Feminine Mystique And Black Boy Comparison

1199 words - 5 pages

Feminine Mystique and Black boy Comparison

Fighting for survival and status within the world
has been in affect since the Stone Age. It starts
with man against beast battling for survival. As
time goes on, so does the type of battle, from beast
to man against man. When conquerors from Europe
come over to North America they push the Indians
west because they, the Indians, do not fit into the
society the white man creates and there are
differences that are noticeable. Later on there
becomes discrimination against blacks with the Jim
Crow Laws and the silencing of women. Throughout
history there are more examples where people do not
fit into the “norm” of society. Betty Friedan and
Richard Wright in their novels The Feminine Mystique
and Black Boy both experience different forms of
oppression. As Betty Friedan discusses a problem
that has no name, but mainly how a woman is enslaved
in a man’s society, while Richard Wright tries to
overcome the Jim Crow south by attacking racial
identity.

“But forbidden to join man in the world, can
women be people” (Friedan 50)? Friedan illustrates
this point throughout her book. The fore-sisters of
Friedan fought for the passage of the nineteenth
amendment which was passed in August of 1920. The
passage of this amendment was largely due to the
women’s contribution to the war effort, the goal was
declared about seventy-two years before, during the
Seneca Falls convention in 1848. Throughout this
time, women became immersed in their education and
their own self-worth. Searching for jobs and not
husbands is the focus. During this period the
national birth rate declines since the women are not
home at the man’s beck and call.

As the times change so does the written word
about the female place in the world. According to
Friedan, experts are telling the women that the only
way to seek fulfillment in their lives is as a wife
and mother. Which in one word is femininity. Now,
the dream is of an American woman behind the stove,
not behind a desk. The women stuck at home “all
shared the same problem, the problem that has no
name” (Friedan 19). Friedan gives these women a
vocabulary for their dissatisfaction, the feminine
mystique. There is no other way for a woman to be a
woman of admirable exploits unless she is a
housewife. Friedan paints the feminine woman of
this time as having feelings of emptiness,
non-existence and nothingness. She illustrates
these problems that women face by telling the reader
that the experts blame their feelings on the higher
education they have received before becoming a
housewife. All women are searching for is a human
identity, a place where they belong without feeling
empty. But the women before this generation fought
for all the rights they have in the present, but
they are not using them. But how can one change
this dehumanizing aspect of the culture?

Friedan portrays the idea of helping women...

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