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Why Black Women Are Kicking Back On The 'Wife Material' Label

The ‘wife material’ label is a societal standard that dictates the qualities of a desirable wife and her subsequent duties. When the average person calls you wife material, they usually mean that you are the embodiment of patriarchy’s stereotypical woman.

A woman who is (or is willing to be) a wife first, a mother second and herself last. A woman whose sole mission in the world is to bend over backwards to ensure that her marriage works and there is ‘peace’ in the home. 

Although this mentality might sound dated, a lot of the metrics that define the modern black woman's suitability for marriage in some cultures are still tied to this problematic label.  

From an early age, young girls are often socialised to see marriage as a prize, an achievement that they must prepare to attain. Folakemi Akinlade, a 20-year-old lawyer in training based in Ibadan, Nigeria can relate well to this.

Her teenage years were riddled with the never-ending debates she had with her mum about a woman’s role in the home. 

She says, “I never understood why my mum insisted on my presence in the kitchen while she cooked elaborate dinners. Whenever I complained, she would launch into a lengthy lecture that usually ended with ‘is this how you will behave in your husband’s house?’ I never liked cooking and I still don’t. I’m just [annoyed] that I spent so many hours learning to cook when I could have done so many other things.”