The Feminine Mystique By Betty Friedan

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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 suffrage. Now Friedan and her contemporaries are inciting equality outside of the law and into American homes. 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 liv... ... middle of paper ... ...mpact modern day feminism. In 1966, she cofounded the National Organization for Women (NOW), which campaigned for equality. Three years later, she helped initiate the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which was later named NARAL Pro-Choice America. And throughout the 1970s and 80s, she was an outspoken advocate for women and was a significant leading figure of the feminist movements. Friedan continued to influence the world with her passion for women’s rights and equality until her death in 2006 (Parry). Friedan’s work, The Feminine Mystique, encouraged women to recapture the privilege of domestic and social equality, which was seen briefly during World War II, she gave a name to the face of social repression of women during the 1960s: “feminine mystique,” and ultimately, demolished the social hierarchy of functionalism and absolute gender roles.
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