Written by Eliza Haywood
Do we really want these things or are we just programmed? This question is certainly a matter of perspective. Men, in our eighteenth century society, believe that being a housewife is what women truly desire. To them, marriage presents a life of security, of comfort. But to us, marriage is often an inhibitor. I cannot not speak for all women when I say that taking part in a marriage union equals the complete elimination of independence, because for some women, this lifestyle is preferred. When married to a man who is secure in his society's rank, the wife has financial security and is superficially provided for by her husband. If the woman does not crave the freedom to make her own, independent decisions, or maintain an independent life, she will remain in a state of comfort but will most likely be devoid of any intensity of emotion. Therefore, with this security, she is faced with a price. A wife must ask her husband to engage in any social activities and she must always be dressed to impress, as she represents all that her husband is perceived to embody. She must take care of household duties which include the preparation of every meal and the pressing of every suit. A housewife's life revolves around her husband's life; she must put his needs before her own and therefore, loses her sense of independence. This is the price to pay for a life of guaranteed security.
Are housewives in our society programmed? To an extent, yes. These women submissively give into society's standards. For instance, if you are a woman of a certain age, you are immediately expected to become a wife and to provide for your husband. This is a standard placed upon every woman in our society; therefore, in a sense, this standard is indeed programmed. It is what should be done, and is expected to be done.
There are obviously deviant women, as I have infamously been named one myself. I believe in a self-determining life for a woman in spite of society's standards. I believe women do not truly want the restricted lifestyle of a housewife. I believe that they internally desire to be independent, free of their husband's regulations, but they are held back by an "I should" rather than an "I want". Our society places a ruthless image on women, with expectations to abide that image religiously. A woman is only a virtuous woman if she fully submits these expectations. The fear of deviance and the rejection of society create enough fear in most women that they choose to abide. A wife's life has less fear and inconsistencies. These women decide it is better to have a life lacking in self-regulation than one that may cause poverty, rape, or illegitimate children. They accept the repression in exchange for security even though it is contradictory to their inner desires.
I promote independence for women, which is what I always have preached. I believe all women have the inner desire to live this way: in control of their own action, not answering to anyone but themselves. The programmed lifestyle for a woman in our society is to be a wife, yet her yearning is quite the opposite. I preach to not submit to society's standards but to admit the truth and the beauty of our inner desires. [1,2]