Comparison of judy bradys article i want a wife and joanne leonards 1966 photograph sonia

Comparison of Judy Bradys Article “ I Want a Wife” and Joanne Leonards 1966 Photograph “ Sonia”
Feminism – the term itself – has not been as popular as it is during these times. A long time ago, there was the stereotypical woman who was assumed to be the perfect machine ready to do whatever she was told to without any complains about it. She was a female and had to follow a set pattern rather than do whatever she wanted to do because the males were “ superior”.
Judy Brady’s essay “ I Want a Wife” was written in the year 1971 when women were still expected to follow their traditional roles, to conduct themselves in a particular way for the men of their households. It is penned in a rather sarcastic and even humorous manner in which Brady talks of the reasons why she would want a wife for a change instead of being one herself. And when one reads through her essay, one really does not wonder as to why she thinks in such a manner.
The wives of those times were seen as automatons, creatures who would give birth to babies and then take care of them, cook for them and feed them, watch over them all their lives. Similarly, they would also look after their husbands, wash and iron their clothes, cook their meals, listen to them talk about their work, give them space when they needed it, be pretty for them, act the perfect hostess, look after their need or lack thereof sexual activities. She would also be aware that she could be replaced by another woman anytime, while she was not allowed to leave her husband for another man. The wife had to fulfill all the roles that the society required her to without thinking of her feelings, her wants or her needs. In short, she could live and breathe, but she was not the master of her own life, she had no right to dream, she would forever live her life serving, doing errands for her husband or children. That they would work for twenty four hours and still manage to look pretty and be responsive during the sexual activities, and so on. And, yet, not expect a word of thanks in return because this was what was expected of them, not what they may do willingly out of their love for their family. Brady’s version of what the wives of the society she lived in is not that of a woman, but rather of a superwoman. [Bra71]
Joanne Leonard was a photographer, one of her most famous clicks being “ Sonia” which was taken in the year 1966. This picture shows a woman standing outside, surrounded by nature. She is actually Leonard’s sister-in-law. One can see grass and trees and can actually feel the wind blowing. She is clad in a white – what seems to be a – nightdress. It is quite sheer and one can make out the curves of her body as the breeze blows against her. It is how one may notice how very pregnant Sonia actually is. But she is not resting inside; instead, she is hanging newly washed clothes. [Leo]
Seeing the picture makes one immediately think of the phrase “ barefoot and pregnant”. She seems to have no shoes on and is quite obviously pregnant. She looks to be the epitome of the “ ideal wife” of that age. A baby making machine who is engrossed in doing household chores with – what seems like – intense concentration.
Comparing the picture to the essay actually proves that a picture is worth a thousand words. It says nothing and yet it says it all. Women at that time were required to follow a particular image – that of the perfect wife and mother – but it is relieving that even in those times these two women were looking into feminism.
Bra71: , (Brady),
Leo: , (Leonard),