The Wife Guy — Why We Should Reject These Media Persona

A wife guy, is a media trope— primarily a construction of early days of YouTube reaction culture, social media and influencer business model.

If you have seen the words ‘wife guy’, trend today on Twitter India and wondered what on earth is going on? We are here to help understand what the term means and why we should reject it!

A wife guy, is a media persona — primarily a construction of early days of YouTube reaction culture backed on years of ‘good guy’ media phase, which bloomed further because of social media and influencer business model.

A wife guy is direct opposition to the image of a henpecked husband. He is an extension of the nice guy, who actually got the girl, and is ever appreciative of his fortunes.

Meet the wife guy

This idea of wife guy is built around a man who is so in love with his wife that, he considers himself unworthy to be in her presence. And at every waking hour, they keep talking about their wives.

Many of us have seen this overt display of affection in John Mulaney stand-ups. The wife guy is committed to his vow of monogamy and dedicated to his children, and he just can’t wait to be home.

At first glance, this trope does look cute and very wholesome; which straight woman doesn’t want a man so devoted and respectful to her? Me, a bisexual person, could use a dedicated wife guy too.

Sadly, it is next to impossible to have a spouse who is head over heels in love 24/7 and values us for everything we do.

Wife guy set standards too high even for themselves


The Wife Guy — Why We Should Reject These Media Persona

@maxlizndry on Twitter

There has been a recent fall off grace for some of these famous international wife guys.

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Among them, most popular would be Adam Levine, yes Maroon5 guy with bad taste in tattoos, followed by John Mulaney who has a complicated history of substance abuse, and reason of today’s Twitter trend Ned Fulmer, who was the least problematic guy on the internet.

Each of these men and others, in various media platform, have performed the ultimate fantasy — an average looking, now a successful man, devoted to the gorgeous woman who loved him despite him being unworthy of her!

These men have proved they are truly unworthy of their wives. Adam Levine’s cheating sext chats are out for public scrutiny, Mulaney has been called out for alleged cheating on his ex-wife, and Ned Fulmer got caught on camera kissing a woman who was not his wife.

Ned Fulmer, was one of the founding fellows behind the productions of Buzzfeed videos that many of us millennials loved in 2014 when we were teens! Later, with his [former if rumours are true] friends and colleagues, they formed The Try Guys Media company around 2019.

Ned Fulmer, married Ariel, an interior designer — she took his surname in 2012. And she has collaborated with Ned and rest of The Try Guys for videos, podcasts and production multiple times.

But yesterday, someone on Reddit, uploaded screenshots of having evidence that Ned cheated on his wife with his The Try Guys employee.

The problem of wife guy


The Wife Guy — Why We Should Reject These Media Persona

@chton and @JennyNicholsona on Twitter

The problem arouses when, the wife guys monetize their entire persona they created with their family, friends and then fail to meet the standard they built for themselves. It is a carefully curated persona, that has been slowly spoon-fed to us, the media consumers.

So when the illusion of this humble man, shatters — social media loses it mind.

Especially if the crimes committed are exactly what you promised not to do!

As a social media addict, it is great to see people are again becoming intolerant of cheating spouses.

But we, the consumers of digital media, are not free of blame. Because we subscribed, liked, shared and bought the wife guy content, it gained steady momentum.

Where is the agency of the wife?

The Wife Guy — Why We Should Reject These Media Persona

@blairebuoyant on Twiiter

I have followed The Try Guys since their Buzzfed days, though recently I didn’t consume much of their content, learning about Ned’s infidelity on Tumblr was an out-of-the-blue experience.

People were making memes, some were worried about Ariel and others had taken the task to troll the cheater.

Having seen Ariel in a few videos and listening to her podcasts, we know she is an articulate, intelligent woman. She is also the reason behind Ned’s ‘Wife Guy’ branding.

She is the consistent silent partner who solidified this image, you can’t be a wife guy without a wife.

Why did we allow this?

Hence, it makes us wonder why we as consumers have allowed celebs and ordinary men, to put their wives on a high pedestal and treat them like goddess.

Ariel is her own person, yes of course she is married [for now], has children, and someone’s something. But she is human with her own issues first, not a constant source of sunshine!

But we have let guys, like Ned, capitalize on talented women like her. Many women like Ariel get boxed as ‘the wife’ in relationship. Where they are seen nothing more than the idealized pillar who supported the guy in his hard time.

Remember your neighbour, Singh Aunty or Mrs. Banerjee? And their husbands who can’t pack suitcases and brag about it in parties on how clueless they are without their wives? 

Ever wonder what Singh Aunty’s full name is? Each of these women are reduced to one aspect of their life: the wife.

And their husbands get to mine benefits of their labour and identity, by showing bare minimum of love and respect — and call themselves wife guys.

It is time we start to critically look at how people present themselves to us. Any time we see a person whose entire social personality revolves around their spouse, we need to take a step back and ask — is this okay?

Image Source: Twitter, Dean Drobot edited on Canva Pro

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Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

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