I Want a Wife: a Wife or a Servant
Many wives sometimes feel unappreciated, neglected, and often used; which sometimes may lead to speaking out loud for themselves. This was the case with a woman in the 70s named Judy Brady. In 1971, Judy Brady’s essay “I Want a Wife” was in the first edition of Ms.
Magazine; which targeted the inequality that was promised to women at this time. Being as the 70s was a time when women constantly struggled for equality and rights, Brady has some very interesting views on the term “wife.” Brady begins her thought process after hearing from a male friend who has recently become divorced. With him being single, and looking for a new wife; it occurred to Brady that she too wanted a wife of her own.
Brady states throughout her essay reasons why she would want a wife, making them very bold and easily understood. “I want a wife to take care of my physical needs.”(525) and “I want a wife who will keep my clothes cleaned, ironed, and mended…” (525) are just a couple of reasons Brady gives for wanting a wife. Women in the 70s were often looked at as almost subhuman, making them stand up and speak for themselves. Brady clearly does not want a wife of her own, but is merely trying to make a bold statement to readers of this magazine. In doing so, she is trying to help the reader understand how hard a wife works and how easily they are taken for granted.
Brady makes her voice heard by using a satirical form of writing, and by doing this; she makes a very good point. Many men in the early 20th century viewed women as a pedestal by which they relied on for their everyday needs. The sarcasm of the essay shows the reader how a wife feels about how she is treated. Brady states in her closing sentence, “My god who wouldn’t want a wife?”(525), which basically states that wives are unappreciated and over worked in many ways.
Brady’s essay is one that could have both good and bad reactions from its readers. Brady goes on in her essay as if she wants a wife to pick up the duties of her everyday life so that she may pursue her dreams. Many women of the 70s were beginning to take a stand on women’s rights, so this particular audience would have agreed with Brady. Statements such as “I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life. When my wife and I are invited out by my friends, I want a wife who will take care of the babysitting arrangements.”(525), sounds very appealing to the women of this time.
On the opposite end, many wives could be offended by Brady’s essay. Some wives of the 70s enjoyed the life of a housewife. People that were raised in the early 20th century were always taught that the women took care of the family’s needs, which included the husband. Although this was a shrinking percentage of women, they still must be considered within the reading audience.
By making her voice heard, Brady makes a clear point that she is tired of being over-worked and unappreciated. Most anyone could easily agree that wives in early 20th century America were completely unappreciated, and often used; while others could also disagree, as they enjoy staying at home and slaving over everyday chores. Overall, Brady’s essay was well-written, and the point was made clear enough so that all Americans would know that some housewives just can’t be silent any longer.