An image came through my Facebook feed the other day of a doormat with big block letters that read “PLEASE HIDE PACKAGES FROM MY HUSBAND.” I’ve seen this kind of meme over and over again: “Please let my husband be gone when my Amazon packages arrive,” or “My husband lets me do all the shopping I can hide.”
Women overspend. Husbands don’t know about it or get upset when their wives spend too much money. We live in the age of Amazon, so women go crazy with online shopping and hope our hubbies don’t see everything we ordered. Target has a Joanna Gaines line coming out, so it’s time to start hiding the receipts from the hubs!
I was chatting with a friend of mine about these memes the other day. She said they are annoying and odd. Have we traveled back to the 1950s? The husband makes the money and the wife doesn’t have an equal say in how it’s spent? Husbands can’t trust their wives with the pocketbook, and wives feel the need to hide what they buy from their partners?
It’s supposed to be funny, except I don’t really get it. I know, in many cases, it’s simply an exaggeration, like the “mommy loves wine” memes, but if people find it funny then there must be a grain of truth to it too. Is this actually common in people’s marriages?
In fact, a survey from CESI Debt Solutions found that 80% of married respondents hide spending from each other. There were more women than men who said that they hide clothing, gifts, and other purchases from their spouse, but men do hide their spending too.
That would be the issue in our family if we had one. My husband tends to be the spendthrift while I’m tighter with the purse strings. If either of us was concerned about the other being upset about spending too much, it would be my husband who would be trying to hide packages from me.
And frankly, that idea sounds absolutely ridiculous. Why would either of us physically hide what we spend our money on?
Beyond the basics that we both know we need, we either discuss what we’re going to buy, or we just trust one another to make wise spending choices on things we don’t discuss. My husband makes more money than I do by more than double, but we’re equal partners when it comes to how we spend (and save) that money. I would assume in this day and age that that would be the norm.
The feminist in me bristles at the underlying sexism in those memes too. And yes, I do have a sense of humor, and I can take a joke. But while the stereotype that women are addicted to shopping may seem like a harmless joke, it’s simply not accurate for a lot of women, and it feeds the idea that women are not as responsible with money as men are.
That message that women are poor money managers — even if it’s subconscious — fuels issues like unequal pay. We don’t need any more fodder for subconscious sexism and misogyny.
Yes, it’s all in good fun and people get too bent out of shape about humorous memes. I get that. But humor is not always as harmless as we think. Sometimes jokes like this unintentionally reinforce ideas or stereotypes that really ought to be ditched by society altogether.
Women have struggled and fought to be seen as equally capable and responsible as men. Do we really want to paint ourselves as unable to make adult decisions? Or to manage our own money? Finances are one of the biggest causes of stress in a marriage as it is. Do we really want to feed the idea that men can’t trust women to spend wisely?
I don’t think we do. And I think there are reasons more worthy of our laughter.