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The Feminine Mystique Paperback – September 17, 2001
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“[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.”
- Marilyn French, Esquire
“The book that pulled the trigger on history.”
- Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock
“One of those rare books we are endowed with only once in several decades.”
- Amitai Etzioni, author of The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society
“[The Feminine Mystique] now feels both revolutionary and utterly contemporary. . . . Four decades later, millions of individual transformations later, there is still so much to learn from this book. . . . Those who think of it as solely a feminist manifesto ought to revisit its pages to get a sense of the magnitude of the research and reporting Friedan undertook.”
- Anna Quindlen
From the Publisher
First published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique ignited a revolution that profoundly changed our culture, our conciousness, and our lives. Today it newly penetrates to the heart of isuues determining our lives -- and sounds a call to arms against the very real dangers of a newe feminine mystique in the economic and political turbulence of the 1990s.
Three decades later, the underlying issues raised by Betty Friedan strike at the core of the problems women still face at home and in the marketplace. As women continue to struggle for equality, to keep their hard-won gains, to find fulfillment in their careers, marriage and family, The Feminine Mystique remains the seminal conciousness-raising work of our times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Friedan does a great job explaining the context of her writing to contemporary and modern readers. She makes a compelling case that the status of women initially improved during World War II, but then reverted as men returned from the fight. Her perspective is quite unique. As a magazine writer she’s able to show the changing opinion of society vocalized through the media. By counting the number of magazine articles that portray women as empowered individuals, Friedan is able to quantify this ideological shift.
In this context Friedan pointed out that something was wrong. She recognized that women lived in a tiny sphere of influence and led unfulfilling lives. She argued that “we can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than my husband and my children and my home’”. After the book’s release in 1963 it spent 6 weeks on the New York Time’s best seller list and sold 1.4 million copies. This goes to show how much her message resonated. The book also made me think about the experience of my grandparents in a new way.
While the book is progressive in one area, readers should beware of its regrettable comments about homosexuals, mental disease, and concentration camps. Friedan argues that house-wives smother their children with love, preventing them from growing up. This leads to promiscuity and homosexuality, which “is spreading like a murky smog over the American scene”. As well, she brazenly makes the comparison that women “are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps”. This argument only made me contrast the relatively small plight of women with the immense inhumanity of the holocaust. Finally, she implies that schizophrenia and autism in children are the result of mothers over accommodating their kids. These passages are not worth reading.
Despite the book’s flaws and age, it’s still significant today. Women’s equality has advanced greatly in the last half century, yet they still face similar challenges. Jobs with the highest proportion of female workers are still nurses, school teachers, social workers and other traditional roles according to U.S. DOL 2010 figures. The arguments of the Feminist Mystique are still valid. Buy this book if you’d like to better understand how the role of women has evolved and continues to change.