Vous êtes nos femmes

OK, so you guys might remember in some distant post I mentioned that I will be studying French. Well, I still am. And it’s so much fun. I am teaching myself through this awesome website — www.duolinguo.com. You can learn other languages on it as well like Spanish, German, Italian etc.

Anyway, the title — vous êtes nos femmes, translates to “You are our wives”. Someone (who from here henceforth, we shall call SmartGuy) commented:

General rule I find works: if it’s sounding a bit misogynistic/chauvinistic to say “woman/women”, “wife/wives” is probably a more appropriate translation.


I thought to myself, either SmartGuy doesn’t understand the meaning of the word misogyny, or he/she wants to appear smart. So, because I’m just an average Joe, I decided to look up the definition of the word:


noun \mə-ˈsä-jə-nē\


: reflecting or exhibiting hatred, dislike, mistrust, or

mistreatment of women.


Still perplexed by the sheer complexity of SmartGuys analysis, I saw this comment from (we’ll call this person NormalGuy):

I totally disagree that “our women” is misogynistic. In fact, the presumption that the word “our” (possessive) converts women to wives is what is misogynistic. What would I do if I were speaking at a gathering of women professionals, and I wanted to say something like: “You, the members of this organization, you are our women, and we hope…” I hear stuff like this all the time. “Wives” is clearly inappropriate in this context.


I agree with NormalGuy’s point. That loose translation would be offensive in certain setting. For years, women have fought to be acknowledged as men’s equal and after all they have accomplished with regards to equality, to be labeled as mere “wives” on a whim would just be intolerable.

Feel free to chime in.

Until next time…Namaste!



4 thoughts on “Vous êtes nos femmes

  1. You are absolutely right. “Wife” is the female form of “husband”. I think men would be really upset if called “husbands” rather than “men”. “Wife” or “husband” is only appropriate in a context that refers to a confirmed relationship (such as marriage).

  2. Wouldn’t any of this be dependent upon context? I wouldn’t get upset to be called a husband instead of a man – where’s the insult here? If I’m not married – and as the Count says, wife/husband is the only time these words are used – then the only way I get miffed about being called a husband is if I have some opposition to being married. Doesn’t mean that, in another context, that I couldn’t be a husband – you just never say never – or that a woman, in some unforeseen future, couldn’t be a wife… or, these days, a husband.

    If you can’t call a woman a woman, what do you call her? Yes, women have been battling for equality and they’ve been closing the gap over the years… but I’m thinking that only a hardcore feminist would be offended at being called a wife since, in some cultures, being a wife is like being a possession and then no more important than a chair, draft animal, or some other item that could be of greater import than the woman who’s having your babies and taking care of stuff at home.

    I could see them getting offended if this was the intended context – to claim ownership of her in this sense; otherwise, what’s the issue here? Homosexuals aside, traditionally, if you’re a woman, you can be a wife; if you’re a man, you can be a husband and these are connotations that have been accepted from way back in the history of humankind and, I’m sorry, I just don’t see the misogyny here unless, of course, the speaker just hates women as a matter of course – then I’d recommend a good therapist…

    • Yes, context would play an integral role here. That’s why my response was that it would be offensive in certain setting. When I first read “SmartGuy” and “NormalGuy” response, misogyny seemed a bit extreme. But that’s one of the beauty of blogs, people are free to voice their opinions and I love to hear people’s thoughts on topical issues.

  3. Why even write this? What possible point did this serve besides to bolster your own ego?Who gives a crap and why do you? It’s a sure way to exploit your own weakness when attacking others. You’re being malicious.

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