Judy Brady's Legendary Feminist Satire, "I Want a Wife"

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One of the best-remembered pieces from the premiere issue of Ms . magazine is “I Want a Wife.” Judy Brady’s (then Judy Syfers) tongue-in-cheek essay explained in one page what all too many men had taken for granted about “housewives.”

What Does a Wife Do?

“I Want a Wife” was a humorous piece that also made a serious point: Women who played the role of “wife” did many helpful things for husbands and usually children without anyone realizing. Even less, it wasn't acknowledged that these “wife’s tasks” could have been done by someone who wasn’t a wife, such as a man.

“I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me."

The desired wife tasks included:

  • Work to support us so I can go back to school
  • Take care of the children, including feeding them and nurturing them, keeping them clean, taking care of their clothes, taking care of their schooling and social life
  • Keep track of doctor and dentist appointments
  • Keep my house clean and pick up after me
  • See to it that my personal things are where I can find them when I need them
  • Take care of the babysitting arrangements
  • Be sensitive to my sexual needs
  • But do not demand attention when I am not in the mood
  • Do not bother me with complaints about a wife’s duties

The essay fleshed out these duties and listed others. The point, of course, was that housewives were expected to do all these things, but no one ever expected a man to be capable of these tasks. The underlying question of the essay was “Why?”

Striking Satire

At the time, “I Want a Wife” had the humorous effect of surprising the reader because a woman was the one asking for a wife. Decades before gay marriage became a commonly discussed subject, there was only one person who had a wife: a privileged male husband. But, as the essay famously concluded, “who wouldn’t want a wife?”

Judy Brady was inspired to write her famous piece at a feminist consciousness-raising session . She was complaining about the issue when someone said, “Why don’t you write about it?” She went home and did so, completing the essay within a few hours.

Before it was printed in Ms ., “I Want a Wife” was first delivered aloud in San Francisco on Aug 26, 1970. Judy (Syfers) Brady read the piece at a rally celebrating the 50 th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the U.S. , obtained in 1920. The rally packed a huge crowd into Union Square; hecklers stood near the stage as "I Want a Wife" was read.

Lasting Fame

Since “I Want a Wife” appeared in Ms ., the essay has become legendary in feminist circles. In 1990, Ms . reprinted the piece. It is still read and discussed in women’s studies classes and mentioned in blogs and news media. It is often used as an example of satire and humor in the feminist movement .

Judy Brady later became involved in other social justice causes, crediting her time in the feminist movement with being foundational for her later work.

Echoes of the Past: The Supportive Role of Wives

Judy Brady does not mention knowing an essay by Anna Garlin Spencer from much earlier in the 20th century, and may not have known it, but this echo from the so-called first wave of feminism shows that the ideas in "I Want a Wife" were in the minds of other women, too, 

In "The Drama of the Woman Genius" (collected in Woman's Share in Social Culture ), Spencer addresses women's chances for achievement the supportive role that wives had played for many famous men, and how many famous women, including Harriet Beecher Stowe , had the responsibility for childcare and housekeeping as well as writing or other work. Spencer writes, “A successful woman preacher was once asked what special obstacles have you met as a woman in the ministry? Not one, she answered, except the lack of a minister's wife.”

Edited and with additional content by  Jone Johnson Lewis

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clock This article was published more than  3 years ago

‘Why I Want a Wife’: The overwhelmed working mom who pined for a wife 50 years ago

A half-century ago, thousands of women’s liberation movement supporters packed into San Francisco’s Union Square. They joined about 100,000 more in cities across the country on Aug. 26, 1970, celebrating the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage in a protest called the Women’s Strike for Equality . It was in that public space, during the first major demonstration of the modern women’s movement, that the world first heard activist Judy Brady Syfers publicly long for a wife.

“I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care,” the housewife from San Francisco read into the microphone, her hands shaking during her first time ever speaking in front of a crowd.

“I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after me,” she stated, appealing to all housewives around the country whose husbands took them for granted.

“I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes at school,” said Brady Syfers, who was married to a professor at nearby San Francisco State.

“I was terrified,” Brady Syfers recalled in a 2007 NPR radio interview. “There were lots of hecklers — up near the stage I can remember hearing them as I read, which only egged me on.”

When she finished her list of sometimes sarcastic, sometimes funny, but very realistic demands, the crowd of women roared as they recognized themselves in her words. The short satire was mentioned in television, radio and newspaper reports about the demonstration across the country, she said in a 2005 taped interview with her daughter, Maia Syfers.

A mother's letter, a son's choice and the incredible moment women won the right to vote

After that exhilarating moment, the essay went on to define the women’s movement of the 1970s. It resurfaces often as a feminist classic — a treatise about an imbalance between the sexes that still resonates today as the country marks the 100th anniversary of suffrage.

Earlier this year, as parents struggled to home-school their children during the pandemic, the New York Times commissioned a poll by Morning Consult on the division of labor between couples. Nearly half of fathers with children younger than 12 said they were devoting more time to educating their kids than their spouses, but just 3 percent of women agreed with that assessment.

Fifty years ago, “Why I Want a Wife” started simply as a housewife’s complaints about the lack of recognition for women’s work.

In 1968, Brady Syfers was a faculty wife with two small children. The end of that year her husband got involved with a strike at his university, San Francisco State, that called for creating a Black and ethnic studies department at the majority White school.

Brady Syfers opened up her house as a fundraising headquarters for the strike . Week after week, she organized, fed and worked with the student and faculty strikers, from 7 in the morning until late into the night. For the first time in her life, Brady Syfers was politically active, and she loved it.

“It was exhilarating to be involved in something outside the four walls of my home,” she said in the NPR interview.

When the strike ended five months later — the longest student-led strike in U.S. higher education history — the Black Student Union had a meeting celebrating its win and to thank participants who worked on the strike. Her husband, James Syfers, was given a note of special thanks for raising money. But Brady Syfers was never mentioned.

Feeling angry and unappreciated, “I decided it was time for me to look for the women’s movement,” she said in the 2005 interview.

She found a nearby women’s consciousness-raising group at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church, where she met Pam Allen, now known as Chude Allen.

“When I first met Judy, she described herself as a disenfranchised and fired housewife,” Allen said in a phone interview. “She was angry.”

The more Brady Syfers began examining her role in society, the angrier she became. It wasn’t just being overlooked during the student strike. She had faced sexism her whole life.

During college at the University of Iowa, she studied painting and was quite talented, according to Maia Syfers. That’s where she met James Syfers, her future husband. After earning a BFA, she wanted to pursue a master’s degree. To do so, she had to go before a committee who would recommend her to further her studies. At the meeting, the all-male committee told her that she had the talent but that there wasn’t much purpose in going for a master’s — because no university would hire a woman.

She was devastated, her daughter said.

In consciousness-raising meetings at Glide, Brady Syfers began to describe what Betty Friedan’s pioneering book, “ The Feminine Mystique ,” called “the problem that has no name.”

“I was an isolated housewife who had never worked outside the house, and I was badly depressed, miserable and confused about it,” Brady Syfers said in 2007. “I had no idea why I was so depressed.”

Except for “The Feminine Mystique,” Brady Syfers said there was no language in the late 1960s to talk about female unhappiness.

“If you wanted to know anything about women, you went to the Ladies’ Home Journal. That’s all there was,” she said in 2007.

She explained that nothing was written for, by and about women’s collective experience — their history, their psychology, their daily lives. In 1969, the three-year-old National Organization for Women was still considered a small group, Brady Syfers said in 2005.

The bra-burning feminist trope started at Miss America. Except, that’s not what really happened.

The women’s movement of the early 1970s “was an outgrowth of the civil rights movement,” she said. “But it was very much kind of sub rosa. And of course, it was treated scathingly by men and the media.”

Consciousness-raising groups were mocked by men, but Brady Syfers said the sessions were defiant political acts.

Women around the country were pooling personal experiences to create a social, historical analysis of women’s condition. It was a revolution in thinking, she said. Soon a whole women’s press movement publishing feminist pamphlets and underground newspapers exploded around the country, led by the radical Redstockings group in New York.

It was at a consciousness-raising group that Brady Syfers began listing her grievances about the strains of being a housewife. As she talked, the list grew longer and longer until finally someone in the group challenged her to write it down.

So she went home and started writing. Two hours later, she had finished “Why I Want a Wife.” She presented it at the next group meeting, and members applauded. Brady Syfers was thrilled with the response.

“Why I Want a Wife” was first published in a Bay-area feminist underground newspaper called “Tooth and Nail,” according to Allen. The essay began being reprinted in other feminist underground presses across the country during 1970 and 1971.

Meanwhile, in New York activist Gloria Steinem and a group of feminists including Letty Cotton Pogrebin began collecting stories to include in a national magazine to unite and give voice to women’s liberation followers across the nation. In December 1971, the inaugural issue of Ms. Magazine appeared as an insert in New York magazine. That issue included “Why I Want a Wife.”

“We reprinted it so more readers could have the laughter and wisdom that comes from reversing unequal roles,” Steinem wrote in an email.

“I wish it weren’t still relevant but even though many marriages have become more equal, Judy’s words live on,” Steinem said.

“It had a seismic impact,” Pogrebin said in a phone interview. “It didn’t exaggerate what sex roles were all about. Women were expected to do it all.”

Pogrebin pointed out that the theme of “Why I Want a Wife,” which was changed to “I Want a Wife” in Ms., matched the cover of the inaugural issue, which showed a multi-handed Hindu goddess as a housewife juggling more tasks than were humanly possible.

After its publication in Ms., “Why I Want a Wife” became known around the world. “My mother always kind of joked a little bit about ‘Why I Want a Wife,’ because it became so popular,” Syfers said. “It’s paid royalties every year since it was published in Ms. and hundreds of books.”

Brady Syfers ended up getting a divorce years later and reverted to her original name, Judy Brady. She remained an activist in San Francisco the rest of her life, fighting for the rights of women, the disabled and breast cancer survivors. In May 2017, she died at age 80 and a memorial service at the Women’s Building in San Francisco celebrated her life of activism, Maia Syfers said.

“She was proud of ‘Why I Want a Wife,” but I think she was surprised at how iconic it became. She said it came right from her gut.”

Read more Retropolis:

She coined the term ‘glass ceiling.’ She fears it will outlive her.

She said her boss raped her in a bank vault. Her sexual harassment case would make legal history.

She was attacked 50 years ago for being a woman in the Boston Marathon. Then she ran it again at 70.

i want a wife essay

I Want a Wife, The Wife Drought – 1970s feminism still rings true

i want a wife essay

PhD candidate, UNSW Sydney

Disclosure statement

Isobelle Barrett Meyering does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

UNSW Sydney provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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i want a wife essay

Three years ago Annabel Crabb argued on ABC’s The Drum that a lack of wives is what really holds back women in the Australian workforce. She jokingly suggested that what was needed was a “wife quota”.

When my partner sent me a link to her column, I was more than pleased. Was he volunteering to be one of those men who would help fill the shortage? As a historian of 1970s feminism, I was also somewhat bemused.

Crabb’s article reminded me of a classic work of the American women’s movement written more than 40 years ago.

Judy Syfers’ short essay, I Want a Wife , was based on a speech Syfers (now Brady) delivered on August 26 1970 at a rally in San Francisco to mark the 50th anniversary of American women’s suffrage.

Syfers was a housewife, mother of two and recent recruit to the Californian women’s movement. Her essay began with a moment of revelation:

Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce.

Conveniently, his child was now living with his ex-wife and, free of parental obligations, he was on the lookout for a new wife. And so came Syfers’ moment of recognition:

As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife.

Syfers’ essay became an instant feminist classic. It was reproduced in Notes from the Third Year (1971), an important anthology of feminist works edited by New York activists Anne Koedt and Shulamith Firestone.

It also featured in the preview issue of the popular feminist magazine, Ms., which sold out in eight days after it was released on 20 December 1971.

And 40 years later, here was Crabb making much the same point. Since then, Crabb has gone on to write The Wife Drought , released in late September. Filled with personal anecdotes of juggling three kids and a career many would envy, the book is witty, heartfelt and informed by the latest research.

With her common touch and broad appeal, Crabb has made a timely contribution to the work-life debate.

But when I finally sat down to read The Wife Drought last week I was not so much bemused as bewildered to discover that it too contained not a single reference to I Want a Wife. Most reviewers of the book likewise seemed oblivious to the connection.

Only feminist stalwart Wendy McCarthy, one of the founding members of the New South Wales branch of the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) in 1972, seemed to know about Syfers’ article. Reviewing The Wife Drought for Anne Summers Reports, she reminisced over reading I Want a Wife for the first time.

Of all the articles in the original edition of Ms., it was “the piece that spoke to me”, McCarthy explained.

I was pregnant with my third child and working out the logistics of being wife, mother, teacher and community activist. Dear God, I needed a wife.

Writing in October this year, McCarthy found Crabb’s book “as loveable” as Syfers’ article, if “eerily scary that so little and yet so much has changed”.

If, like me, she was slightly perturbed that Syfers’ article seems to have been forgotten, she didn’t say so. To set the record straight, this is what Syfers had to say in 1971.

Like Crabb, Syfers set out to expose the taken for granted status of women’s work in the home. She set her sights not only on the invisibility of housework and childcare, but on the emotional and sexual labour of wives. Written in the early years of women’s liberation, the article was more scathing in its tone than The Wife Drought.

Husbands, it implied, were selfish, lazy and ungrateful. They were self-absorbed and altogether uninterested in their own children. To take just a few examples:

I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me … I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life … When I meet people at school that I like and want to entertain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about things that interest me and my friends … I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied. And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it …

The list of demands was relentless.

And the final punch line?

Wives, Syfers warned, were replaceable.

If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one.

I Want a Wife was a cutting piece of satire and the depiction of men was far from flattering.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that Syfers’ piece has been since overlooked. The failure to make a connection between Syfers’ article and Crabb’s The Wife Drought is symptomatic of a wider pattern in popular debate about feminism.

It reflects a tendency to forget past feminisms or, worse, misrepresent them – what historian Natasha Campo describes as the process of “re-remembering” feminism.

Tracing Australian media views of feminism from 1980 onwards, Campo has shown how key tenets of 1970s feminism have been misconstrued.

Feminists were blamed for telling women that they could “have it all” – a claim, as Campo points out, that was more a product of British journalist Shirley Conran’s bestseller Superwoman (1975) than of the organised women’s movement.

Ideas such as equal parenting, which had long been espoused by feminists, came to be presented as “new” solutions.

To her credit, Crabb is much more fair-minded in her treatment of past feminisms. For the most part, she refrains from blaming previous generations for the challenges now faced by women who seek to combine work and family. She also brings a historical sensibility to her work, examining past obstacles to gender equality such as the marriage bar in the public service, which remained in place federally until 1966.

Nonetheless, there is a missed opportunity here to link current dilemmas with those illuminated by feminists like Syfers in the 1970s. The parallel between Crabb’s The Wife Drought and Syfers’ I Want a Wife is a poignant reminder that the insights of 1970s feminism still have much to offer those concerned about gender inequality.

Some ideas may now be outdated and some may be outlandish. But many, like Syfers’ I Want a Wife, continue to ring true today.

Who knows what other feminist ideas might be overdue for a comeback?

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I Want a Wife’ by Judy Brady

Introduction, subject, tone, and thesis, rhetorical techniques.

Judy Brady’s life began in 1937 in San Francisco, California, and became rather famous for having an active role within the feminist movement of the 1960s. In addition to being an author and editor, she also supported a number of political and environmental movements. Brady used to write for Ms. Magazine, the Women’s Review of Books, Greenpeace Magazine, and many others. One of her most well-known essays is “I want a wife,” which was published in 1971in the inaugural issue of Ms. Magazine. Despite the fact that this sarcastic literary work first appeared several decades ago, it is still rather famous and is being discussed by researchers and participants of feminist movements. The aim of this paper is to identify the essay’s subject, tone, purpose, audience, and thesis and discuss the types of appeal, ethos, logos, and pathos, and some other rhetorical techniques.

The entire focus of Brady’s essay is on the subject of wives’ traditional roles within their homes and various expected duties toward their families. The author uses a satirical tone to show readers how a wife is viewed by her husband and the whole society. Moreover, the tone of the essay is often condescending: “I want a wife who will go along when our family takes a vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and change of scene” (Brady). As for the thesis of the essay, the author describes the enormous number of wives’ duties and states that addressing these responsibilities is the only thing husbands need from them.

The purpose of Brady’s essay is to convince the readers to start looking objectively at the expectations and viewpoints of men about what a wife is and what she should do. Without saying this directly, the author uses irony instead to persuade all women to stop, think carefully, and understand that they do not have to behave this way and be the slaves of men. Brady constantly repeats the phrase “I want a wife to…” and tries to rattle up readers’ emotions and encourage them to take action and prevent the roles of women from demoralizing them (Brady). Moreover, in this essay, husbands’ laziness and selfishness are implied.

It is evident that the essay was written to all husbands and wives. It is possible to understand this since the article discusses expectations about a wife, and some moments of life after marriage like cooking, taking care of children, and doing the household chores are described. However, Brady writes not only for married couples but also to all women and men in general.

Ethos is one of the three appeals that a writer uses in order to convince the audience of the argument; precisely this appeal refers to any element of an essay that is meant to call to the ethics or ethical responsibilities of readers. Brady establishes and proves her credibility in the first several sentences of the essay. She says: “I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother,” and readers understand that she may be trusted because she knows what she is writing about (Brady). Moreover, Brady must have experienced this annoying attitude of men herself as she sounds like an annoyed and fed-up wife.

Pathos is another appeal that is a quality of the author’s life’s experience that has to stir up readers’ emotions of sorrow, sympathy, and pity. It is the method of persuading the audience in the drawn-out argument through an emotional response. Brady wants people that read her essay to get angry at the topic and take action. Moreover, she wants all men who expect their wives and other women to perform all those duties and keep silent to feel jealous and wrong. The author addresses the exaggerated expectations of men and the stresses of the everyday life of their wives. After listing the duties required from a married woman, Brady says, “My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?” (Brady). This rather emotional conclusion towards the argument with the irony’s presence indicates that women are mistreated and are under extreme stress.

Logos is the third appeal that has to convince readers by employing logic or reason. The essay of Brady contains clear arguments, and one of them is that women are expected to fulfill too many obligations. This idea is not delivered directly but referred to by the list of a wife’s roles and responsibilities. Moreover, it is rather ironic that there are no duties that a husband has; therefore, the inequality among men and women is another argument identified in the essay. Brady and her essay attract the audience by their credibility and trustworthiness. Also, the author uses humor and rather simple words that are quite effective in expressing her opinion.

To express her ideas, Brady uses irony and sarcasm in her essay. For example, she says that a wife must be loyal to her husband while he is free to leave her any time he wants (Brady). Hyperbole is evident in the sentence, “I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time from school” (Brady). By repeating the phrase “I want a wife to…,” the author uses parallelism. The syntax is another rhetorical technique; the writer creates imperative sentences filled with many commas to incorporate straight to the point. In addition, the listing gives the audience perspective on the overwhelming responsibilities that are expected from a wife.

Brady, J. (2017). ‘I want a wife,’ the timeless ’70s feminist manifesto . The Cut .

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Rhetoric Analysis “I Want a Wife” by Judy Brady

  • Rhetoric Analysis “I Want a…

Judy Brady’s essay  I Want a Wife  generally applies several anecdotes to explore the demands of being a wife and gender roles and expectations. Speaking from her own experience, Brady is bitter about how demanding being a wife is and how the same demands are not expected of men. Overall, Brady’s concern is that the imbalance between gender roles and exaggerated expectations leaves women disadvantaged, hence emphasizing gender inequality within families and in society.

Brady applies satire to address the burdens of being a wife and make her argument compelling to evoke engagement in the audience. Besides, the author’s style and article’s structure combine ethos, pathos, and logos to address the overall theme of female suppression in society. Therefore, the author successfully appeals to the readers’ emotions, reason, and values, which garners sympathy for the author and women, especially when gender equality, women empowerment or suffrage, and the civil rights movement were a priority for society.

The author appeals to pathos to persuade the reader by purposely evoking sympathy and making them feel what the author feels about women being overburdened. Brady uses personal experience and a satirical tone to discuss the exaggerated expectations society expects from wives. The author’s concern is motivated by how easy it is for men to move into new marriages because they do not bear the same burdens and responsibilities as women.

Brady writes, “Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is looking for another wife” (Brady). The male friend’s situation makes Brady realize that men expect so much from wives as the family’s support system, who have to take care of children, address familial needs, manage the household, and support the husband to achieve his dreams. The societal expectation of a wife to multitask and be indispensable to the man and the family is the source of Brady’s frustration, inviting the audience to see things from her point of view by appealing to pathos throughout the essay. 

Brady also appeals to logic by appealing to the reader’s sense of reason particularly by providing facts. The examples the author provides are suitable for the overall argument and fit perfectly in the 1970s when the article was written. Men and society have various perspectives on the roles and responsibilities of wives even if the expectations suppress women more than men. Brady argues that marriage transforms men and women differently and the transformation disfavors the latter more. Women must take care of household duties, seek opinions from their husbands, fulfill all needs, be available and supportive, and be responsible wives.

The 1970s saw much of the women’s rights movement’s efforts and marches focus on pushing for gender equality in universities and workplaces. Feminists specifically sought more hospitable spaces for women and created more policies to create equal opportunities and ban sexual harassment.  I Want a Wife  contributed to the women’s suffrage protests in this period, although on a different front. The author’s realistic demands resonated with many women and defined the women’s movement as a feminist classic that highlighted gender imbalance, a problem that persists today.

Furthermore, the author appeals to credibility by tapping into the readers’ ideologies and values, especially dignity for all, feminism, and equality. Brady explores the various roles in different sectors in the essay but maintains the words “I want a wife” for each to highlight the sarcasm and humor to maintain the essay’s overall objective to sensitize the audience about female suppression. In the introduction, Brady uses her personal experience to get the audience to understand her general argument and to make her feelings about the issue known. In paragraph one Brady lists the maternal roles of a wife, including being an excellent nurturant, organizing the children’s social life, and addressing the children’s health needs, among others.

The second paragraph addresses the wife’s domestic roles, like cleaning the house, keeping clothes clean, ironing grocery shopping, and relieving her husband’s stress and pain. The third paragraph explores the wife’s mechanical responsibilities, where she has to understand and explain her husband’s difficulties and type papers the husband writes. In paragraph 4, Brady explains the social roles and expectations, including playing hostess to her husband’s friends, meeting the man’s acquaintances, and not interrupting conversations.

The sixth paragraph explores the wife’s sexual responsibilities, such as sexually satisfying the man, birth control, and remaining faithful. Lastly, Brady discusses the woman’s disposable or replaceable role in case the husband wants a new partner, including raising the children independently (Brady). The structure allows Brady to explore women as unequal partners in marriage and contribute extensively to the female suppression theme. 

In conclusion, Brady combines personal experience, logic, and values to discuss a prevalent societal issue in I Want a Wife. Throughout history, society has laid out gender roles and expectations that favor men and suppress women. I Want a Wife is among feminists and women’s suffrage efforts to achieve gender equality and female empowerment. The essay, therefore, achieves the author’s overall objective of enlightening the audience about female suppression within the marriage scope and persuading them to see from her point of view to incentivize sympathy.

Brady, Judy. “Why I want a wife.”  75 Readings: An Anthology  (1972): 325-327.

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Family Issues in “I Want a Wife” by Judy Brady Essay (Article Review)

What is the article about?

The article is about family issues. It resembles soap operas.

What is the style of the article?

The style of writing was descriptive writing. I think so because it focused on describing the character (wife). It was also poetic and the desirable wife was described in detail.

What is the tone of the article?

The tone of the article was depressing. This is so because the author seems to be in deep thought and facing serious difficulties that lead her to consider getting a ‘wife’.

List at least 10 vocabularies that you are interested in or hardly understand

The vocabularies included nurturant, hours, d’oeuvres, rambling, replenish, clutter, liberty, intellectual, adherence, and monogamy.

Summary of the article

In the first paragraph, the author clarified that she was a wife and a mother. In the second paragraph, she talks of a man she met recently. The man had been recently divorced and was looking for another wife. This is where the thought of having a wife came to the author. In the third paragraph, the author explained the reasons why she needed a wife. She was thinking of furthering her studies and becoming financially stable. She also needed a wife that would take care of the children’s needs. This individual had to ensure that the children were well fed and clothed. The children’s social needs also had to be addressed.

In the fourth paragraph, the author argued that she needed a wife that would take care of her physical needs. The individual had to do her house chores, ensure that her clothes were clean, ironed, and mended, cook her meals, and do the shopping. She also needed that person who would go on vacation with her family and take care of them whenever they need. In the fifth paragraph, the author explained that she needed a wife who would simply work and not complain about her duties. She also needed to be a good listener so that she would listen to her as she presents her issues.

In the sixth paragraph, the author needed a wife who would take care of her social life. This included taking care of her children as she went to meet her friends. She was also to attend to the visitors that came visiting. In the seventh paragraph, the author expressed her desire to have a wife that would take care of her sexual needs. The wife had to be faithful and understanding. In the eighth paragraph, the author elaborates that she needs the freedom to exchange the wife for any other suitable one. In the ninth paragraph, she expects the wife to quit working when she clears school. The wife would take care of all duties. Finally, she wonders who would not want a wife.

What kind of reader do you think the author was writing for?

I think the author was writing mainly to young single mothers. This is so because she talks of a wife and a mother. From the way she presents her ideas, she appears to be a single mother since she was thinking of a recently divorced man and empathized with him. She seems to be going through the same thing the man is going through. The struggles of a single mother seem to be highlighted in detail. These include the responsibilities of raising children and the need to get space that would allow her to do other things besides taking care of her children. She feels like her social life has been affected since she does not have adequate time with her friends.

Do you agree or disagree with the author’s opinion? What does the author want to inform us? Do you think the author is trying to convince the reader to do or feel something?

I agreed with some of the author’s ideas but disagreed with the one to do with seeking sexual fulfillment from the wife and demanding freedom to replace the wife for another. This is a persuasive article since the author is trying to convince the reader to feel something. The author is trying to convince the readers about the importance of having a wife. She does this by presenting an argument while establishing facts to support it. She was trying to convince the reader to agree with her judgment and to adopt her way of thinking about women in her situation. It is a persuasive essay since it was quite convincing. She was confident in putting across her ideas and values.

The author also tried to persuade the reader to adopt her way of thinking by writing from the reader’s perspective. This way, she was able to catch the reader’s attention. She finished by asking why anyone would not want to have a wife. This highlights that the values placed for a wife were those that anyone would want to have. Surely, anyone would want to have such a wife – who would do all you want her to do but at the same time give you the space that you need.

The hardest paragraph to understand

The hardest paragraph to understand was the ninth one. This is because she seems to be talking about two different people when referring to the wife. She says that she wants a wife who will take care of her wife’s duties.

I Want a Wife. Judy Brady.

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IvyPanda. (2022, June 8). Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady. https://ivypanda.com/essays/i-want-a-wife-article-by-judy-brady/

"Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady." IvyPanda , 8 June 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/i-want-a-wife-article-by-judy-brady/.

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady'. 8 June.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady." June 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/i-want-a-wife-article-by-judy-brady/.

1. IvyPanda . "Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady." June 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/i-want-a-wife-article-by-judy-brady/.

Bibliography

IvyPanda . "Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady." June 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/i-want-a-wife-article-by-judy-brady/.

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i want a wife essay

In the summer, in the south of France, my husband and I like to play, rather badly, the lottery. We take long, scorching walks to the village — gratuitous beauty, gratuitous heat — kicking up dust and languid debates over how we’d spend such an influx. I purchase scratch-offs, jackpot tickets, scraping the former with euro coins in restaurants too fine for that. I never cash them in, nor do I check the winning numbers. For I already won something like the lotto, with its gifts and its curses, when he married me.

He is ten years older than I am. I chose him on purpose, not by chance. As far as life decisions go, on balance, I recommend it.

When I was 20 and a junior at Harvard College, a series of great ironies began to mock me. I could study all I wanted, prove myself as exceptional as I liked, and still my fiercest advantage remained so universal it deflated my other plans. My youth. The newness of my face and body. Compellingly effortless; cruelly fleeting. I shared it with the average, idle young woman shrugging down the street. The thought, when it descended on me, jolted my perspective, the way a falling leaf can make you look up: I could diligently craft an ideal existence, over years and years of sleepless nights and industry. Or I could just marry it early.

So naturally I began to lug a heavy suitcase of books each Saturday to the Harvard Business School to work on my Nabokov paper. In one cavernous, well-appointed room sat approximately 50 of the planet’s most suitable bachelors. I had high breasts, most of my eggs, plausible deniability when it came to purity, a flush ponytail, a pep in my step that had yet to run out. Apologies to Progress, but older men still desired those things.

I could not understand why my female classmates did not join me, given their intelligence. Each time I reconsidered the project, it struck me as more reasonable. Why ignore our youth when it amounted to a superpower? Why assume the burdens of womanhood, its too-quick-to-vanish upper hand, but not its brief benefits at least? Perhaps it came easier to avoid the topic wholesale than to accept that women really do have a tragically short window of power, and reason enough to take advantage of that fact while they can. As for me, I liked history, Victorian novels, knew of imminent female pitfalls from all the books I’d read: vampiric boyfriends; labor, at the office and in the hospital, expected simultaneously; a decline in status as we aged, like a looming eclipse. I’d have disliked being called calculating, but I had, like all women, a calculator in my head. I thought it silly to ignore its answers when they pointed to an unfairness for which we really ought to have been preparing.

I was competitive by nature, an English-literature student with all the corresponding major ambitions and minor prospects (Great American novel; email job). A little Bovarist , frantic for new places and ideas; to travel here, to travel there, to be in the room where things happened. I resented the callow boys in my class, who lusted after a particular, socially sanctioned type on campus: thin and sexless, emotionally detached and socially connected, the opposite of me. Restless one Saturday night, I slipped on a red dress and snuck into a graduate-school event, coiling an HDMI cord around my wrist as proof of some technical duty. I danced. I drank for free, until one of the organizers asked me to leave. I called and climbed into an Uber. Then I promptly climbed out of it. For there he was, emerging from the revolving doors. Brown eyes, curved lips, immaculate jacket. I went to him, asked him for a cigarette. A date, days later. A second one, where I discovered he was a person, potentially my favorite kind: funny, clear-eyed, brilliant, on intimate terms with the universe.

I used to love men like men love women — that is, not very well, and with a hunger driven only by my own inadequacies. Not him. In those early days, I spoke fondly of my family, stocked the fridge with his favorite pasta, folded his clothes more neatly than I ever have since. I wrote his mother a thank-you note for hosting me in his native France, something befitting a daughter-in-law. It worked; I meant it. After graduation and my fellowship at Oxford, I stayed in Europe for his career and married him at 23.

Of course I just fell in love. Romances have a setting; I had only intervened to place myself well. Mainly, I spotted the precise trouble of being a woman ahead of time, tried to surf it instead of letting it drown me on principle. I had grown bored of discussions of fair and unfair, equal or unequal , and preferred instead to consider a thing called ease.

The reception of a particular age-gap relationship depends on its obviousness. The greater and more visible the difference in years and status between a man and a woman, the more it strikes others as transactional. Transactional thinking in relationships is both as American as it gets and the least kosher subject in the American romantic lexicon. When a 50-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman walk down the street, the questions form themselves inside of you; they make you feel cynical and obscene: How good of a deal is that? Which party is getting the better one? Would I take it? He is older. Income rises with age, so we assume he has money, at least relative to her; at minimum, more connections and experience. She has supple skin. Energy. Sex. Maybe she gets a Birkin. Maybe he gets a baby long after his prime. The sight of their entwined hands throws a lucid light on the calculations each of us makes, in love, to varying degrees of denial. You could get married in the most romantic place in the world, like I did, and you would still have to sign a contract.

Twenty and 30 is not like 30 and 40; some freshness to my features back then, some clumsiness in my bearing, warped our decade, in the eyes of others, to an uncrossable gulf. Perhaps this explains the anger we felt directed at us at the start of our relationship. People seemed to take us very, very personally. I recall a hellish car ride with a friend of his who began to castigate me in the backseat, in tones so low that only I could hear him. He told me, You wanted a rich boyfriend. You chased and snuck into parties . He spared me the insult of gold digger, but he drew, with other words, the outline for it. Most offended were the single older women, my husband’s classmates. They discussed me in the bathroom at parties when I was in the stall. What does he see in her? What do they talk about? They were concerned about me. They wielded their concern like a bludgeon. They paraphrased without meaning to my favorite line from Nabokov’s Lolita : “You took advantage of my disadvantage,” suspecting me of some weakness he in turn mined. It did not disturb them, so much, to consider that all relationships were trades. The trouble was the trade I’d made struck them as a bad one.

The truth is you can fall in love with someone for all sorts of reasons, tiny transactions, pluses and minuses, whose sum is your affection for each other, your loyalty, your commitment. The way someone picks up your favorite croissant. Their habit of listening hard. What they do for you on your anniversary and your reciprocal gesture, wrapped thoughtfully. The serenity they inspire; your happiness, enlivening it. When someone says they feel unappreciated, what they really mean is you’re in debt to them.

When I think of same-age, same-stage relationships, what I tend to picture is a woman who is doing too much for too little.

I’m 27 now, and most women my age have “partners.” These days, girls become partners quite young. A partner is supposed to be a modern answer to the oppression of marriage, the terrible feeling of someone looming over you, head of a household to which you can only ever be the neck. Necks are vulnerable. The problem with a partner, however, is if you’re equal in all things, you compromise in all things. And men are too skilled at taking .

There is a boy out there who knows how to floss because my friend taught him. Now he kisses college girls with fresh breath. A boy married to my friend who doesn’t know how to pack his own suitcase. She “likes to do it for him.” A million boys who know how to touch a woman, who go to therapy because they were pushed, who learned fidelity, boundaries, decency, manners, to use a top sheet and act humanely beneath it, to call their mothers, match colors, bring flowers to a funeral and inhale, exhale in the face of rage, because some girl, some girl we know, some girl they probably don’t speak to and will never, ever credit, took the time to teach him. All while she was working, raising herself, clawing up the cliff-face of adulthood. Hauling him at her own expense.

I find a post on Reddit where five thousand men try to define “ a woman’s touch .” They describe raised flower beds, blankets, photographs of their loved ones, not hers, sprouting on the mantel overnight. Candles, coasters, side tables. Someone remembering to take lint out of the dryer. To give compliments. I wonder what these women are getting back. I imagine them like Cinderella’s mice, scurrying around, their sole proof of life their contributions to a more central character. On occasion I meet a nice couple, who grew up together. They know each other with a fraternalism tender and alien to me.  But I think of all my friends who failed at this, were failed at this, and I think, No, absolutely not, too risky . Riskier, sometimes, than an age gap.

My younger brother is in his early 20s, handsome, successful, but in many ways: an endearing disaster. By his age, I had long since wisened up. He leaves his clothes in the dryer, takes out a single shirt, steams it for three minutes. His towel on the floor, for someone else to retrieve. His lovely, same-age girlfriend is aching to fix these tendencies, among others. She is capable beyond words. Statistically, they will not end up together. He moved into his first place recently, and she, the girlfriend, supplied him with a long, detailed list of things he needed for his apartment: sheets, towels, hangers, a colander, which made me laugh. She picked out his couch. I will bet you anything she will fix his laundry habits, and if so, they will impress the next girl. If they break up, she will never see that couch again, and he will forget its story. I tell her when I visit because I like her, though I get in trouble for it: You shouldn’t do so much for him, not for someone who is not stuck with you, not for any boy, not even for my wonderful brother.

Too much work had left my husband, by 30, jaded and uninspired. He’d burned out — but I could reenchant things. I danced at restaurants when they played a song I liked. I turned grocery shopping into an adventure, pleased by what I provided. Ambitious, hungry, he needed someone smart enough to sustain his interest, but flexible enough in her habits to build them around his hours. I could. I do: read myself occupied, make myself free, materialize beside him when he calls for me. In exchange, I left a lucrative but deadening spreadsheet job to write full-time, without having to live like a writer. I learned to cook, a little, and decorate, somewhat poorly. Mostly I get to read, to walk central London and Miami and think in delicious circles, to work hard, when necessary, for free, and write stories for far less than minimum wage when I tally all the hours I take to write them.

At 20, I had felt daunted by the project of becoming my ideal self, couldn’t imagine doing it in tandem with someone, two raw lumps of clay trying to mold one another and only sullying things worse. I’d go on dates with boys my age and leave with the impression they were telling me not about themselves but some person who didn’t exist yet and on whom I was meant to bet regardless. My husband struck me instead as so finished, formed. Analyzable for compatibility. He bore the traces of other women who’d improved him, small but crucial basics like use a coaster ; listen, don’t give advice. Young egos mellow into patience and generosity.

My husband isn’t my partner. He’s my mentor, my lover, and, only in certain contexts, my friend. I’ll never forget it, how he showed me around our first place like he was introducing me to myself: This is the wine you’ll drink, where you’ll keep your clothes, we vacation here, this is the other language we’ll speak, you’ll learn it, and I did. Adulthood seemed a series of exhausting obligations. But his logistics ran so smoothly that he simply tacked mine on. I moved into his flat, onto his level, drag and drop, cleaner thrice a week, bills automatic. By opting out of partnership in my 20s, I granted myself a kind of compartmentalized, liberating selfishness none of my friends have managed. I am the work in progress, the party we worry about, a surprising dominance. When I searched for my first job, at 21, we combined our efforts, for my sake. He had wisdom to impart, contacts with whom he arranged coffees; we spent an afternoon, laughing, drawing up earnest lists of my pros and cons (highly sociable; sloppy math). Meanwhile, I took calls from a dear friend who had a boyfriend her age. Both savagely ambitious, hyperclose and entwined in each other’s projects. If each was a start-up , the other was the first hire, an intense dedication I found riveting. Yet every time she called me, I hung up with the distinct feeling that too much was happening at the same time: both learning to please a boss; to forge more adult relationships with their families; to pay bills and taxes and hang prints on the wall. Neither had any advice to give and certainly no stability. I pictured a three-legged race, two people tied together and hobbling toward every milestone.

I don’t fool myself. My marriage has its cons. There are only so many times one can say “thank you” — for splendid scenes, fine dinners — before the phrase starts to grate. I live in an apartment whose rent he pays and that shapes the freedom with which I can ever be angry with him. He doesn’t have to hold it over my head. It just floats there, complicating usual shorthands to explain dissatisfaction like, You aren’t being supportive lately . It’s a Frenchism to say, “Take a decision,” and from time to time I joke: from whom? Occasionally I find myself in some fabulous country at some fabulous party and I think what a long way I have traveled, like a lucky cloud, and it is frightening to think of oneself as vapor.

Mostly I worry that if he ever betrayed me and I had to move on, I would survive, but would find in my humor, preferences, the way I make coffee or the bed nothing that he did not teach, change, mold, recompose, stamp with his initials, the way Renaissance painters hid in their paintings their faces among a crowd. I wonder if when they looked at their paintings, they saw their own faces first. But this is the wrong question, if our aim is happiness. Like the other question on which I’m expected to dwell: Who is in charge, the man who drives or the woman who put him there so she could enjoy herself? I sit in the car, in the painting it would have taken me a corporate job and 20 years to paint alone, and my concern over who has the upper hand becomes as distant as the horizon, the one he and I made so wide for me.

To be a woman is to race against the clock, in several ways, until there is nothing left to be but run ragged.

We try to put it off, but it will hit us at some point: that we live in a world in which our power has a different shape from that of men, a different distribution of advantage, ours a funnel and theirs an expanding cone. A woman at 20 rarely has to earn her welcome; a boy at 20 will be turned away at the door. A woman at 30 may find a younger woman has taken her seat; a man at 30 will have invited her. I think back to the women in the bathroom, my husband’s classmates. What was my relationship if not an inconvertible sign of this unfairness? What was I doing, in marrying older, if not endorsing it? I had taken advantage of their disadvantage. I had preempted my own. After all, principled women are meant to defy unfairness, to show some integrity or denial, not plan around it, like I had. These were driven women, successful, beautiful, capable. I merely possessed the one thing they had already lost. In getting ahead of the problem, had I pushed them down? If I hadn’t, would it really have made any difference?

When we decided we wanted to be equal to men, we got on men’s time. We worked when they worked, retired when they retired, had to squeeze pregnancy, children, menopause somewhere impossibly in the margins. I have a friend, in her late 20s, who wears a mood ring; these days it is often red, flickering in the air like a siren when she explains her predicament to me. She has raised her fair share of same-age boyfriends. She has put her head down, worked laboriously alongside them, too. At last she is beginning to reap the dividends, earning the income to finally enjoy herself. But it is now, exactly at this precipice of freedom and pleasure, that a time problem comes closing in. If she would like to have children before 35, she must begin her next profession, motherhood, rather soon, compromising inevitably her original one. The same-age partner, equally unsettled in his career, will take only the minimum time off, she guesses, or else pay some cost which will come back to bite her. Everything unfailingly does. If she freezes her eggs to buy time, the decision and its logistics will burden her singly — and perhaps it will not work. Overlay the years a woman is supposed to establish herself in her career and her fertility window and it’s a perfect, miserable circle. By midlife women report feeling invisible, undervalued; it is a telling cliché, that after all this, some husbands leave for a younger girl. So when is her time, exactly? For leisure, ease, liberty? There is no brand of feminism which achieved female rest. If women’s problem in the ’50s was a paralyzing malaise, now it is that they are too active, too capable, never permitted a vacation they didn’t plan. It’s not that our efforts to have it all were fated for failure. They simply weren’t imaginative enough.

For me, my relationship, with its age gap, has alleviated this rush , permitted me to massage the clock, shift its hands to my benefit. Very soon, we will decide to have children, and I don’t panic over last gasps of fun, because I took so many big breaths of it early: on the holidays of someone who had worked a decade longer than I had, in beautiful places when I was young and beautiful, a symmetry I recommend. If such a thing as maternal energy exists, mine was never depleted. I spent the last nearly seven years supported more than I support and I am still not as old as my husband was when he met me. When I have a child, I will expect more help from him than I would if he were younger, for what does professional tenure earn you if not the right to set more limits on work demands — or, if not, to secure some child care, at the very least? When I return to work after maternal upheaval, he will aid me, as he’s always had, with his ability to put himself aside, as younger men are rarely able.

Above all, the great gift of my marriage is flexibility. A chance to live my life before I become responsible for someone else’s — a lover’s, or a child’s. A chance to write. A chance at a destiny that doesn’t adhere rigidly to the routines and timelines of men, but lends itself instead to roomy accommodation, to the very fluidity Betty Friedan dreamed of in 1963 in The Feminine Mystique , but we’ve largely forgotten: some career or style of life that “permits year-to-year variation — a full-time paid job in one community, part-time in another, exercise of the professional skill in serious volunteer work or a period of study during pregnancy or early motherhood when a full-time job is not feasible.” Some things are just not feasible in our current structures. Somewhere along the way we stopped admitting that, and all we did was make women feel like personal failures. I dream of new structures, a world in which women have entry-level jobs in their 30s; alternate avenues for promotion; corporate ladders with balconies on which they can stand still, have a smoke, take a break, make a baby, enjoy themselves, before they keep climbing. Perhaps men long for this in their own way. Actually I am sure of that.

Once, when we first fell in love, I put my head in his lap on a long car ride; I remember his hands on my face, the sun, the twisting turns of a mountain road, surprising and not surprising us like our romance, and his voice, telling me that it was his biggest regret that I was so young, he feared he would lose me. Last week, we looked back at old photos and agreed we’d given each other our respective best years. Sometimes real equality is not so obvious, sometimes it takes turns, sometimes it takes almost a decade to reveal itself.

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"Stand where he tells you to stand": Why the GOP is doubling down on misogyny in 2024

Republicans placate an evangelical base that's getting nastier with sexism — even if it costs the gop women's votes, by amanda marcotte.

"Stand where he tells you to stand, wear what he tells you to wear, and do what he tells you to do."

This is the wedding night advice offered to brides by Josh Howerton, a senior pastor at Lakepointe Church in Dallas, Texas. Lakepointe, according to the Dallas Morning News , is one of the biggest megachurches in Texas, with over 13,000 people a week attending its main location. The church itself cites a number over 40,000 a week, between its six campuses and online services. Howerton opened Sunday morning services on February 25 with this paean to sexual coercion. 

Claiming that the bride has "been planning this day her whole life," and so the groom should indulge her: "Stand where she tells you to stand, wear what she tells you to wear, and do what she tells you to do. You'll make her the happiest woman in the world." 

Then he hits folks with this counterpoint: In exchange, the bride should take a submissive role in what he pointedly calls " his wedding night," to "make him the happiest man in the world." (Howerton did not respond to a Salon request for comment.)

Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to her newsletter Standing Room Only .

In the era of robust online debate between conservative Christians  and those in the faith deconstruction movement , this clip unsurprisingly generated a lot of discussion. Sheila Wray Gregoire, a Christian critic of purity culture , responded on her Bare Marriage podcast with an episode titled, "Why Evangelical Honeymoons Often Go So Badly." Howerton responded with two beloved defenses of bigoted rhetoric on the right: that it's out of context and just a joke.

Gregoire responded in a thread arguing the context  "makes this worse" because the "joke" assumes men "don't have to take on ANY of the mental load, emotional involvement, or work of the wedding," and also that "at the wedding night, you get to act like a porn director and direct her every move so you get exactly what you want."

Evangelical sexism is getting more overtly nasty.

She concludes: "In both the wedding, and the wedding night, she does all the work for him." It's an apt rebuttal to those who claim these rigid gender roles are "fair" because they're "balanced." In reality, it's just more of the same sexist assumption that the work of marriage belongs only to women. 

All critical discourse, but my first thought upon watching this clip, I must confess: This is why the GOP is doomed in its "outreach" to claw back female voters they've lost in the Donald Trump era.

It's not just the assault on abortion rights, which they can't seem to hold back from, despite the resounding unpopularity of the anti-choice stance. It's that the MAGA base is getting ever more vitriolic with its misogyny. Part of that is due to the more secular dirtbags of the Joe Rogan/Elon Musk variety, who have become such a loud part of the Republican coalition under Trump. But this escalation of boldly misogynist rhetoric is also coming from the evangelicals. Republicans can't win without keeping those people happy, since the Christian right is where the GOP's organizing power still mainly resides. 

In her recent New York Times article about the "coarsening " of the religious right, Ruth Graham alluded to this , writing about the trend of evangelical leaders using "vulgarities." But it's not just a matter of using curse words. The vulgarities in question mostly center around an over-the-top performance of toxic masculinity: throwing around sexist terms like "sl*t" and "wh*re," homophobic slurs, and using phrases like "grow a pair." It's definitely got an overcompensation vibe to it. But along with the increasingly violent queerphobia , this means evangelical sexism is getting more overtly nasty. A lot of the faux-chivalrous condescension is being replaced with blunt malevolence and sexual objectification. 

The Republican gubernatorial nominee, Mark Robinson, is a good example. He loudly proclaims himself an evangelical Christian and occasionally is invited to preach at conservative churches. He also prefers a shock jock vibe when attacking women being sexual or demanding equality. He declared that women are to be "led by men " and, " I absolutely want to go back to the America where women couldn’t vote ." Last week, resurfaced comments showed  he's consumed by hatred for Beyoncé, who he called a "skank" who teaches "our young women to be hyper-sexual wh*res." 

Robinson's ascendance shows there's a major appetite for grossly misogynist talk among Republican voters, including those who clutch their Bibles while claiming they're doing it all for Jesus. A likelier explanation, of course, is that religion is just an increasingly thin pretext for resentment of women for getting education and jobs and more independence from men. That's why, even though it's hurting Republicans at the polls, Christian conservatives keep pushing for ever more draconian restrictions on abortion and contraception. It's even turning into a growing chorus of Christian leaders attacking no-fault divorce, which makes it easier for women to end bad or even abusive marriages. 

It's not just Christian right loudmouth pundits like Matt Walsh or   Steven Crowder complaining about no-fault divorce . As Kimberly Wehle of the Atlantic wrote in September, there's an increasingly effective religious pressure campaign on the GOP to claw back a woman's right to leave her husband. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, recently decried divorce, even to escape domestic violence . The Texas Republican platform, additionally, calls for the state legislature to "rescind unilateral no-fault divorce laws and support covenant marriage." A "covenant marriage," which makes it extremely difficult to file for divorce, happens to be what Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., has with his baby-voiced wife . 

Kelly Johnson's unnaturally high-pitched and cloying voice caught some attention when he rose to speaker late last year, but public discourse around what is called the "fundie baby voice" soared last month,  after Sen. Katie Britt gave her unsettling response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union. Britt, who typically speaks in normal voice, threatened to get squeaky at times during her televised speech. Liberal activist Jess Piper from Missouri went viral with an essay explaining the message Britt was sending with the weird voice: "Be sweet. Obey. Prove it by speaking in muted tones."

What's wild is Britt's syrupy presentation was initially framed as Republican outreach to women . I guess the thinking was female voters can relate to being trapped in their kitchens and hiding their ambitions from men by talking like toddlers. But it ended up feeling like more of the same pandering to the worst sort of men, the kind of men who call Beyoncé a "skank" and respond to being asked to wash the dishes by lobbying for an end to no-fault divorce. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., recently shrugged off the GOP's loss of female voters by saying, "for every ‘Karen’ we lose, there is a ‘Julio’ and a ‘Jamal’ ready to sign up for the MAGA movement." The statement wasn't just racist because of his trolling word choice. It was also an effort to shove responsibility for the increasingly noxious sexism of the GOP onto the shoulders of men of color. But, really, the loudmouthed misogyny is less about expanding the Republican coalition and more about base maintenance.

It's happening for a lot of reasons: Trump creates a permission structure. Social media incentivizes getting attention by being the biggest jerk on the internet. Fury over the #MeToo movement plays a role. All this has come together to create this crotch-grabbing zeitgeist on the right, even in the Christian spaces that used to pretend at a higher calling. Whatever is fueling it, however, Republican politicians know they have to tend to this burbling cesspool of toxic masculinity, which is going to get in the way of their already weak efforts to appeal to female voters. 

about this topic

  • Lara Trump's Big Lie hiring: Republicans stick with loser strategy that failed them in 2020 and 2022
  • Trump goes after judge’s daughter one day after being hit with gag order
  • Trump’s megalomania is a trap for the GOP

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of " Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself ." Follow her on Twitter  @AmandaMarcotte  and sign up for her biweekly politics newsletter, Standing Room Only .

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i want a wife essay

Dear Abby: I’m in love with my wife, but I still love my ex-wife

  • Published: Mar. 27, 2024, 12:00 p.m.

Dear Abby

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips.

  • Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married for eight years. I love my wife with my heart and soul. The problem is, although I’m in love with her, I still love my ex-wife. I never actually expressed these feelings toward my ex until recently. I write to her and call her, hoping she will answer. I don’t want to leave my wife because she’s a good woman. But so was my ex. What can I do?

Every time my wife and I have a disagreement, I start thinking about my ex and what life would’ve been like if I had stayed with her. I find myself thinking about her more and more often each day. I know my ex still loves me, although she won’t come out and say it. Is it okay to be in love with one and still love the other? -- LOTS OF LOVE IN FLORIDA

DEAR LOTS: May I inject a sliver of reality into your fantasy? You say you “know” your ex-wife still loves you although she won’t come out and say it, nor does she answer your passionate letters. I’d say her refusal to communicate sends a pretty strong message that she doesn’t feel the way you do.

I don’t know what is wrong in your current marriage, but if you don’t stop pining over the wife you dumped, you are going to lose this one, too. Counseling may help you accomplish this, and it is what I strongly recommend. Start now.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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My Dad Never Found Our What His Terrible Wife Said to Me. It’s Severed Our Relationship.

She pulled me aside last halloween..

Slate Plus members get more  Care and Feeding  every week. Have a question about kids, parenting, or family life?  Submit it here !

Dear Care and Feeding,

When I was 12, my parents got a divorce. He ended up moving in with his mistress, whom he later married. Ever since I was a kid, she has been incredibly jealous of the attention that I got from him.

For years, she expressed this by subtly tearing me down. But it came to a head last Halloween when I went over to their house to spend time with them and she told me, out of his earshot, that I wasn’t welcome there anymore. She also made some remarks about my struggle to find employment—something I was quite sensitive about at the time. I realized then that I had to be extremely careful about what I said in confidence to my father since I could never know if it was going to come back to bite me.

These days, my father and I still see each other occasionally (I no longer see his wife), and I love him—and I think he loves me—but when we’re together, I always feel anxious. I monitor myself. I don’t trust him with any details of my personal life. But I still feel obligated to see him every once in a while, plus I don’t want to hurt his feelings when he suggests getting together, so either I agree to see him or make up some excuse not to. It feels cruel and cowardly to keep him in the dark like this, but it also feels cruel to blindside him by being honest with him and admitting feelings that I’ve bottled up since childhood, feelings he knows nothing about. I don’t want to spend every interaction with him in rock mode. I want to salvage my relationship with him, but I don’t know how, or if it is at all possible.

—Love Holding Its Breath

Dear Holding,

You can’t salvage your relationship with him if you aren’t honest with him. Surely it won’t be news to him that you and his wife don’t have a relationship at all. If your telling him how hard the divorce was on you, how painful it is to you that his wife dislikes you (and how you know she does), and how sad it makes you that your relationship with him is so constrained, makes him angry, then there’s no relationship to salvage. You’re not blindsiding him, telling him all this: You’re his child , even if you’re all grown up now, and keeping how you feel from him has been a burden you are ready to put down. Even if it means that the extremely constrained, near nonexistent (it seems, from your description) relationship you have right now is shaken—even if it comes to an end—it’s time to set that burden down. He can choose to pick it up or not.

But I also want to make sure you understand that relationships are two-way streets—even between grown children and their parents— and that there is probably a lot you don’t know about his marriage to your mother and about his second marriage. There’s probably a lot you don’t know about how things stand between the two of you from his point of view. So along with telling him how you’ve been feeling, ask him how he feels. Ask him to tell you how he sees the story of what’s happened over all these years. Get a conversation going. Maybe you two can come to understand each other. But even if you can’t—it will be good to get it all into the open.

More Advice From Slate

Am I raising a mansplainer? My son is almost 5, and he has always been very voluble and also willful. For the past few months, he has taken to interrupting us when we are talking and saying, “Actually! Actually …” He does this to both me, his mother, and to his father, my spouse. It occurs when we are explaining things to him, and of course he is always really wrong, because he is 4 and these are often topics that we have a Ph.D. in.

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i want a wife essay

COMMENTS

  1. PDF I Want a Wife (1971)

    I Want a Wife (1971) Judy Brady's essay became an instant classic when it appeared in 1971 in the premier issue of the feminist magazine Ms. As you read, analyze the definitions of "husband" and "wife" that Brady uses, and consider why this essay became so powerful in the 1970s.

  2. I Want a Wife: Judy Brady's Legendary Feminist Satire

    Judy Brady's (then Judy Syfers) tongue-in-cheek essay explained in one page what all too many men had taken for granted about "housewives" and why they should want a wife. The essay, published in Ms. magazine in 1970, was a humorous and serious critique of the role of women in society and the patriarchal system.

  3. I Want a Wife: Analysis of Judy Brady's Main Thesis

    "I Want a Wife" is an essay outlining the evidence of women being treated poorly and unequal to men. Some people to be more specific men, would say that is okay and that is their job but it is just simply them following the society during that time. I could understand both clarifications because of evidence, language, intended audience ...

  4. Judy Brady's Article "I Want a Wife": Analysis

    The short essay I Want a Wife that was featured in 1972 Ms. Magazine, takes the idea of feminism to a whole new level. In a sarcastic and almost humorous way, Judy Brady exaggerates the expected roles of a common household wife in the 70's. In doing so, she also takes jabs at husbands as a whole.

  5. 'Why I Want a Wife': Feminist Judy Brady Syfer's essay appeals to

    Advertisement. "I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes ...

  6. Gender Studies: "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady Essay (Critical Writing)

    Later, in 1990, the article was reprinted with a title "Why I Still Want a Wife" (Judy Brady, par. 1). General Summary. The essay "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady is designed to demonstrated the demands and pressure put on married women by their husbands and the society. The author shows what men want to see in a good wife.

  7. PDF I want a wife by Judy Brady

    I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it.

  8. Understanding "Why I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady

    Judy Brady's essay, "Why I Want a Wife," is a thought-provoking piece that challenges societal norms and gender roles. Originally published in Ms. Magazine in 1972, Brady's essay is a satirical take on the expectations placed on wives and women in traditional marriages. Through her humorous and biting commentary, Brady highlights the unequal ...

  9. I Want a Wife, The Wife Drought

    Judy Syfers' short essay, I Want a Wife, was based on a speech Syfers (now Brady) delivered on August 26 1970 at a rally in San Francisco to mark the 50th anniversary of American women's suffrage.

  10. "I Want a Wife" by Brady

    The main statement is that everyone would like to have a wife because it is convenient since wives do all the work. I think that Brady does not want the kind of wife she describes. In particular, although she states that she desires to have such a wife, she understands that it is impossible (Brady, 1971). She represents all the characteristics ...

  11. I Want a Wife' by Judy Brady

    Rhetorical Techniques. To express her ideas, Brady uses irony and sarcasm in her essay. For example, she says that a wife must be loyal to her husband while he is free to leave her any time he wants (Brady). Hyperbole is evident in the sentence, "I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time ...

  12. Rhetoric Analysis "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady

    Judy Brady's essay I Want a Wife generally applies several anecdotes to explore the demands of being a wife and gender roles and expectations. Speaking from her own experience, Brady is bitter about how demanding being a wife is and how the same demands are not expected of men. Overall, Brady's concern is that the imbalance between.

  13. I Want a Wife Essay

    The essay "I Want A Wife" is very intense and written by a great feminist writer of her time Judy Brady. The essay was written in 1971 and is about how a wife should conduct herself in the eyes of a male figure. The tone of this essay is dramatic, sarcastic, and even humorous, but at the same time, can be conceived as serious. ...

  14. Family Issues in "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady Essay (Article Review)

    Summary of the article. In the first paragraph, the author clarified that she was a wife and a mother. In the second paragraph, she talks of a man she met recently. The man had been recently divorced and was looking for another wife. This is where the thought of having a wife came to the author.

  15. Rhetorical Analysis of 'I Want A Wife'

    The purpose of the feminist movement was to have a right to vote and have the same equal rights as male citizens. Judy Brady's essay "I Want A Wife" first appeared in the Ms. Magazine's inaugural issue in 1971. The genre of the article is a classic piece of feminist humor and is depicted as satirical prose. In this essay Brady aims to ...

  16. Rhetorical Analysis of 'I Want A Wife'

    The second wave of the feminist movement in the United States began during early 1960's and lasted throughout late 1970's. The purpose of the feminist movement was to have a right to vote and have the same equal rights as male citizens. Judy Brady's essay "I Want A Wife" first appeared in the Ms. Magazine's inaugural issue in 1971.

  17. Essay: 'I Want a Wife' by Judy Brady Summary

    Download. "I Want a Wife" is a satirical essay written by Judy Brady in 1971 that delves into the societal expectations and inequalities faced by women in marriage. Through a clever and humorous narrative, Brady assumes the role of a wife who lists all the attributes she desires in her ideal partner. However, upon closer examination, it becomes ...

  18. Review of Judy Brady's Article, I Want a Wife

    In her essay, "I Want a Wife," Judy Brady explores society's expectations on women's roles in a marital household during the early 1970s. Using rhetoric, she strategically places a rather impactful, new viewpoint into the minds of her readers in just under two pages. The entirety of the essay is one long satire, reading like a list and ...

  19. "I Want a Wife" Flashcards

    The essay progresses from least offensive to most offensive aspects of the husband-wife relationship. Considering Brady's audience--women reading a feminist magazine in 1971--her piece is appealing in that it starts out with the types of support that women routinely give to men, which they may consider a good use of their time and their lives.

  20. I Want A Wife by Judy Brady Annotated Essay

    i want a wife by judy brady annotated essay - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. Scribd is the world's largest social reading and publishing site.

  21. Age Gap Relationships: The Case for Marrying an Older Man

    A series about ways to take life off "hard mode," from changing careers to gaming the stock market, moving back home, or simply marrying wisely. Illustration: Celine Ka Wing Lau. In the summer, in the south of France, my husband and I like to play, rather badly, the lottery. We take long, scorching walks to the village — gratuitous beauty ...

  22. "Stand where he tells you to stand": Why the GOP is doubling down on

    Liberal activist Jess Piper from Missouri went viral with an essay explaining the message Britt was sending with the weird voice: "Be sweet. Obey. Obey. Prove it by speaking in muted tones."

  23. Analysis of Rhetorical Devices Used in Judy Brady's I Want a Wife

    The essay "Why I Want a Wife", written by Judy Brady in 1970 immediately took to the headlines, seen as a piece that encompassed and critiqued the stereotypical life of a wife in the mid 1900's. Brady, in "Why I Want a Wife", ...

  24. The Analysis Of I Want A Wife English Literature Essay

    The second wave of the feminist movement in the United States began during early 1960's and lasted throughout late 1970's. The purpose of the feminist movement was to have a right to vote and have the same equal rights as male citizens. Judy Brady's essay "I Want A Wife" first appeared in the Ms. Magazine's inaugural issue in 1971.

  25. Dear Abby: I'm in love with my wife, but I still love my ex-wife

    Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. DEAR ABBY: I've been married for eight years. I love my wife with my heart and soul. The problem is, although I'm in ...

  26. My Dad Never Found Out What His Terrible Wife Said to Me. It's Severed

    So along with telling him how you've been feeling, ask him how he feels. Ask him to tell you how he sees the story of what's happened over all these years. Get a conversation going. Maybe you ...

  27. The Significance of Judy Brady's Article, I Want a Wife, in Today's

    Brady, in her essay, says, "I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied. And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it;" (521) To me, it almost sounds like rape.