A response to ‘I Want a Wife’ by Judy Brady

This essay is a classic in feminist discourse and is rich in irony.  The foremost of the ironies is the fact that the author is a woman and yet longs for a wife. There is no homosexual connotation here, but this device is employed to convey the ordeals and drudgery facing housewives.  Author Judy Brady attempts to transcend her gender and sexuality in order to gain a new perspective on the role of married women within the household.  She looks at women from the point of married men and their expectations.  The point of this exercise is to show how men’s needs and wants dominate interpersonal relations with their wives.  Married women, on the other hand, submit to the pressures of social conformity and economic dependency on men, thus incurring a big sacrifice.  What stands out in this essay is the whole litany of chores and responsibilities that a married woman carries out in her home and workplace.  This list, by virtue of seeming endless, aptly captures the realities of domestic life for women in mid-twentieth century America.  The author does not make a specific argument as to merely expose an existing reality.  To this extent the essay is expository and not argumentative. The author is successful in performing a leap in imagination and offers a unique view of married women’s plight.


Brady, Judy. “I Want a Wife”, Division or Analysis, pp. 320-322