The Feminine Mystique – book review

“…women who ‘adjust’ as housewives, who grow up wanting to be ‘just a housewife,’ are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps…they ate suffering a slow death of mind and spirit.”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition…” ~ Timothy Leary

The Feminine MystiqueThe Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not sure if I know what to say about this one. Even though the book just had its 50-year anniversary I felt like these problems were just as relevant today. Just look at the epidemic of housewives using crystal meth and the anxiety to over-achieve when it comes to child rearing, homemaking, and generally keeping up appearances. I was prompted to read this after Caitlin Moran’s rant How to be a Woman (which I loved deeply)I think these books should be read together after paging through Martha Stewart Living and Cosmopolitan. I think you may be surprised to see how far we still have to go.

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“We have gone on too long blaming or pitying the mothers who devour their children, who sow the seeds of progressive dehumanization, because they have never grown to full humanity themselves. If the mother is at fault, why isn’t it time to break the pattern by urging all these Sleeping Beauties to grow up and live their own lives? There never will be enough Prince Charmings or enough therapists to break that pattern now. It is society’s job, and finally that of each woman alone. For it is not the strength of the mothers that is at fault but their weakness, their passive childlike dependency and immaturity that is mistaken for “femininity.” Our society forces boys, insofar as it can, to grow up, to endure the pains of growth, to educate themselves to work, to move on. Why aren’t girls forced to grow up – to achieve somehow the core of self that will end the unnecessary dilemma, the mistaken choice between femaleness and humanness that is implied in the feminine mystique?”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

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