First off, I’m going to entirely ignore Gayle Rosenwald Smith’s article entitled “The Wife-Beater” to geek out about the picture left at the end depicting Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Being a self-proclaimed classic movie buff, I can’t help but love it when I see a masterpiece like “A Streetcar Named Desire” referenced, regardless of whether it is in a good or bad way, in an unrelated topic.
Now, moving on to the real topic at hand, I had a big problem with the foundation of her article. Yes, while I do concede that it is commonplace to call the particular type of shirt a “Wife-beater”, the actual name is called and “A-shirt”, feel free to open up an adjacent tab and Google that. If she really had that big of a problem with its title, you would think she make this a persuasive paper with a call to action for its reform in name.
Finally, now that all that is off my chest I can actually bring up what I enjoyed about the article. Smith had some very good points in her article. To bring up the fact that the term “Wife-beater” has become so well used that it has found its way into the lexicon that is The Oxford Dictionary is beyond me. I am aware that language is a very plastic, malleable object, but to here that an objectified, slang phrase has become a regular part of speech is abhorrent. It makes me fear for the moment when our language takes a turn towards the purely phonetic; something that has only ever been publicly discussed in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” So much for me enjoying it, huh?