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How have ideas composed in Betty Friedan's The Feminie Mysti

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Ally Stockman

on 18 April 2014

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Transcript of How have ideas composed in Betty Friedan's The Feminie Mysti

The Feminine Mystique
This controversial book was published on February 19, 1963. It criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through femininity, becoming one of the most influential books of the 20th century. Betty Friedan helped forever change America's attitude towards women and their roles in society. Many of her beliefs are still practiced and represented in our country today.
Betty Friedan identified the 'problem that has no name', that thousands of women in her time faced, which is now known as sexism. Betty altered society's beliefs about femininity and what it means to be female. In the post-world war two world, almost all women strived to get married, have four children, and live in a nice house in the suburbs. Those few women that did not live like this were shunned by the rest of America. Businesses, corporations, churches, and ordinary citizens believed that women belonged at home so they could clean, cook, and care for the children. Betty dared to think differently in this narrow-minded world.
The Problem That Has No Name

In 1960, before the book was published, only 6% of students in medical school were female. Today, women make up about half of all medical students in America.
Women In Medicine
In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in employment based on race, nationality, religion, or sex. Betty held the 'sex' part of the law against Congress to fight for women's equality at work. Women now run corporations, newspapers, TV stations, and more.
Women Employment
Betty Friedan also endorsed the right to have an abortion, which was legalized in 1973. NOW, the National Organization for Women, which Betty was a part of, campaigned for this right before and after it was passed.
The Right to Have an Abortion
Unlike in Betty's time, society now recognizes the reality of sexual harassment, which was only given a name in the 1970s.
Two generations after
The Feminine Mystique
was published, Betty wrote, "Far from being unspeakable and invisible, sexual abuse of women and less overt forms of sexual harassment are now considered serious enough crimes to bring down a senator or Supreme Court Justice or even a president."
Sexual Harassment
The Feminine Mystique
gave women a power, telling them that the only reason society mocked them is that they were not taking themselves seriously. When the book was published in 1963, men's turnout at the polls exceeded women's by 5%. Since 1980, women have consistently voted at higher rates than men.
Women at the Polls
In a chapter titled
The Mistaken Choice
, Betty talked about the baby and marriage boom after the war. In 1963, 50% of all American women were married by the age of 20. Today, only 38% of women have married by the age of 25.
The Rush to Marriage
The Feminine Mystique
is often described as one of the most influential books of the women's rights movement. Because of this, women now have the ability to play competitive sports and compete in the Olympics.
This image portrays a post-WWII suburban housewife.
This is a group of 1960s female medical students.
This is the first edition of
The Feminine Mystique.
How Have Ideas Composed in Betty Friedan's
The Feminine Mystique
Shaped Our Modern Society?

This video was played on television during WWII to persuade women to work. After the war, men took back the jobs, and women were forced into their homes.
This is the gender gap in voting for president from 1952 to the most recent election.
This couple hurried to get married right after the war.
This is Helene de Pourtales. She competed in the 1900 Olympic Games and was the first female Olympic champion.
Modern Times
The Feminine Mystique
has forever changed our world.
Gail Collins once wrote, "If you want to understand what has happened to American women over the last half-century ... you have to start with this book."
Judith Shulevitz from The New York Times recently said, "[The Feminine Mystique] changed the world so comprehensively that it's hard to remember how much change was called for."
Overall, it is easy to see how this book was a 'manifesto for change', and how it has impacted the world we live in today.
History and Theory of Feminism
. 24 March 2014. <www.gender.cawater-info.net/knowledge_base/rubricator/feminism-e.htm>.

Drier, Peter.
Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique": 50 Years Later
. 24 March 2014. <truth-out.org/news/item/14514-betty-friedans-the-feminine-mystique-50-years-later>.

Carroll, Jason, Kay Hymowitz, Kelleen Kaye, and W. Bradford Wilcox.
Knot Yet- The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America
. William E. Foundation. <www.nationalmarriageproject.org>.

Friedan, Betty.
The Feminine Mystique
. Norton and Company, Inc., 1963. Print.

Collins, Gail.
Introduction to the Feminine Mystique
. Norton and Company Inc., 2013. Print.
Betty Friedan petitioning with NOW to keep abortion legal
Full transcript