Over the years, the role assigned to women in marriage has always been limited to child bearing and upbringing, and performing ordinary domestic chores such as cooking, washing, general cleaning, etc.
Looking at it skeptically, this perception and attitude within the community, requiring women to be submissive to their husbands has denied most women the opportunity to advance their careers, education and/or lead happy lives. As difficult as it may sound, something has to be done by both men and women in order to invert such psychological sets.
This essay shall briefly discuss the varying roles of women, and what is expected of them by the community, especially husbands interested in attaining their selfish interests. In addition, complaints raised by women about the subject matter shall also be highlighted within the text of the essay.
The depiction of women by Judy Brady in the study book ‘‘I Want a Wife’’ illustrates several schools of thought on why most men find it necessary to have wives. Based on the arguments derived from the book’s contextual clues, it is quite clear that most men do not regard women as equal partners in marriage.
Most men enter into marriage unions for egotistical reasons and convenience, usually taking advantage of women and branding them as objects of abuse. This is clearly seen in the text when the author recalls a situation where one of her male friend, a divorcee and single father desperately looks for another wife to take care of his child (Brady 775).
To further illustrate men’s selfishness in such matrimonies, the author states that most men need wives for sexual gratification and do not always involve them in making important family decisions. This is seen when she says, ‘‘I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs ……….. a wife who makes sure that am satisfied, ……who assumes the complete responsibility for birth control, because I do not want more children’’ (Brady 776).
In relationships, men also tend to justify their infidelity and completely disregard any acts of unfaithfulness on the part of the woman. This argument is supported by the quote ‘‘I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me………… a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy’’ (Brady 776).
Men are said to benefit a lot from submissive marriages in that they have opportunity to expand their horizons career-wise, academically, economically, etc.
The only possible explanation for the gains enjoyed by men in marriage is based on the fact that wives spend most of their quality time with their families, leaving men/husbands with all the time to pursue other interests other than domestic chores and child upbringing.
It can therefore be argued that the nature of work done by housewives ranging from cleaning, cooking, child bearing, etc is not proportional to the feminine gender since it is traditionally regarded as the weaker gender.
For any marriage to be considered successful, i.e. satisfying the needs of husbands, wives and their children, a compromise has to be established in defining the role to be played by the husband and the wife in raising the family. This may only be done through honest consultations that put into consideration various factors such as family income, individual careers, academic advancement, etc.
Services of domestic servants and nannies may also be hired to compliment the individual role(s) played by parents in the family.
In most cases, it is quite difficult for husbands and men as a whole to invert their mindsets on the way they perceive women and their wives. To effectively address the plight of women, services of church leaders, gender activists, marriage counselors, etc are necessary in forging an acceptable solution to the challenges faced by women in marriage.
Brady, Judy. ‘‘I Need a Wife’’ Literature for Composition, 3rd edition. HarperCollins Customs Books, 1993. Web. 01 July 2010. http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/wife.html