Gender Criticism In The Feminine Mystique By Betty Friedan

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“The Feminine Mystique” was written by Betty Freidan, a college graduate and mother of three, in 1963 (Friedan 273). She began the document by explaining how most people viewed the American housewife as “healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home” (Friedan 273). She explained that millions of young women dreamed of this future and yearned for a contented feminine existence. However, she then introduced the “problem without a name” experienced by many American housewives (Friedan 273). Many American women “made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material … chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies ” but had a deep dissatisfaction and yearning for something more (Friedan 274). Friedan explained…show more content…
However, Friedan notes, with this new focus on femininity, careers, intelligence, and education were considered issues for females (274). Friedan argues that without meaningful competition, women will have “neurotic symptoms, or unproductive exercise, or destructive ‘love’” (274). Friedan concludes the section by addressing the fallacy that women already have their rights, acknowledging that women are viewed as second-class citizens, and hoping that women will assert themselves and compete in the real world instead of pretending to be content as housewives (Friedan 275). From “The Feminine Mystique”, we can conclude that women of the 1950s and 1960s began to recognize the dominance and injustice of the patriarchy. The text provides many examples of how the media reinforced the idea that women should be content as housewives, proving that this was a legitimate societal issue. The realization of the “feminine mystique” (in which women were essentially tricked into thinking they didn’t want to pursue careers or education) was effective at sparking a new wave of American

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