Today I came across a piece of practical employment advice: “Find new applications to your education.” Indeed, there are many unsolved problems that plague humanity. What peeves me is that by the 21st century the educated sisterhood of emancipated women still does not know how to deal with the universal “evil mother-in-law” phenomenon. Stating the problem brought me half-way to the solution. EVIL MOTHER-IN-LAW. This is the problem. Once I applied a fraction of what I learned in college, an elegant and simple solution revealed itself. Here is my logic.
The Jungian archetype of a mothers-in-law stands apart from all other familial archetypes. We expect mothers-in-law to behave in a non-motherly way. Many of them live up to our expectations. Could it be a “chicken and egg” problem?
Semantics of words for MIL in different languages becomes evident from the following examples. A Spanish word “suegra“ and a Russian word “свекровь“, both meaning a MIL, sound awfully close to “sangrar” and “вся кровь,” meaning “to bleed someone dry” and “all blood” respectively. In other languages we use aliases such as “monster-in-law” and “dragon lady.” One does not need Taro cards to associate a MIL with a cross between coiffed Madam Ceaucescu and Madam Mao Zedong, and a manicured reptile.
William Shakespeare reminded us that a name does not matter –
Personally, I believe that Gertrude Stein was more grounded in reality when she stated the obvious –
Is the phenomenon of an evil MIL nothing more than the Law of Identity in action? Do some MILs live up to their title? If we evoke The Principle of Contradition, then someone by the name “blood-sucking-dragon-monster”, CANNOT behave as a loving mother (except towards her blood-sucking-dragon-monster darling). The logical solution is to change the nomenclature.
EURIKA! We just figured out how to rid humanity of evil MILs. Let the words for a mother-in-law in all human languages roll off our communal tongue like sweet pearls, gentle and suave. My friend who chose to call her future MIL “Tootsy” was on the right track. Is there a Nobel Prize in mother-in-law science?