Title

The Power of Words: An Etymological History of “Wife”

Date

6-1-2017 9:30 AM

End Time

1-6-2017 9:45 AM

Location

WUC Willamette Room

Department

English, Writing and Linguistics

Session Chair

Henry Hughes

Session Title

English, Writing and Linguistics

Faculty Sponsor(s)

David Hargreaves

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

On January 21st, 2017 five million people worldwide participated in the Women’s March to advocate for many issues, including equal rights for women. Every individual rally had something in common: words. There were signs, speeches, protesting and chanting as people tapped into the indisputable power of words. With every social or political movement, the language of the time changes with it. This is inevitably true for the word “wife”. In its most basic form, “wife” refers to a woman who is married. But to a lot of people, myself included, “wife” seems to conjure images of ticky-tacky homes, knee-length pastel skirts, and a suffocating male-dominated culture that just won’t go away. Where did these negative connotations come from and how are they changing in the current social and political climate? This presentation will explore the etymology of the word “wife” to seek answers to these questions, while also looking to a future where “wife” means lover, equal partner, most trusted friend and companion.

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Jun 1st, 9:30 AM Jun 1st, 9:45 AM

The Power of Words: An Etymological History of “Wife”

WUC Willamette Room

On January 21st, 2017 five million people worldwide participated in the Women’s March to advocate for many issues, including equal rights for women. Every individual rally had something in common: words. There were signs, speeches, protesting and chanting as people tapped into the indisputable power of words. With every social or political movement, the language of the time changes with it. This is inevitably true for the word “wife”. In its most basic form, “wife” refers to a woman who is married. But to a lot of people, myself included, “wife” seems to conjure images of ticky-tacky homes, knee-length pastel skirts, and a suffocating male-dominated culture that just won’t go away. Where did these negative connotations come from and how are they changing in the current social and political climate? This presentation will explore the etymology of the word “wife” to seek answers to these questions, while also looking to a future where “wife” means lover, equal partner, most trusted friend and companion.