Friedan then stayed to care for her family. She was not satisfied as a housewife and wondered if other women felt the same. So, she surveyed her peers from Smith College What she concluded became the Feminine Mystique. Women’s personal identity as mothers and housewife was not fulfilling enough. Women suffered frustration because their only responsibility was the children and husband without exploring their intelligence and abilities.
Similarly to the likes of Margaret Sanger, Friedan fails to mention any reference to black women and those of different ethnicities, consequently raising concerns over the solutions that Friedan is suggesting; if these middle class women go back out and work on their careers then who will come in to their homes and look after their children and clean their house? Aren’t these women who have already been combining the reality of working and domestic duties? After all, when Friedan wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique’ more than one-third of women were already in the workforce. A notable comparison between the works of Sanger and Friedan is that the liberation of women is not only dependent on their gender but also on their social class, introducing an alternative that bodily autonomy is not forefront in the overlap of first and second wave feminism. The women of the feminine mystique had the choice to become a housewife or obtain a career, although they were pressured by society to adopt the latter, the element of choice was still there for them.
Friedan shocked the world by contradicting the role of what a housewife is supposed to do. She also called females to seek fulfillment of taking a job outside of the house. Friedan’s had such an impact on women that its credited for being the start of the “second wave” of the American feminist movement. Now women would take a stand for their equality right in America. The movement in the 1960s and 1970s was mainly focused on diminishing workplace inequality, such as wages and better jobs.
Friedan was an author, an activist, and the first president of the National Organization for Women. The National Organization for Women aimed to promote women 's ideas, eliminate discrimination, and protect the equal rights of women in all aspects of life. Friedan ignited the second wave of American feminism by writing The Feminine Mystique. Friedan 's audience would most likely be women who want their rights and are annoyed with the housewife role. In her article, "The Importance of Work," Friedan uses several means of persuasion and different types of rhetorical strategies to describe the change in human identity.
In, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan sets out to describe “the problem that has no name” regarding femininity and social constructs surrounding women post world war two, in an attempt to define the patriarchy. Published in 1963, during a time when marriages peaked in teen years and women were dropping out of college to marry- her work is largely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States. Finding herself alongside other women in the struggle of often being pressured to maintain a societal approved, stereotypical femininity, Betty writes with an undertone of bias that firmly pushes the belief that femininity has no standard and certainly not one that can be controlled by men. Though written with bias, significant research is provided within the document to support most claims Betty speaks on.
1. The Feminine Mystique In 1963, Betty Friedan, who was a housewife and journalist that graduated from Smith College, spoke and had interviews with other housewives. These housewives revealed that although they seemed to be having a good life (materialistically), they were very unhappy. Each of these women thought that they were dealing with this unhappiness alone. Friedan called this inchoate unhappiness.
“Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “Is there something more than this?” During Betty Friedan’s time, these questions were all asked by housewives to themselves who were afflicted by the “problem with no name.” There was a disease spreading from household to household, gripping the lives of suburban housewives across America, and in the Feminine Mystique, Friedan documents and explores the problem with no name, its effects on American women, and how to cure and eradicate the plague. Friedan proves the existence of the feminine mystique and its deleterious effects on American society by showing society’s portrayal and expectations of women, the impact on American women by the works of social scientists such as Margaret Mead and Sigmund Freud,
Although occupied few jobs for very low pay, women were still not considered a part of the work force and they did not have any formal workplace rights and usually faced discrimination and unfair treatment from the other gender. It was not until 1963 the Feminine Mystique was written and published by Betty Friedan which was claimed to start the women’s rights movement of the 1960s “The Feminine Mystique is remembered as the book that “started” the women 's movement and 1960s feminism in the United States.” In her book Friedan described her life as a typical housewife of the 1960s, she argued that women’s role was not just to be housewives and do housework, but instead they are a lot more important than that; she also called women to recognize their potential, to speak up and to aspire to work in professional jobs and become equal to men, “She also helped advance the women’s rights movement as one of the founders of the National
Feminism is not about making women gain strength, they are already strong, it is about changing the mindset of society. Women have the ability to achieve anything a man can, so why are women limited of their potential to succeed in life? The fifties was a time where the only ideal role for women in life was to become a housewife, because that is what the social norms were. With that case, there were many women that were dissatisfied and felt incomplete, since they had no voice and control over their life. During the 1950’s women faced patriarchal oppression which impacted their family life, job opportunities, and mental health.
This call to action is quite clear with American colonists against the British Empire in the late 1700s. This group gave up their prejudices of class to conquer the agreed enemy, the British Empire. The Feminine Mystique is one of the appointed and societally accepted “classic” works of feminism. The Feminine Mystique perpetuated the indication of feminism only to be needed for straight white cisgender women defining feminism as an exclusive problem that it is not. Friedan although she supported and made white feminism more popular did not start it.