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The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique (1963)

by Betty Friedan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Norton Critical Editions

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English (28)  French (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
"I expected to revisit this book as I would a period piece, interesting, worthy of notice and of homage, yet a little dated and obvious as well...and I expected to be properly grateful. Which is to say, slightly condescending." - Afterword by Anna Quindlen

Although Quindlen instead found herself enrapt, this quote is exactly how I felt about the majority of this book. It gave me a lot of insight into a time period in American history, but did not resonate with my modern ideas of equality. I feel grateful for the changes that built on this book and its incredible importance, but I cannot ignore the tunnel-like focus on middle class white women and instances of explicit homophobia.

There are certainly a lot of pieces that made me think about what exactly my expectations are from an equal society and how an inability to pursue a passion stagnates and frustrates a person.

Happy to have read about where we were as a society 50-60 years ago and reflect on where we are now - both the good and the bad. ( )
  eraderneely | Feb 14, 2019 |
This is just a Penguin Modern mini with a couple of extracts from The Feminine Mystique. It has made me want to read the whole book. A couple of bits really struck me as being still very true and relevant, which is a bit depressing given that it was written over 5 years ago about the stereotypical American housewife/family. There was an interesting bit about generations of children being brought with a lack of self-reliance - we'd probably call it helicopter parenting now, so it was interesting to see it was a concern way back then as well. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jan 13, 2019 |
I was super excited about this at first because you think of feminism as a roughly linear progression but she was talking about the "mystique" like it was something that came over women in the fifties where before that they were all tough professionals like Ruth Benedict. And you go with her on that because it's a counter narrative and you want it to be true because the present always so patronizes the past, but then it turns out what's actually happening is that the standard line on this book where she doesn't give a shit or know a shit about women who are not in her upper-middle-class Seven-Sisters-educated bubble is dead on, and some of what she said later I found informative or provocative in the good way but just all so tainted. Imma try not to move the goalposts on this--of course it was a death inside, of course women needed to be allowed to contribute--but oh her contempt for childraising, for instance, such a trivial task that women could do it off the side of their desk. We haven't, like, fixed that problem, but at least we've (I think?) agreed that the answer has something to do with men pulling their weight, which Betty Friedan could never ever suggest because oh Father's in his study? I'm being super presentist and sure what have I done for women lately but upper-middle-class people treating other people like they don't count gets my goat. (Oh also she was a homophobe, the end.) ( )
1 vote MeditationesMartini | May 22, 2018 |
The thing about the feminine mystique is that it’s supposed to be very flattering, like Middlemarch’s “stupid complimenting”.

But of course, reality is better than illusion.


Thinking differently came so easily to Betty Friedan— she was an Aquarius— that she never gave the impression of being hurt. ( )
  smallself | Apr 26, 2018 |
I can see why this book sparked such a movement. and although most of the content of this book is irrelevant in today's world we can still relate it to other things that are still a problem today. Housewives of today no longer have the problem of just simply being a housewife and having to settle for that. If you want to learn how to play the violin then go out and buy a violin and learn how to play it. There is nothing stopping women from doing these sorts of things on top of being housewives. We no longer feel the stigma that there's something wrong with us if we feel the need to branch out into other interests.
The author relates a lot of her information as a sort of piggyback on to work already researched and written by both Freud and Kinsey. She states that several times when doing her interviews her interviewees steer the conversation to some sort of sexual frustration and/or empowerment. As the author states "Sex is the only Frontier open to women who have always lived within the confines of the Feminine Mystique."
Although this book was written for women in the 40s 50s and 60s, it is still eye-opening to read today. Even though most of it reads as a dull textbook there is still some very good information within it. I also agree that this is a part of our history such as the Malleus Maleficarum and Mein Kampf and should continue to be read and studied as a historical text. ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Jan 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedan, Bettyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hardenberg, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melior, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quindlen, AnnaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shriver, LionelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagenaar, StannekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For all the new women, and the new men
to Carl Friedan
and to our children—
Daniel, Jonathan, and Emily
—1970 Dell Paperback edition
First words
Preface:  Gradually, without seeing it clearly for quite a while, I came to realize that something is very wrong with the way American women are trying to live their lives today.
The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393322572, Paperback)

The book that changed the consciousness of a country—and the world.

Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined "the problem that has no name," that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since. A national bestseller, with over 1 million copies sold.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Landmark, groundbreaking, classic?these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined "the problem that has no name," that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since. --publisher.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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