In the article “I need a wife”, Judy Brady employs impersonation to present her main themes. She pauses as a male speaker and elaborates the societal expectations of being a wife. She highlights the various challenges faced by women in their marital relations.
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As a wife and a mother, she uses her finer understanding of feminine obligations and extra responsibilities to continually point out cases of domestic gender bias and how they weigh down on women throughout the article. She reveals how wives are denied basic their privileges and left with the sole responsibility of managing their families. They are also expected to make sacrifices for their husbands simply because they are women and married (Brady, 1971).
The persona yearns for a wife because his divorced friend no longer bears the burden of bringing up children, especially after divorcing the wife since his only child is with the ex-wife. It is clear that the whole responsibility of taking care of the children and their upkeep is considered the wife’s work. The author further expounds on this when he enumerates some of the tasks that he will relinquish once married such as; taking care of the children’s medical care, attending to the children’s school needs, hygiene care and entertainment.
The author captures the reader’s attention when the persona expects to go back to school at the wife’s financial expense and calls this a small cut on the wife’s pay. After finishing his education, the persona expects financial independence with which he does not plan to support the same wife, but other dependents yet it is the wife’s money that paid his fees.
The persona cannot afford to miss class taking care of the children the wife is the one supposed to attend to the children. Here, wives are depicted as objects used by men to attain financial and social freedom (Brady, 1971).
The persona also wants a wife for a homestead manager and a sex object. This is evident on page 2 “A wife to keep the house tidy, attend to his visitors and not to necessarily accompany the husband out but rather remain in her area of jurisdiction”. This beats the major reason for marriage, which is companionship.
Therefore, a wife should allow the husband to be promiscuous while remaining faithful to the husband. This is a perfect definition of a house manager and is unacceptable since two married individuals should be partners. The persona wants a wife to be an object to meet personal sexual needs whenever the need arises, regardless of the wife’s opinion and moreover, she is expected to do it satisfactorily. These aside, it is also upon the wife to take birth control measures since the persona does not need more children (Brady, 1971).
Hence, in this case, the wise is viewed as a sex toy to be used at will and to take care of anything that results from the same engagement. The persona is free to mingle with other people while his wife is confined in the house to uphold monogamy and faithfulness to the husband. The author tries to explore how women are deprived of their own social freedom and made to be mere objects of pleasure, when in real sense they should be equal partners in the matrimonial union.
The author draws the attention of the reader through the words of the persona towards the end of the article. After explaining the reasons why he needs a wife, the persona wishes what the current wife would never like to hear, that is, the persona wants to replace the current wife with one bearing the above stated qualities because, just like the friend aforementioned, the current wife will take the children along with her.
The persona is not even willing to hear the wife’s opinion but is ready to replace her. This will give the persona a chance to make a new start in life with the new wife. A wife is expected to give up her job since the persona is now working. According to the persona, it is the wife’s responsibility to take care of children’s upkeep in case of a divorce thus a means of evading responsibilities.
Thus, women are expected to be submissive to their husbands and to always take up orders without compromising or whatsoever. Hence, the survival, sustenance and continuation of the marriage wholly lie on the husband’s mercy (Brady, 1971).
Judy Brady directly targets a society full of male dominance and has little regard for wives. The persona addresses an audience full of conservatives and people obsessed with male chauvinism and ego as justified by the persona’s friend. Consequently, this awakens the urge in the persona to try and be free from family responsibilities.
In the current generation, the article would be received with lots of mixed reaction, a large section being against the wishes of the article’s persona. For instance, no wife in the current society will be submissive to the standard required by the persona in the article. Marriage is considered a matrimonial union comprised of equal partners who equally contribute to sustain the same union. It will not go down well with most people that the man should be there to take the supervisor’s role, drafting tasks to be undertaken by the wife (Brady, 1971).
A society where each person is entitled to individual freedom, no wife will accept to be confined in the house and cater for children’s needs alone, finance the husband’s education and later give up her professional appointment just because the husband dictates.
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In our society today, people may divorce due to misunderstandings and other marital issues but not because one spouse feels like changing to another partner. Generally, the persona’s wishes cannot become reality in today’s society and the qualities of a wife as given in the article may virtually not exist (Brady, 1971).
In summary, the author talks of the plight of women during the period when they were lowly regarded in society. Through the male narrator, the author implies that marriage was solely a man’s concern since it was centered towards men’s self-actualization, financial freedom as well as sexual satisfaction. Thus, a wife is not expected to take up anything else besides children’s welfare and the husband’s comfort. Wives are expected to submit and comply with the demands of their husbands.
The article points out the transition and the struggle for women empowerment ever since it began from a period where wives were purely viewed as house managers and could be changed at the husband’s will, to a modern society where both husband and wife operate in a mutual relationship that values equality. Thus, it is a good article that would help in the quest to establish equitability in marriages and foster mutual interdependence between husband and wife.
Brady, J. (1971). Why I Want a Wife. Web.