The Feminine Mystique, which aptly described the malaise of the college educated, upper middle class suburban woman of the late 1950s-early 1960s. Ms. Friedan was astute in describing the anomie of the educated housewife subverting her intellect and talent to conform to a rigidly gender-based societal construct. The Feminine Mystique was the impetus of the feminist movement in the late 1969s-early 1970s which subsequently broadened and liberalized women's roles in society. If you or your mother had read The Feminine Mysitque, how did this book impact on you? In what ways did The Feminine Mystique and feminism made American society freer and better?
I am hesitant to jump into this discussion, but....
Friedan is not easily read as a champion of a better society---at least not for all Americans or even all women.
Friedan was notoriously homophobic and wanted lesbians (whom she called the "Lavender Menace") far away from and definitely out of NOW and out of the larger women's liberation movement; she was utterly tone-deaf to the needs of women of color, working-class women, poor women (who she saw as a problem to be solved), and if that is not enough, she cherry-picked her research findings for data that proved her point.
I think her message was simply, Don't try to live your life without being in touch with your own hopes, dreams, passions and ambitions. In the 50's
(when all us baby boomers burst forth in great numbers,) many women gave these up to have the house with the white picket fence, the husband and perfect children. However those who apparently "had it all" were strangely unhappy; they became depressed! And Betty discovered depression was wide-spread in America's suburbs. They kept their depression hidden and making it worse they turned to alcohol, uppers, downers, anti-depresants…
Why? Because if a woman (or man) is not in touch with their own (divine, God-given) Will they are not in touch with their inner *Joy of Life.*
PS An excellent sidekick book is, Women Who Love too Much.
PSS She never advocated that women not love their men. No, she gave them permission to love themselves, as well.
Furthermore, if a woman does not love herself, she can never love her partner.
It may be well said, but it is not true.
Friedan's message was NOT for all women; she was not speaking to, writing for, or concerned with all women.
As a scholar of women's studies/women's history let me say this: Basically everybody in women's studies/women's history now understands Friedan and Second Wave feminism in ways it was not understood in the past.
Friedan and Second Wave feminism was of, for, and by white, middle-to upper class, heterosexual, married, native-born, college-educated women.
The rest of American women were discarded and ignored by Second Wave feminism/feminists.
This is way the 1990s saw the emergence of Third Wave feminism/feminists---for the rest of us.
She did help me.
and just two years ago.
Why do you dis her?
If I teach swimming only to a certain population, are you going to get on my case for not teaching all of them?
If you don't see having a narrow audience focus as a flaw, then what she said was not a "diss".
I would say it is certainly a limitation in her material. I could never relate to her writing. It seemed to belong to another world where people had problems I could only dream of having.
Interesting. Yes, gmwilliams what the heck are you posting about?
I was concurring with you statement that the late Ms. Friedan was relating to the college educated suburban wife whose potential was subverted in conformity with the idea that women were only to be housewives and mothers and to submit to their husbands. I read the book extensively as a teenager with other feminist literature.
In the early 1960s, there were very few career opportunities for women outside the feminine ghetto of nurse, schoolteacher, and other traditionally feminine careers. I knew of a relative even though she had college degree(forgot what subject), she was relegated to the secretarial pool. They were also strongly inculcated to put others' needs and wants before their own. They were told that their needs were not so important.
There was a dichotomized sexual territory for women to be in and any woman who refused or did not conform to the prevailing female construct was stigmatized and ostracized or worse. Girls and women were supposed to be yielding, submissive, and not aggressive at all. They were to be feminine and to make themselves as unobtrusive as possible.
Yep. Thank you for showing the muck and mire they all had to trudge through. We continued to bulldoze it away so throughly, (I guess and I hope) throughout the 70's and 80's, that no one today even knows what the heck you and I are talking about!
But believe me, gmwilliams and I do!
- anyone else?
I am almost 60 years old, but my parents were progressive thinkers. I didn't get the 1950s containment/consensus message from them and they taught me to ignore whatever the culture/society was demanding or expecting of me---including Second Wave feminists...
I was raised to have at least a college education and a career. I was never pushed into the traditional female construct. In fact, I found such to be totally amusing and girls who acted as such to be quite bewildering. While other girls my age in the 1960s loved romance novels, I was devouring books on history and science. I was not into girly things.
Even as a girl, I found the idea of being a housewife to be a tad strange. My mother worked and my father did most of the cooking. I grew up in a somewhat nontraditional household. Never gave that much thought to marriage and motherhood; by the time, I was a teenager, I eschewed such thoughts. I became a feminist in the 1970s and espoused feminist ideology in its myriad forms.
BTW maybe Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus need to be handed a copy of her book. Some of the precepts might help these two poor lost souls. I mean, these two very wealthy lost females. Throw Rihanna into the mix too. They make even even 30 yr. olds want to throw up! What are these females thinking? I guess they are not, (thinking... at all.)
Probably because they get paid a lot of money to act that way. I'm sure it's all choreographed for the full shock value.
I'm sure they like acting that way too, they like the attention it brings. Yes, poor girls. They really do have some major psychological issues.
I figured you thought that, from what you've been saying lately.
It seems to be a rather new line of thinking for you. Or maybe I just noticed it the past couple of days, I don't know.
I thought you were more Hindu/chakra/energy line of thought. What's changed?
Nothing. I've Always acknowledged Yin and Yang, Dark and Light. It is the nature of *Maya* don't you know?
I'm not against feminism at all.
I enjoy staying home and taking care of the domestic duties. But this is also by choice, and it works well with my partner.
I like the fact that I have the choice though. The past few decades have been some of the best for women throughout most of the history of the world.
I like the fact that IF I wanted to, I could choose any career.
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