‘The Feminine Mystique’ By Betty Friedan

1124 words - 4 pages

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan, London, Victor Gollancz LTD, 1963, 410 pp., ISBN 0-575-00951-9

‘The Feminine Mystique’, first published in the year of 1963, is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential books in the 20th century as well as in the history of feminism. (Fox, 2006) The book signals the beginning of the second wave of the feminist movement as feminism literature to illustrate and analyse female problems in 1960s America. (Fox, 2006) At the same time, it is a declaration to proclaim an era in which American women strove towards the equality that females refused to be subordinate to patriarchal ideology anymore.

In ‘The Feminine Mystique’, Betty Friedan for the first time in history describes ‘the problem that has no name’ for American women in the 1950s to 1960s. It was the time just after World War II and men went back form the war frontier to their working positions, most of the American women went back to the kitchen rather than going out to work as they had during the war. They were identified by Friedan as ‘suburban housewives’ (Friedan, 1963:18), suffered from a common dissatisfaction of their lives, which is called ‘the problem that has no name’ or the ‘nameless aching dissatisfaction’ in the book. By analysing the essence of the problem combined with a quantity of real-life example and previous theories, the author defines the feminine mystique as the convention that women should become an ideal patriarchal woman in the society where men create women as capable housewives as well as gentle mothers. (Friedan, 1963:15-28)

Betty Friedan provides an evidence-based overview of the feminine mystique in America in the 1960s. After an overview of the book, she firstly gives a general picture of typical suburban American housewives in 1950s and 1960s, and demonstrates the core of their nameless aching dissatisfaction is because of the feminine fixed-position guided by the whole society, which then causes the crisis for women to identify themselves independently as individual human beings without their husbands and children. (Chapter1-2) Then the author reviews the history of feminism in ‘The Passionate Journey’ (Chapter4). In the third section, she analyses the background of feminine mystique including the criticism of solipsism of Freud, the critical areas such as education, business and World War II as the historical background.(Chapter5-9) The next section discusses some more serious consequences of the spread of the feminine mystique, including the passive attitudes of girls going on to higher education, the imbalance sexual desires between housewives and husbands, and the feeble personalities of the next generations to mention several examples.(Chaper10-13) In the final chapter ‘A New Life Plan for Women’, Friedan reveals her suggestions to women and the whole of society.(Chapter 14)

According to Friedan, it is a complicated process to form ‘the feminine mystique’, in which media acts a vital part in...

Find Another Essay On ‘The Feminine Mystique’ by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique Essay

1781 words - 7 pages , and an analysis of how these females are viewed. According to Darwin, the female species holds the power of discrimination. The female chooses her mate between several males. By having this power of choice, the female causes the male to display his mental and physical powers. Darwin describes what males are like when displaying these powers: "When we behold two males fighting for the possession of a female, or several male birds

Feminine Identity in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

3888 words - 16 pages American masculinity, women’s fashions of the period, exemplified by the French designer Christian Dior’s ultra-feminine “New Look,” reflected a return to traditional models of femininity. Indeed, according to fashion theorist and historian Valerie Steele, “[from] stiletto heels and waspie girdles to white gloves and aprons, women’s fashion [of the 1950s] promoted restrictive images of femininity: wife-and-mother and/or femme fatale” (29

The Influence of the Family Members on the Life of Francie Nolan by Betty Smith

795 words - 3 pages The Influence of the Family Members on the Life of Francie Nolan The main character in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, is certainly the brilliant and resourceful Francie Nolan, however, three other characters in the novel deserve credit for guiding Francie through her troublesome childhood. Francie Nolan grows up in the slums of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Despite Francie’s lifestyle of poverty and distress, she manages

Melodrama: how melodrama has changed from the influences of "A Touch Of Silk" by Betty Rowland and "The Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll" By Ray Lawler

986 words - 4 pages By extension, the term melodrama has come to be applied to any play with romantic plot in which the author manipulates events to act on the emotions of the audience without regard for character development or logic.Melodrama had very 'stock' characters, in other words they were very stereotypical characters, and all the action happened on stage. Melodramatic plays were also morality based - that is Right Vs. Wrong.Before The Touch of Silk by

Critics have said that in the first movement of the play (Acts 1-3) "Hermione and Paulina are models of feminine strength." And "Hermione's passivity is dwarfed by Paulina's dynamism"

1075 words - 4 pages Hermione and Paulina can be presented on stage in many different ways and are both strong female characters.At points in the play, it could be argued that Hermione's passivity is dwarfed by Paulina's dynamism.Paulina is first introduced as a powerful and dominating woman. Her first line is commanding, 'the keeper of the prison, call to him; let him have knowledge who I am'. She does not need permission to speak and seems sure of her

Feminine Mystique and Black boy Comparison

1199 words - 5 pages 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

Women's Movement Of 1960's

1763 words - 7 pages monotonous jobs everyday: cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the family. The women who actually had legitimate jobs were most likely secretarial clerks, nurses or teachers. But women everywhere were ashamed to admit their dissatisfaction in their lives because they didn’t realize how many other women shared their same feelings. Betty Friedan realized this problem and in 1963 she brought it to light in her book “The Feminine Mystique.” This

Women's Activist Rights of the 1960's

1610 words - 7 pages , women were starting to become fed up and tired of living in contentment. One woman stood up and wrote a book for the college graduate women who felt abandoned and unfulfilled. This woman’s name was Betty Friedan, she wrote a book called “The Feminine Mystique” she states in her book that “I’m desperate, I have started to lose my essence, and my personality is gone. I’m a cooker, and a putter of pants. Someone who is called on when wanting

Women's Changing Roles: 1950-1960

3001 words - 12 pages areas of society. The publication of The Feminine Mystique in the early 1960s had revealed the true feeling of women in the 1950’s society. The Second Wave of Feminism was born with the sensation of this book. From the 1950’s housewife, who was restricted by society and men, to the active feminist, women in 1950 had contributed to the change of women’s condition socially and politically. Bibliography Primary Sources Friedan, Betty

Donald Barthelme’s Snow White

1300 words - 5 pages . Snow White is used as a demonstration of gender roles in a post modernistic work. Works Cited Barthelme, Donald. Snow White. New York: Atheneum, 1967. Print. "The Good Wife's Guide." Good Housekeeping 13 May 1955: n. pag. Print. Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Norton, 1983. Print. ---. It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement. New York: Random House, 1976. Print. ---. The Second Stage. New York: Summit, 1981. Print.

Status Quo

1592 words - 6 pages PCSW succeeded in providing the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which helped somewhat fix the pay disparity between men and women. II. Betty Friedan Betty Friedan sought change by writing a novel called The Feminine Mystique. According to the New York Times Article “Women’s Group Sees Widespread Gains in Drive for an Equal Role”, the book featured hundreds of interviews with women who felt enslaved by the domesticity of their homes (Carmody 11

Similar Essays

The Feminine Mystique By Betty Friedan

1009 words - 4 pages Mystique,” written by Betty Friedan aimed to inspire women of all races and age to unite together, to face the truth behind women’s unhappiness with their idolized roles as housewives. The theme was to create self-determination for women and deliverance of society’s status quo. Friedan expressed a range of emotions throughout her writing that demonstrated the injustice women were faced with during the 1960s. The writings of “The Feminine Mystique

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique Essay

1222 words - 5 pages Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique The Feminine Mystique is the title of a book written by the late Betty Friedan who also founded The National Organization for Women (NOW) to help US women gain equal rights. She describes the "feminine mystique" as the heightened awareness of the expectations of women and how each woman has to fit a certain role as a little girl, an uneducated and unemployed teenager, and finally as a wife and

The Feminine Mystique Essay

2290 words - 9 pages Betty Friedan, after experiencing feelings of depression, self-loathing, and dissatisfaction as a mother and housewife, published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. The book, which focused on the “problem that has no name,” promoted awareness of society’s pressure on women to be seen in a certain way, especially in advertising. As Joyce Hart points out in her essay, this propaganda told women that being a wife and mother was all there was to their

The Feminine Mystique Essay

1201 words - 5 pages The Feminine Mystique is the title of a book written by Betty Friedan who also foundedThe National Organization for Women (NOW) to help US women gain equal rights. Shedescribes the 'feminine mystique' as the heightened awareness of the expectations of womenand how each woman has to fit a certain role as a little girl, an uneducated and unemployedteenager, and finally as a wife and mother who is to happily clean the kitchen and cook things allday