Well, girls, if you're out there following the American presidential campaign you'll be glad to know that The Washington Post is around to tell you that the perfect wife is always deferential, does everything she can to support her husband's career, and beyond that doesn't bore him with a lot of talking about stuff. Kay Steiger's not seeing it:

But a presidential candidate’s spouse that’s shy and uncomfortable speaking in public, might more often be viewed that as a liability and not an asset. But regardless of whether or not “perfection” is defined by impeccable manners, riding horses, and studying dance, it seems that that’s only one way that someone can be perfect. That version of perfection is rooted in antiquated stereotypes about how women should be quiet, speak when spoken to, and never express an opinion too loudly (if at all).

Meanwhile, the author of the piece, Libby Copeland, has risen over the course of her ten year career from being a Washington Post intern to being a feature writing at one of America's premiere newspapers. One assumes she's not, in other words, actually someone who thinks that Cindy McCain's traditionalist heiress lifestyle is something every woman should aspire to. It's odd. You don't expect comprised of a 72 year-old man and a 64 year-old woman to really be a model of forward-looking egalitarian marriage and I don't think there's really anything wrong with that -- they're people of their time, and they seem happy enough with it. But why would we want to hold this anachronistic model up as an ideal to which we should all be aspiring?