During the 1960s through the 1980s the second wave of the feminist movement swept the nation. The movement was focused on combatting cultural and political inequalities women faced in society. In 1971, Judy Brady was recognized for speaking out against these cultural ideas in her essay, “I Want a Wife”. In her essay Brady uses satire and sarcasm by taking on the mindset of a husband making the declaration that, even as a wife herself, she too wants a wife. In mockery to husbands, Judy explains she needs a wife to assume all responsibilities of the home, to cater to her needs and desires, and to allow her freedom so she can pursue school instead. Brady uses this approach to reveal the unrealistic expectations men place onto women, but fails to give compelling evidence to support her claims.
Brady defines being a wife as happily taking on the complete care and responsibilities of the home and all who dwell within. Brady’s entire essay is essentially a compilation of tasks the wife must perform. She details duties such as cooking, cleaning, planning and organizing, arranging social activities, nurturing the children, and fulfilling sexual obligations to her husband. A wife must be completely self-sacrificing without complaint, as evidenced by Brady’s statement “I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties” (543).
Brady portrays husbands as having the view that a woman is generally meant for the purpose of serving his physical needs and interests without the ability to contribute anything of true substance to his life. By writing from the man’s perspective she alludes to this purpose when she lays out her expectations. Brady writes “I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs” (543) and then goes on to list what those needs are from the care of her personal belongings, to her social life, and finally to her sexual needs. Brady rationalizes that she must be free to indulge in
Cited: Brady, Judy. “I want a wife.” The Bedford Guide for College Writers. 9th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Marcia F. Muth. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 542-544. Print