“Why I Want A Wife”
“Why I Want A Wife” is an essay which criticizes how women have been dominated and used by men in patriarchal societies. This essay was written by Judy Brady in the 1970s to protest the violation of women’s rights. This essay begins with the words of the writer who happens to see her male friend who got divorced with one child and wanted to find a wife again. From there the writer then suddenly thinks that having a “wife” is an important mission. Her essay “Why I Want A Wife” narrates how wives are used to pamper their husbands’ needs and to make them happy, no matter how the wives may feel. From the essay it is obvious that women’s feelings are not considered at all since the focus is the egos of the men who say “I want a wife who...”. All refer to the husbands’ wants and needs. Meanwhile, a man keeps talking about his dreams of continuing his studies and being pampered physically, psychologically and emotionally by his female partners, and one more thing, he wants to be left free with no entailing responsibilities should he get divorced – some of which are shown through the following:
”I want a who 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. … I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with jealousies. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate to people as fully as possible.... 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. Naturally, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible for them so that I am left free.
- The rhetorical appeals to highlight in this essay are of four types – ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos. Ethos, the first rhetorical appeal, relates to the principles of credibility – trust between the reader and the writer. The ethos of this essay is well reflected through how the writer is able convey what she wants to deliver to her readers convincingly with trustworthy sources. Brady employs what she has observed and experienced as a woman in the 1970s. She, therefore, endeavors to portray the facts encountered by women in their daily life, especially in their roles as wives. The uniqueness that lies within this essay is that Brady appropriately addresses the problem using the viewpoint from a husband starting with ultimate phrase, “I want a wife who…” and not with “I am a wife whom …” This is nicely done by Brady to show the dominance of men in women’s lives in the 1970s.
- The second rhetorical appeal, pathos, highlights our sensibility towards the condition of women in the 1970s, when the Women’s Liberation Movement occurred. All the reasons the writer discusses prompt us to sympathize with women’s condition in general. Here in the essay, Brady informs us that a wife is deprived of her rights to protest her husband for having his right into polygamous relationship (“I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful... my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy”). Even further, the husband is able to replace his wife with any “new wives” he feels attracted to. Through all the sufferings that befall the women as wives, the readers are drawn to sympathize with them.
- Next, the third element, logos, is the way the writer wants to connect us through her arguments she offers to encourage us to think deeper (logics). Brady proposes the reasons for having a wife which she considers to be very “helpful” or “useful”, when a wife is around the house. A wife’s “usefulness” is clearly portrayed throughout the whole essay; arguments are given to support the logic of the “usefulness” of wives. Some of the arguments are that women have to maintain all around the house, like children, food, and husband in order to be “useful”. The arguments are to show that the wife’s worth is only found at home. All these negative arguments will eventually lead women to protest against unfairness of such the treatment.
- Finally, Kairos refers to the way Brady persuades the readers of her essay to agree with her about cynical “importance” of “owning” a wife as if she were meant to be part of “investment”. Brady wants to show the negative situations wives are in, so that the audience or the readers are aware of what happens to women as wives. These negative situations are able to draw or persuade the readers to show their disagreements.
Rhetorical Appeals and Description of Judy Brady’s
The writer describes a wife in a picture of woman who has to remain submissive to her husband in everything. Here she has no power to refuse her husband’s needs and wants. A husband plays very domineering roles in his wife’s life and he determines all the steps she must take.&
What Brady says remains true today in many parts of the world – both in the developed and developing countries. Abuse or unfair treatment towards women is not only the developing countries’ problem but also the developed ones. From online news, we know how women are treated in some areas, for instance, in Afghanistan. A reporter from http://www.dailymail.co.uk (2010) recounted a story of an Afghan woman named Aisha whose nose was “hacked” by her abusive husband after she had fled her husband’s home. She had been facing physical abuse from her in-laws during her marriage. When such kind of story is published, some of us may disbelieve. Yet, this remains true that women are sometimes still viewed as a property and their owners may treat them as them like. Due to their status, women are treated as secondary in almost all spheres of life