My wife is rightly pissed by headlines like this: “Stephen King and his wife donate $1.25M to New England Historic Genealogical Society.” The gift was her original idea, and she has a name: TABITHA KING. Her response follows.
Dear Editors (married to a wife or a husband):
In recent media coverage of a gift that my husband (ironic usage) and I made to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, we became Stephen King and his wife.
Wife is a relationship or status. It is not an identity.
You could have made other choices. You could have referred to me as OfStephen. Or His Old Lady. Or His-Ball-And-Chain.
I have sons. You could have referred to me as Mother-of-Novelists. I have a daughter but wouldn’t it be just silly to refer to me as Mother-of-Clergy?
I’m seventy. I thought I would give you permission, if “OfTabitha” predeceases me, to title my obituary, Relick of Stephen King.
In the meantime, you might consider the unconscious condescension in your style book, and give women their names.