The Feminine Mystique Analysis

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The impact of “The Feminine Mystique” By Betty Friedan
During the 1960s, a woman’s world was highly restrictive in almost all areas, from home life to the work field. A woman’s role was bound to homemaking, raising children and serving their husbands. If they chose to go into the professional world, their options were limited to subservient roles as nurses, teachers and secretaries, as not to disrupt the social hierarchy during the time. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique transformed this patriarchal dominated society and changed the way middle-class white women viewed their roles and identities in society post-World War II and throughout the 1960s. Friedan’s generation succeeded the generation of “first wave” feminism who pushed for women’s
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Feminine Mystique manifests Friedan’s thoughts on the compromise of women’s roles post-World War II and how it led to the detriment of feminism, the exposition of the unspoken and unnamed frustrations shared by a consensus of women, and the deficient system of gender-based functionalism and its setbacks. All of the strong condemnation and criticism on these various facets led to the gradual change of the way women viewed their roles and identities.
Friedan frustratingly explains how women’s choices to revert back to domestic roles after World War II compromised women’s independence and identity. Friedan uses this frustration to revive modern feminism and extinguish the prison that gender roles had imprisoned women in. In The Feminine Mystique, Friedan illustrates how women fell into the common portrayal of a housewife just fifteen years after the war and how “millions of women lived their lives in the image of those pretty pictures of the American suburban housewife, kissing their husbands goodbye in front of the picture window, depositing their stationwagonsful of children at school…their only dream was to be perfect wives and mothers…”(Friedan 61) and other description that fit the occupation of “housewife”.
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