The Book That Changed The Consciousness Of A Country And The WorldLandmark, Groundbreaking, Classic These Adjectives Barely Describe The Earthshaking And Long Lasting Effects Of Betty Friedan S The Feminine Mystique This Is The Book That Defined The Problem That Has No Name, That Launched The Second Wave Of The Feminist Movement, And Has Been Awakening Women And Men With Its Insights Into Social Relations, Which Still Remain Fresh, Ever Since A National Bestseller, With OverMillion Copies Sold

10 thoughts on “The Feminine Mystique

  1. says:

    Ladies, the next time you decide you don t want to cook dinner that night, that you d rather read a book instead I want you to give a little fist bump to the heavens in honor of Betty Friedan It s because of her that you even have that opportunity to make that choice.Let s clear something up right now The Feminine Mystique is not a text on how to become a man hating, radical, hairy armpitted lesbian If that s what you think this is about, my review isn t going to change your mind so you might as well just go shoot a ruffled grouse and make your woman cook it for you.The Feminine Mystique does, however, bring attention and awareness to the mystique that is femininity that women are good for use of their wombs and their cooking skills and maybe one or two other things, so long as those things benefit the husband and maybe the children than anyone else Friedan noticed that there was this problem that could not be named and no, it s not Voldemort , this increase in fatigue in women across the country, this deadness about them that made them want to sneak a few drinks when the kids were off to school or to pop a couple Valium while they vacuum the house every couple of days What Friedan wanted to bring attention to was that it didn t need to be that way That women could be educated, and they did not have to get married right after high school, that they could have a career as well as a family, if they so desired.Her thesis is that women stop growing after a certain point for some women it s in grade school, for some women it s in high school Even the women who went to college keep in mind that this book was published in 1963 so her focus was primarily on the fifties in America went just to hone their skills as a woman and to hopefully find a man Once the ring went on the finger, the women went to the kitchens and pooped out a couple of rugrats, but then couldn t figure out why they were so depressed Because they hadn t actually finished growing, silly It makes perfect sense really you re no good to anyone if you haven t evolved yourself.The Vassar study showed that just as girls begin to feel the conflicts, the growing pains of identity, they stop growing They or less consciously stop their own growth to play the feminine rule Or, to put in in another way, they evade further experiences conducive to growth p 176 7 I can t possibly summarize everything that is wonderful about this book, but strongly encourage everyone to read it men as well as women because it s just important for you guys to understand why it is your lady friends may just burst into tears for no reason while they re cooking your chicken pot pie.I read this while visiting my 82 year old grandmother She got married at 18, though she had essentially dropped out of high school prior to that because it didn t interest her Marriage didn t really interest her either, but it was better to do that than to do school or get a job She was raised to fit the mold of the feminine mystique My grandfather died five years ago and Grandma still hasn t changed anything she has done for the past 50 60 years She still doesn t care about politics and wouldn t vote, she still asks me year after year after year when I m getting married, when will I have babies, don t I cook much, how about gardening The answers are always the same and her reaction is always the same A bit of a chuckle and, I don t know, you re a weird one We love each other just the same, but we certainly don t see eye to eye on a lot of issues.Reading this during my visit with her opened my eyes up to a lot of her behaviors and inspired me to ask her questions I might not have otherwise, like did any of her girlfriends go on to college Answer No Interestingly enough Friedan discusses the correlation between higher education and the female orgasm And yes, it is strange segueing into that after discussing my grandmother, thanks for asking She suggests that a woman is likely to have enjoyable sexual experiences The Big O the further they made it in their academic career a woman with a graduate degree is likely to obtain orgasm than a woman who stopped learning after grade school I m not sure why colleges and universities haven t picked up on that one Get a degree it s orgasmic I jest Sorta Seriously, read this Have your mom read this I feel like I know my own mother now than I did before I wrote 12 pages of notes in my Moleskine journal some quotes, some of my own thoughts, some questions to ask my grandmother, some to ask my mother when I m brave enough My review here can t even begin to do justice here Why this book wasn t actual required reading when I went to college at a historically woman s college that is even mentioned once in this book is beyond me Sure, it was highly recommended by the professors, and referenced than once I remember being tested on Betty Friedan and her accomplishments the start of the second wave of feminism, the creation of NOW, etc , and I m sure we read a snippet or two from the text but we never had to read the whole thing And I don t understand why And I also can t remember what we did have to read in its place That s pathetic.If women do not put forth, finally, that effort to become all that they have it in them to become, they will forfeit their own humanity A woman today who has no goal, no purpose, no ambition patterning her days into the future, making her stretch and grow beyond that small score of years in which her body can fill its biological function, is committing a kind of suicide p 336

  2. says:

    i don t think i ve ever seen the word beatnikery in print before. i think the reason to read this book is to gain an understanding of feminism in the mid century Zietgiest It gave me some things to think about, despite being hopelessly outdated and terribly repetitive i was particularly intrigued by the idea that manufacturers would want to keep women bored and at home in order to sell them consumer goods As a full time career woman in Ms Friedan s parlance i find i can still manage to spend obscene amounts of money on my home, clothes, shoes, car, entertainment, travel, etc If there was a marketing conspiracy to keep women in the home, it doesn t seem to have been well founded, but the suggestion has caused me to look around and consider some of the modern manupulations of women s roles as directed by commercial media i think the main obstacles preventing this book from passing as modern are 1 the overt disapproval of homosexuals or any kind of sexual deviance from the apple pie norm 2 the radical generalizations Ms Friedan makes about entire populations and 3 the focus on white, middle and upper class women as though they were the only women around, or at least worth talking about I got Friedan s message early on, and seriously considered not reading to the end, but i m glad i did kind of like climbing the mountain because it s there gotta plant my flag at the top of Mount Mystique It was interesting to me partially because i was reading my mother s dogeared copy from her college years 95 cents and i can imagine what the feminist movement meant to her, and what she was thinking about, even though i m sure it differs radically from my view Kind of a surreal bonding experience.

  3. says:

    What struck me the most when I read this as a teenager and this was the first of its genre I read was how, in excruciatingly familiar detail, it described my mother God rest her soul, I didn t appreciate it at the time and it didn t make me any less of a brat Her life had been a life typical of many women that entered the workforce during WWII Instead of marrying when the war ended, she stayed on and attained a position of prominence for a woman at that time She married very late, at age 29, and overnight went from the life of an independent woman with a busy career in a big city, to a full time small city housewife I believed then and I believe now that to succumb willingly to a life of, let s face it, servitude and domesticity, with a sudden, total loss of status can kill you But now society throws many little bones to housewives, and actually makes them even think they can dictate public policy from the front seat of their minivans It s a lie, now as then Just spend a few days home sick on the couch Watch the View , Dr Phil , and Oprah And that s not even the dumb stuff.

  4. says:

    Reading this book is bittersweet for me Every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter, I m cheering Friedan on At first, I kept thinking, If only I d read this when I was a teenager in the early 1970s, it would have saved me a lot of grief the years I spent looking for men to save me, to give me an identity If I d read it back then, maybe I would have recognized the wretched inequalities in my world The book so clearly depicts the ideals of my mother and of many women of her generation born in the 1920s And because of my mother s firm belief in the feminine mystique woman born for man s purposes , I was trained by her to believe that this was the only way to be a women in the world Realistically, if I d read TFM in my Southern Baptist youth, I m sure I would have rebelled against it, finding those scriptures that remind women to keep silent.This should be a must read for everyone, especially those who aren t clear on the history of equality for women, especially those who think the fight is over for equality.

  5. says:

    I was born in 1959 and when this came out originally in 1963, I was 4 years old I went to school in Atlanta in the 1960 s and 1970 s When I was in elementary school grades 1 7 from fall of 1965 to June of 1972, I was struck by the differences between other women and my mother For example, every single one of the other moms of the kids in my classes from 1st to 7th grade were housewives While those moms cooked, cleaned, raised kids, gossiped with each other, and volunteered to give class parties, my own mother worked She and my father owned a bookstore and my mother worked full time My dad was the only dad picking up his kid at my elementary school which fascinated the other mothers who came to pick up theirs I had a nanny, a lovely black woman named Ruth who was a second mom to me and was herself a working mom My mother had a copy of this book and I remember talking to her about it when I was around 13 She had me read it and we discussed it, a practice we had enjoyed my whole life Suddenly I understood why my mother made her career a priority and why she had so much self respect and always seemed to me to be so much smarter and sophisticated than the other moms Betty Friedan had nailed it The other kids had mothers who were dead inside Dead They had no vitality for life, no I can t wait to get up for the new day going on All they could talk about was gossip, kids, cleaning, cooking, and the like Such boring women had to be bored How different they were from my mom and I knew that when I grew up, I would be just like my own mom I had no desire to be one of the Stepford Wives I got to spend time with both parents and by the time I was 10, I was working with them in the bookstore I learned to shelve books, run the cash register and wait on customers I learned to do the business checking, inventory and accounting Both of my parents wanted me to be prepared for a real life and encouraged me to earn the best grades This book goes a long way in explaining why My mother was born in the 1920 s There was little opportunity for a small town girl to get a good education or start a career so once they were married, my parents moved to the city leaving behind mothers and sisters and sisters in law who were intellectual zombies Here s the most important thing for every female to understand your hopes, dreams, goals, talents, education, and abilities are every bit as important as any man s including your husband s You do not exist to sell your body to a man in marriage in exchange for room and board You are than a legalized hooker, cook, maid, babysitter, and errand girl You are no one s doormat You get one chance at life there is NO life after death which is an absurd notion and you have limited time to live it to its fullest Your kids will not rot or die if you work, get a degree, own a business, and live your own life and not just reflect your dreams through them Betty Friedan opens the door to the near past, a past a lot of women are trying to relive today Don t you be one of them This world needs your dreams, talents, skills, and creativity.

  6. says:

    The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is an iconic book that relentlessly changed the way the American woman saw herself, until its first publication in 1963 Feministic in a good way, without the morbid extravaganza other reads of that type hold, it s relevant even now and if you don t choose to believe so, at least you can appreciate it as a historical document In my opinion the above statement holds truth than any other quote about gender equality every did Of course not all of her suggestions are correct, or well examined Many of her points are dislodged to the extremity of becoming eerie representations of what it might have been at first as an idea But no one can be so foolish as to ignore the masterful and underrated until then meaning behind every single testament, the choice.The free choise In few words the significance and value of the book lays completely in this little concept This commanding, severe notion For centuries in different stages every era the woman as an archetype had very particular jobs to do Marrying, taking care of the house, raising as many children as the fate would give her with no use for any contraceptive method having the men in her life dictating every aspect and every decision and of course the stay there and look pretty utility But only that For the mainstream, everyday woman there was no freedom, no individuality, no aspiration If you wanted to be something else, something not but just different you didn t had the choice.Friedan s whole point is this, it doesn t diminish the want of a woman to be a housewife and a mother, it just states the actual fact, that you can be all that and a thousand things, or not You can be a mother and a working woman, or you can be a mother, or you can be a working woman, period You can be anything you want, so long it is your choice, not just an outdated inclination Don t barricade yourself behind meaningless gender roles, labels or privileges, make choices.Bottom line, the book is not perfect It s repetitive, drawn out and maybe a little arid at points BUT it was a fundamental lever of motion back in the sixties that ultimately led to the Second wave Feminism movement and created the coalition with other movements such as the civil rights and the student s rights, that eventually changed the world, in so many aspects, with an amazing force.It must be appreciated and cherished for helping to make the world a little better, a little brighter, a little less menial and tedious.THOUGHTS EVOKED BY THE BOOK I don t agree with her about homosexuality I m sure it was just a way of approaching the middle class, narrow minded women of the time and not entirely her beliefs I believe that if you are a mother, you give to your child a piece of you, you will never get back and that is great if you make the choice to become a parent consciously But if you only doing it in order to fulfil a stereotype you harm both your child and yourself Equality will never be attained, not really in all forms The media still play a devious part in society discrimination.

  7. says:

    I am very grateful for all the things Betty Friedan did so that I was raised in a less sexist world That being said, this book was pretty bad for two main reasons First, Friedan writes emotionally rather than rationally She does not appeal to my rational brain but rather attempts to manipulate me emotionally by painting a very dramatic portrait that pins Every Problem Ever on women staying home with the kids Friedan has to resort to this style of emotional fluff that I find very boring because of her failure to research thoroughly her subject which led to her failure to grasp the bigger picture She needed to study the history of women s rights for two thousand years, not one hundred She needed to study the history of family life for at least a thousand years to understand why women are home with the kids Then she would have written a much interesting book.Social roles are fascinating Playing the part of woman or man rather than being yourself, the human propensity for living an inauthentic life based around trying to be someone else s idea of good, is a common human problem, not a female one But Friedan doesn t address the human problem of role playing, she just attacks one role played by one group of people in one short time period And even in her time period men suffered from the exact same inauthentic, self less existence that comes from playing a role their role was breadwinner Their role demanded that they be strong and never cry They couldn t like pink or cuddling A role is a role It s damaging to the human psyche because it is a role what the role dictates doesn t matter that much Friedan s failure to examine the big picture is perhaps why she ends up arguing rather stupidly that all satisfaction in life comes from working outside the home For sure one s productive work is a huge part of one s life satisfaction, but there is a big difference between the work people do that they are intrinsically motivated to do and find deeply satisfying and the work they do for their survival Most people will never find a way to combine the two Moreover, most people in most places in most of human history had to spend the majority of their time focused on their survival, and not soul satisfying passion work That is life To have milk up until 100 years ago you had to milk a cow every day twice a day 365 days a year You think that isn t drudgery Until very recently there weren t a million jobs from which to chose, most people were going to farm or hunt or gather Learning how to deal with the basic drudgery of survival was a major life skill that everyone learned in childhood And even in Friedan s time period, I can t imagine that most men s work was super intellectually stimulating, that all men just hopped out of bed in the morning excited to go do their jobs.But moving on to what I think is actually interesting.If Friedan had done research she may have also realized that even if all women worked outside the home SOMEONE has to take care of the kids Friedan thinks it should be the government She advocates state sponsored daycare On moral grounds I cannot agree with that as that means I have a right to have as many babies as I want, and you are forced to pay for their babysitting whether you want to or not Moreover, state sponsored daycare means the government is raising all the kids no thank you There is also the problem of health To maximize the health of our children, they should be spaced 4 5 years apart and breastfed for 3 5 years each Pumping milk is largely a lie as it will cause decreased milk supply and lead to a failure to produce enough milk What this means is that daycare women in the workforce unhealthy kids And unhealthy women as women are also less likely to get cancer if they breastfeed for longer Only for a tiny amount of time in the history of the human race have babies been breast fed for only a few months In Shakespeare s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet nursed until 3 Which is to say It is not the feminine mystique that convinced me I should stay home with my children, it is reality Because health is my highest value, I cannot choose otherwise but to stay home because that is the only option our society gives me.And THAT is the problem.Someone has to raise the kids kids should be spaced 4 5 years apart kids should be breastfed for 3 5 years DOES NOT HAVE TO MEAN women need to stay home with the kids for 5 to 20 years depending on how many kids they have.If Friedan had looked back far enough, she would have noticed that in many places and times women did not have to stay home with the kids because the kids did not have to stay home It wasn t until the Victorians decided that children needed to be removed from the world so that they would never learn about sex, drinking, and gambling that women got stuck in the house because someone had to stay home to police the kids who had to stay home Being stuck in the house SUCKS For women AND FOR CHILDREN The woman s role that Friedan has such a big problem with was a poor solution to the real problem the removal of children from the world.I have a great lecture about this on YouTube solution isn t daycare and school and women in the workforce The solution is a change in the way we live and especially in the way we think about children a society and workforce designed for people of all ages Fascinating to me that we make so many laws to make buildings accommodating for the handicapped but never children In many Latin American malls it is simply assumed children will be there breakables are kept on high shelves and every store has a box of toys How strange to think of a world in which children are actually considered And welcomed The next step in women s liberation is actually children s liberation Because until children are liberated from their roles as pets and slaves who need to spend all day being policed in schools, someone will have to do that policing And that someone will have to be women if the woman values health.Other notes Her research led her to conclude that in the post war period women got stupider My research has shown me that ALL Americans got stupider, men too Nutrition and physical degeneration could be to blame But also our methods of schooling and parenting and also the mass media The point is I don t think it was just women that got stupider Parenting is exhausting when done alone with no time off, not just when sexism is present It s crazy to me that Friedan thinks all the bored housewives must go back to school for intellectual stimulation I find school programs so restrictive compared to the freedom of being able to study whatever grabs me I get to chose my own reading list And read for as long as I want on no one s schedule but mine I have read a book a week since my son was born I puzzle over huge philosophical issues all day while I am home My husband was cracking up the other day because I gave him a lecture on how the current science of consciousness applies to epistemology while I was cleaning the fridge He is jealous of all the reading I have time for that he does not have time for.Update Currently reading The Myth of Male Power highly recommends Skip Feminine Mystique and read it instead

  8. says:

    Have you ever read one of Richard Yates s novels such as Revolutionary Road and said Gaaaawwwwwd, he s a great writer, but why d he have to make it so depressing The Feminine Mystique will show you that he was accurately portraying the despair and feeling of entrapment many married women were experiencing in post WWII America 4.5 stars Hard to rate because it s often needlessly wordy and overlong in general, but her extensive research and groundbreaking at the time information warrant a high rating A fascinating overview of American women throughout various periods of history.

  9. says:

    I read excerpts from The Feminine Mystique at university, and have wanted to read entire book for a few years now While this book is still important and highlights the ways in which sociology, higher ed, economy hell, even architecture betrayed women, for every positive post it note I found something problematic I would love to see addressed in a footnote or the foreword, which will probably never happen in my lifetime Sorry for focusing on the bad and the ugly, but this book already has many good reviews and my qualms go beyond I am a happy SAHM and strongly disagree tone of many negative ones.1 I love my job and returned to it with tires metaphorically screeching at the end of my maternity leave But even I don t believe women who can find satisfaction solely as housewives mothers don t exist Ms Friedan did not manage to find a single one.What is , she keeps hearing about someone who reportedly is a fulfilled mother and housewife, and time and time again after an honest conversation, these mythical beings are reduced to tears, sobbing how much they envy working women More importantly, I could not resist the impression that the author can interprets the same pursuit say, community work as either pathetic time filler if a woman is unsatisfied with her life or a fantastic way of self actualization if a woman happens to be happy.2 While I understand the housewife syndrome was a serious problem, the parallel Friedan chooses to illustrate the importance of self actualization shows an utter lack of sense of proportions Less than 20 years after the war, she uses death camps as a metaphor for American housewives entrapment To use an example of a female prisoner, formerly a dancer, about to be gassed, who is ordered to dance and kills the officer, because she finally remembers what it is to be a human being, as a reminder that dabbling in painting or writing can ward off depression To essentially blame the inmates of death camps for having allowed the Nazis to suppress their personalities instead of turning against them To smoothly move on to discuss female ability to orgasm Tellingly, Friedan s bio on Jewish Women s Archive webpage contains the following excerpt Despite its popularity, Feminine Mystique caused her personal troubles Her children were ostracized from car pools, and she and her husband were no longer invited to their friends dinner party circle And this, I swear, are all the personal troubles listed In other words step aside, prisoners of Auschwitz, Dachau, Stutthof and Treblinka this woman has a thing or two to teach us all about resilience in face of suffering.3 This is not the only moment when the author fails to do her homework She repeatedly for nothing in the book is said only once gives examples of Russia and Israel highly centralized, highly politicized states as countries where women, particularly working women, report much higher levels of happiness than in the U.S The joys of working motherhood in Russia, where your kid would spend as long as entire work week in daycare, depending on your job Where institutionalized brainwashing started at the pre kindergarten level Start by reading The Time of Women.4 While I understand that this book, due to its subject matter, is extremely heteronormative, it must be said that Ms Friedan has surprisingly macho views on homosexuality She seems to associate male homosexuality a result, for her, of pathological upbringing with weakness and passivity, and compares it to smog spreading over America In a nutshell male homosexuality is yucky female homosexuality doesn t exist Also, is the narrator of Breakfast in Tiffany s really gay I don t remember anything to this effect, and yet Friedan chooses to share this piece of trivia with us unsurprisingly twice 5 The core message of this book immaturity leads to depression depression leads to weakness and weakness is, again, yucky One lost trait of American women Ms Friedan repeatedly mourns is the frontier pioneer spirit I have a crawling suspicion the picture this book paints of American suburban housewives might be a reverse of the author s vision of herself Such unsympathetic representation of weakness, immaturity, social irresponsibility of young Americans may only come from a woman who sees herself as mature, responsible, and productive.

  10. says:

    Such a revolutionary work for its age I feel thankful that Betty Friedan had the guts to publish this feminist manifesto and give voice to the dissatisfaction of so many women around her Keep in mind The Feminine Mystique s publication date now, it may seem obvious that women are so much than placid housewives and subservient sex objects, but back in early twentieth century America, they still faced blatant sexism masked under messages about how to maintain a family I still see these issues play out today, such as when my female friends and I worry about being too emotional or not attractive intelligent interesting etc enough for a guy to text us back both of these concerns constructed by the patriarchy Check out this cool quote on seeing through the feminine mystique To face the problem is not to solve it But once a woman faces it, as wmen are doing all over America without much help from the experts, once she asks herself What do I want to do she begins to find her own answers Once she begins to see through the delusions of the feminine mystique and realizes that neither her husband nor her children, nor the things in her house, nor sex, nor being like all the other women, can give her a self she often finds the solution much easier than she anticipated Overall, my favorite message from The Feminine Mystique centers on not needing a man, boyfriend, or husband to feel complete In essence, you have all the tools within you to complete yourself In a society so bent on highlighting the merits of romantic love, I appreciate Friedan s focus on finding emotional fulfillment and creating satisfaction on one s own I only take a star off because Friedan ignores intersectionality i.e., acts as a white feminist and trash talks gay people, which kinda hurt my feelings and shows her ignorance To end this review, one last quote I loved When their mothers fulfillment makes girls sure they want to be women, they will not have to beat themselves down to be feminine they can stretch and stretch until their own efforts will tell them who they are They will not need the regard of a boy or man to feel alive And when women do not need to live through their husbands and children, men will not fear the love and strength of a woman, nor need another s weakness to prove their own masculinity They can finally see each other as they are And this may be the next step in human evolution.