I Want a Wife by Judy Brady Summary


Brady introduces herself as a wife at the outset of her writing. Additionally, she adds that she is a mother. She claims that a male friend who had recently divorced was considering making her his new bride a while back. One evening while she was ironing, one of the many tasks she claims are intended for women, she thought about this man's predicament and realized that she, too, desired a wife. The text's subsequent paragraphs provide examples of Brady's specific need for a partner.

Societal Expectations Placed on Wives

The text continues by highlighting a few of the societal expectations placed on wives. This routine work ranges from taking care of the husband, the kids, and both the friends to her spouse and her children. Brady claims that she needs a wife who can take care of the children as she goes to school in order to become economically independent. Secondly, a wife would come in handy for Brady as she will take care of her physical needs, keep the house clean, cook, and take care of the house. Furthermore, Brady needs a wife who would not bother her with complaints about her duties, but who, ironically, would be always ready to listen to the complaints that she has regarding her rather difficult studies. She further states that she wants a wife who will be available to quench her sexual desires but not bother her when she is not in the mood. Finally, she wants a wife who will readily leave her should she get a better wife in the future.

Response to Brady's "I Want a Wife"

Brady's text is a rather blatant derision on the role of the wife in the family and in the society in general. She uses an ironical approach to mock the way in which society has defined the gender role that is supposed to be a wife. The entire text highlights the plight of the wife and portrays her more of an unpaid servant than a counterpart to the husband. It is only the fact that she is held willingly that distinguishes her role from slavery, in my own opinion.

Agreement with Brady's Assertions

I totally agree with most of the assertions made by the author in this article. First of all, according to Parker of the Pew Research Institute, women are "more likely to adjust their careers and education pursuits for the sake of their families" (2015). Brady highlights this very well throughout her text. She states that she wants a wife who will work and send her to school. This indicates that as much as the modern society would like to do away with the traditional gender roles, the reality on the ground is much different. The sacrifices that the wives make don't come without its consequences, though. The first result is the salary cuts that are imposed on the wife for the leaves she takes to take care of the family. The position of the wife as a subordinate is further highlighted. It is the wife's income that is being slashed here, but it is her spouse, the 'husband', that is to tolerate this. It is as though the wife has no word in her own affairs.

Sexual Objectification of Women

The sexual objectification of women is also clearly highlighted by the author in a rather smart way. Loughnan et al. together with Cooper and Robert define the sexual objectification as the treatment of women as if they were "commodities devoid of the mental states" and moral statuses such as personality, dignity, emotions, and the feelings that are associated with personhood (2010). The author brings about the issue of objectification of women when she discusses the wife's role as one that involves the caring of the spouses' sexual needs. She claims that she wants a wife who will not demand sexual attention when she is not in the mood for it. It is important to note that the wife-seeker, in this case the author of this text, states that she should have her sexual desires met whenever she feels like it. Therefore, according to the author, husbands need to have their sexual desires hardened whenever they are in the mood. However, Cooper emphasizes that should the wife have "sexual thrill that needs to be quenched by the man", and the man be not in the spirit, then she may not disturb him (2008). The man, furthermore, demands sexual attention from the wife, whether she is in the mood or not. This utter disregard of the emotions of the woman is worrying, in my opinion.

Fungibility and Interchangeability of Women

The fungibility and interchangeability of women are also highlighted by Brady. Arising from the objectification discussed above, women, according to the author, therefore, can be exchanged as one would do with commodities and goods. According to Gervais et al., the fungibility hypothesis states that, like objects, "people may be fungible or perceived as interchangeable with other people of like kind" (2012). In the eighth chapter, Brady highlights the perceived fungibility of wives by patriarchal males when she states that should she find another wife who is more suitable as a wife to replace the one that she already has, she would be free to do so. The first wife would take the kids that they have had together and let the 'husband' be free and start a free life.

Progress in Redefining Gender Roles

However, the text tries to bring out the plight of the wife in a very traditional setup with clearly defined gender roles. There have been significant steps towards a more balanced gender role distribution in the family and federal bodies have come up with policies and laws safeguarding the wife against these patriarchal tendencies. The number of women in the labor force all over the world has been increasing constantly meaning that more and more women are leaving the traditional gender roles where they were housewives.

Laws and Changes in Divorce Cases

Secondly, laws have been put in place to ensure that in the case of a divorce, both couples would contribute towards the caring of the children. Unlike the author states in the first paragraph, it is not always the case that the children will be taken care of by the ex-wife upon divorce. It may be the case, however, that the legal custodian of the children lies in the hands of the ex-wife, but the husband has to contribute towards their wellbeing.

Voluntary Housewifery

There are women who choose to be housewives voluntarily. In such a case, therefore, it would only make sense if they take care of the business in the house while the husband works away from home. Of course, it is expected that the husband helps out in ways that he can once he is back from work, to a reasonable extent.


The policies that have been setup and the unavoidable changes that have led to a change in the gender roles have gone a long way in dealing with some of the issues that women have been facing in marriage in the traditional sense. However, in as much the gender role of the millennial woman is changing, much still needs to be done as some women still go through what the author candidly describes in her text.

Works Cited

Cooper, R. "Say No to Sexual Objectification Full Stop!" New African, Oct. 2008.

Gervais, Sarah J., et al. "When Are People Interchangeable Sexual Objects? The Effect of Gender and Body Type on Sexual Fungibility." British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 51, no. 4, 2012, pp. 499-513.

Loughnan, S., et al. "Objectification Leads to Depersonalization: The Denial of Mind and Moral Concern to Objectified Others." European Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 40, no.5, 2010, pp. 709-717.

Parker, K. "Women More than Men Adjust Their Careers for Family Life". Pew Research Centre, Washington, D.C, 10 March 2015. Web. Accessed 2 Feb. 2017.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price