Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Against the Objectification of Women

To mark International Women’s Day on Sunday, 8 March 2009, the Sunday Times ran several articles honouring women in Singapore.

So it was somewhat ironic that an unrelated article carried the headline, Imported wives suffer the crisis. The word imported can only suggest that the wives in question are material goods to be traded, owned and even discarded.

The headline could have read: Foreign wives suffer the crisis. It would have been a little less precise, but a whole lot less offensive and dehumanizing.


David Deterding said...

I'm not sure that 'foreign wives' is less precise than 'imported wives'. Actually, I think it is more accurate, as 'imported' gives quite the wrong impression.

Perhaps a better description might be 'foreign-born wives' ‒ that seems to describe them reasonably accurately without the unfortunate connotations of 'imported'.

Kazzzzzzz said...

The bottom line is, the wives are not natives, hence "foreign"... but in the age of globalization, why still discriminate as such?

*catch no ball*.....

The Grammar Terrorist said...

It's not at all discriminatory -- in Singapore I'm local, but in the UK and elsewhere I'm a foreigner. That's a fact of life, globalization or not!

Since the Sunday Times had to refer to a specific group of people, the word 'foreign/foreign-born' -- or perhaps even 'immigrant' -- wives was necessary.