teasing emerged. Pinning him automatically weak and futile for having his wife pay, a woman made a comment, “ Well, its his money anyway. Not like wives actually do more than fuck for security in the military.”
And thus, my battle cry emerged.
I have a full time position accounting and recording cash flow on base for multiple facilities. I have math skills, I have logistic approaches, and I am dependent on my mind for my position. It is an office run entirely by women. Over 100,000$ dollars are moved weekly and women facilitate it. We are fierce and intelligent and that’s what warrants our worth. Jobs are a rare find on overseas bases, and I worked my ass off to work my ass off for my family. Among my job, I am enrolled to get a degree. I am constantly cautious of being labeled a free loader, because for my entire existence I was taught that women are often the ones that are the burdens, that women are needy and emotional and a problem, and the very idea of weakness stems from being a woman. I have gotten the occasional “how cute, you are being a pretend work wife all while your husband earns the real money,” comment at work, even though there is no pretend, I filled out a W2 just like anyone else. This became strikingly clear, especially in the military community. I am introduced and known as “Carter’s wife,” the premise of me being overseas revolves on the fact that intentionally or not. I belong to a man. Someone has responsibility and claim over me. In military burial grounds, wives of men who have served are placed on the back of the tombstone, with the epitaph of “And his wife.” Not warrior, not role model, not leader, but rather as a relation to a man who considerably earned his keep for himself and his wife, in life and in death.
I grew up in a divorced home. I was ultimately taught to be tough. I was taught to be a wall. It was that way in the entire scheme of my family. Throughout childhood, I abandoned femininity. I later though learned that just because I am a woman, doesn’t mean I am less worthy of anything.
However, there is just as much a problem with masculinity as there is with the ridicule of femininity. Masculinity is the very origin of homophobia and rampant sexism. “Being a man,” means athleticism, becoming emotionless and hard as stone. Emotions don’t have a place in masculine mindsets, it means ostracizing those who don’t fit the slim profile of “being a man.” It means higher suicide rates for men, it means more depression and it means more trouble. It means more violence, it means more rape. It means dominating.
Rape culture and soft-core pornography marketing are directly in profit from this notion that masculine individuals objectify those, more specifically, (and widely accepted) men over women. Women belonging to men in pornography, women being presented as vulnerable in marketing ads, women that are being presented as weaker are in the line of fire with American culture. It fuels the fire of the epidemic of sexism. Rape is in direct correlation to men who watch porn, since over 60% of young men participate in the viewing of pornography. Most of the tags included are romanticizing men dominating and violating women, with no room for the woman to be anything other than present, strictly to please men. Even Biblically, the pretense of women is there to serve men.
Young men are presented this from generations of work at hand. We as a society are told to fit in boxes and labels and when we transcend these, we are ridiculed and isolated. Our individuality is a joke, because it can be celebrated only if we are doing it correctly, if we are expressing ourselves on the grounds that align with society.
Delving into how the media and marketing affect us as separated peoples is a rabbit hole I don’t have the time for in this meager post. Every outlet. Everything further separates humanity. Simply, we are conditioned from all angles to check the boxes and keep our heads down. In short we are the products of our environment. Our children will be and our children’s children and so on. There is no mass cure for this epidemic.
I grew up a daddy’s girl. I went shooting, hunting, ATV and dirt bike riding, scuba diving, taught to be tough, taught not to cry, taught to pull myself up. I was raised playing/watching hockey and lacrosse. I grew up placing my femininity on the back burner. I was teased in school. Although I am straight, I was called a dyke, a lesbian, butch, anything and everything, because anything other than being straight and white is a bad thing, according to society. I deviated from being a little girl, ribbons and curls. Among my peers, this made it difficult to have a positive connotation to place on school and growing up. This translated into my dating life, I was (thankfully) only good for one person, and my blatant lack of regard for cultural mediation didn’t translate well for my desirability from other men. I was always the friend. The bro. Often taking part in humiliation of femininity.
Even to this day I often place hyper-femininity to the side. I take part in activities that men more so or not are associated with, video games, watching sports, drinking, swearing, lifting weights, possessing tattoos that span over areas of my body, a general disdain; these all are directly contextualized by the gender that partake in them. I am “the dude with tits” among my friends, as well as my husband. I always saw this as a compliment, and I always leaned this way in my life, because I naturally associated being anything less than a man means I am not a person. However this “phrase” still objectifies my body as a woman. It still places me in a box of being “the rare breed” and being “like the guys” and a “cool girl” because of my lack of merit for being a woman, my general lack of sympathy for other women. I saw the lack of respect for women so often and so painfully I naturally dissociated myself from being a woman. I didn’t want to be overly feminine. This is why men face the same problem.
Men can’t cry. Men can’t be weak. Men can’t be bad at athletics. Men have to defend. Men have to be violent.
All while their wives stand by, waving their hankies. Some of them burning their bras.