I’ve been seeing this question all over the place, being asked towards women who aren’t even married, and it’s fucking bullshit. I see women ask other women in blogging groups, “Ladies! What does your husband think of your blog? Mine doesn’t approve, and I don’t even write about him!” It’s a question that stems from the belief that a woman needs her husband’s approval to do something—anything—and that unmarried women need a husband who can make the decisions for them.
I mean, isn’t that just it? There is no other reasonable explanation other than that which involves a woman’s apparent inability to think for herself, even though men tend to run things into the ground without women’s intuition. It’s not unlike someone asking a woman what her husband thinks of her career, and the idea that women making more money than her husband is wrong.
One of my grade school teachers shared a story about how she attended some dinner party with her parents when she was a kid. There was a speaker introducing the founding members—all women—of the program, but rather than focusing on the women, the speaker—also a woman—focused on their husbands, e.g. “This is Jane Doe, wife of John Doe, an independent contractor; Mary Sue is the wife of Bob Sue, who joined the family resort business at seventeen and is now the CEO.” The women who’d founded this charity that won awards were patronized, dismissed in favor of their husbands’ accomplishments. That’s why, when she introduced herself to us, and talked about herself, she rarely spoke of her husband—because, to paraphrase her, “My classes contain more girls than boys, and I want to teach that girls can stand tall on their own.”
Needless to say, it stuck with me. Every time I see someone answer this question about their blog, I can’t help remembering that teacher, even though I only remember that she taught sixth grade maths.
Another issue I take with this question is how much it assumes of the female-identifying blogger:
- they like men
- they have a husband
- they need their husband’s approval
- there is no equality in the household re: previous item
Being an “out” LGBTQ+ blogger also seems to come with strange, none-of-your-fucking-business questions, such as “But do you practice homosexuality?”, which I intend not to write about in full, but this is fitting to include into this post as well, because—as much as it sounds like what Evelyn Hugo said—a more interesting bite of knowledge surrounding whether my husband would approve of my blogging, if I were asked such a question, is that I’m not even into men in the first place.
I feel lucky not to have been asked this question. I hope no one ever bloody asks me this question. Still, I can’t help cringing when I see it asked towards me indirectly. It feels so demeaning—even though I’m a lesbian, even though I have no intention of ever marrying a man—to ask a question to a woman that boils down to how well her husband has/hasn’t tamed her, his permission, and her need to seek such approval. It’s not unlike an abusive boyfriend from a Lifetime movie expressing rage because she was texting some guy—which, ugh, another issue with the patriarchy.