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The Feminine Mystique - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Report/Review, History and Political Science: The Feminine Mystique (Name of the student) Book Report/Review, History and Political Science: The Feminine Mystique Evaluation of the theme and historical context of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique: The main theme of the book is feminism and the trials and tribulations of women in every stage of their lives…
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The Feminine Mystique
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Download file to see previous pages Dwindling population caused concern to the politicians and sociologists. Women married at the young age and gave up their career ambitions. Large families became the order of the day and taking care of children and owning domestic responsibilities was held in esteem. That was the era during which Adlai Stevenson, in his second bid for President, told Smith College’s Class of 1955, as reported by Betty Friedan (2013) “I think there is much you can do about our crisis in the humble role of housewife. I could wish you no better vocation than that” (p. 113). The retrograde process for women had begun. How does the author define the problems that confronted American women in the 1950s? Great Depression and World War II left telling effects on the lives of families and women were obliged to bear the brunt, as their men were in the warfronts. 1950s were the beginning of a new phase. Rapid technological advances impacted the societal life from many ends. Women were obliged to concentrate on family and domestic duties. They were advised to vacate their war-time jobs to enable the men to takeover. They were expected to stay at home, raise and take care of children and look after the comforts and necessities of their husbands. The author argues “A thousand expert voices applauded their femininity, their adjustment, their new maturity. All they had to do was to devote their lives from the earliest girlhood to finding of a husband and bearing of children” (p. 58). Technological innovations brought forth many domestic appliances to make housekeeping delightful. But the exposure to the environment outside the domestic sphere had brought new awakening amongst women. Such women challenged the traditional set-up and values and preferred to be part of the paid work-force. In that area also they faced discrimination. They were mostly paid less for carrying out the same type of work and offered low-status and routine positions. Women in the 1950s had no independent voice and they suffered from inferiority complex as compared to men. To talk about their rights and the change in the societal outlook were impossibility. Men gave opinionated statements about women that showed them in low-esteem. Now with choices, they are the creators of their own destiny and not the victims. Women do not live as per the perception of others. About the earlier plight of women the author argued “…she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“Is this all” (p.57)? The print media subscribed to the view in support of maintaining a traditional feminine identity though publication of articles on women who were achievers was not uncommon. What does the author offer as an alternative plan? The book initiated a second-wave of feminism in the 1970s through her writings. Though Friedan did not give a specific name to the problem of women in the 1950s and 1960s, she reached to the roots of the problem that made American women unhappy notwithstanding the fact they were married, had children and material comforts. She argued against the American culture that maintained that fulfillment of the aspirations of women needed to be found in marriage and by remaining as a housewife. She declared “We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: I want something more than my husband ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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