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Betty Friedan

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Stephanie Ramirez

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique A Seed Is Planted Betty Friedan first recognized the "problem that had no name" in 1957 after surveying 200 of her Smith College former classmates. In what was supposed to be their ultimate goal in life, most women revealed that they were dissatisfied with how their lives had turned out. However these women repeatedly assured Friedan that they themselves were the ones at fault.

Friedan was unsatisfied with this answer and decided to investigate further.

In September 1960, she published an article in Good Housekeeping called "Women Are People Too!" The response she received told her not only college-educated women felt it. "The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night--she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question--'Is this all?'" --Betty Friedan Second Wave Feminism Backlash Critics then and now argue that Friedan generalized many women's situations.
Today the book receives criticism for only focusing on the plight of suburban, middle-class white women, and ignoring the other races and social classes of women in America.
The Second Wave of feminism has been targeted by critics who claim that the movement--and Friedan's book--emphasized personal fulfillment at the expense of society at large.
Friedan's views on homosexuality and extramarital sex--both aspects of the female experience not widely discussed in the 1960s--are typical of her time period, a juxtaposition that critics have alleged invalidates the experiences of women not in traditional heterosexual relationships.
Several academics, including Margaret Mead and Alfred Kinsey, whose findings Friedan incorporated into The Feminine Mystique were later accused of falsifying research; these concerns, as well as major discrepancies between the verifiable facts of Friedan's life story and her experiences as depicted in the book, have lead some scholars to question the validity of Friedan's work. Her Immediate Impact Journalist Anne Taylor Fleming, later a friend of Friedan's, was thirteen when The Feminine Mystique was published and was part of the first generation of women to benefit from the book's frank reappraisal of female roles in American life. Upon Friedan's death, Fleming said, "Four years after Betty's book came out, every parameter of a woman's life had been redefined. I'm an absolute child of Betty Freidan's... I went to college in blue jeans [in 1967], expecting to be anything I wanted. And four years before, it was a profoundly different world." By Stephanie Ramirez and Candice Childress Influence of Betty Friedan Born Bettye Goldstein on February 4, 1921
Majored in psychology in Smith College and participated in the college newspaper
Graduated summa cum laude in 1942
Went to University of California, Berkeley for a year as a psychology research fellow
Moved to New York to be a journalist, focusing particular attention on labor unions
Married Carl Friedan in 1947 and had three children with him
Was forced to leave her job when she was pregnant with her second child
Continued as a freelance writer in women's magazines
Divorced husband in 1969 For the next five years, Friedan spent her time writing her soon-to-be incredibly influential book The Feminine Mystique. In the text, she examines
The Problem That Has No Name and gives it a name.
The responses women gave on her surveys, where they described their general unhappiness
The situation women are facing
The history of feminism
And what to do now armed with that knowledge The book was an instant bestseller. By the time Friedan died in 2006, the book had sold over three million copies and had been translated into seventeen different languages. In 1988, twenty-five years after the publication of The Feminine Mystique, Friedan said of the work: "It broke through that definition of women solely in sexual relation to man, solely as man's wife, mother, sex object, housewife, server of physical needs of husband and children and home and never as a person, defining herself by her own actions in society." Sources http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/friedan-betty
http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/anger-boiled-up-and-betty-friedan-was-there-feminine-mystique-at-50/272575/ The Feminine Mystique has been recognized for launching the second-wave Feminist movement. The first wave focused only on gaining suffrage; this time around their net was cast wider. Feminists in the 60's and 70's aimed to prevent gender discrimination, to demand equal pay and reproduction rights, and to encourage women to seek satisfaction beyond the life of a housewife.
Friedan's book galvanized the movement, framing the silent suffering and dissent of women everywhere as a social injustice that, once identified, could be eradicated. Her Lasting Influence Betty Friedan's writing enabled women of a certain class, race and sexuality to free themselves of their obligations to a system they did not wish to support and to provide new opportunities for their daughters, friends, and, ultimately, womankind as a (nebulous and dimly-defined) whole. Despite her flawed methodology and sometimes conflicted stance on the purpose and best application of women's newfound freedom, Friedan's sharp deconstruction of domestic roles and protest against sexual objectification as a means of reinforcing modern morality cut to the quick of what it meant, and still means, to be a woman yearning to be more--to be empowered, to be fulfilled, to be human, with the rights, opportunities and personal agency which women of Friedan's time had been categorically denied.
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