Christine Williams's Reviews > The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
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Jan 09, 11

bookshelves: feminism
Read from December 08, 2010 to January 06, 2011

As recently as last semester, I realized that I was running out of space in my schedule for English classes, that I would have to do something else to fill up credits toward the 124 I need to graduate. I thought about doing another major in sociology, but I gave that up since it would require me to take a math class. Eventually I realized what should have been obvious, and I decided to do a certificate in Women’s Studies.

So, the first book I started over break was The Feminine Mystique. As much as I thought I knew about the condition of women in the 1950s and early 1960s, reading this book really brought it home to me. Without Betty Friedan, I would only be in college to find a husband, because women were stigmatized for wanting to have a career. In fact, the American education system encouraged women to sit around piddling their thumbs until a husband came and took them home. Rather than allowing us to develop our own intellectual identities and find our own passions, society forced us back into the home to find identity in raising children and obsessively mopping the floor. Not a good idea.

I’d like to say that every single woman should read this book. It shocked me, just how destructive society was to women in these years, and it makes me appreciate just how far women have been able to come in the years after the book’s publication. Of course, I know every woman won’t read it, but I’m glad I did.
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Reading Progress

12/08/2010 page 95
16.0% "'The feminine mystique began to spread through the land, grafted onto old prejudices and comfortable conventions which so easily give the past a stranglehold on the future' (91)"
12/15/2010 page 165
28.0% "'The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained. Nor could they paint the new image of what women might become when they grew up under conditions that no longer made them inferior to men, dependent, passive, incapable of thought or decision' (163)."
12/19/2010 page 268
46.0% "'These girls are doomed to suffer ultimately that bored, diffuse feeling of purposelessness, non-existence, non-involvement with the world that can be called anomie, or lack of identity, or merely felt as the problem that has no name' (267)."
12/29/2010 page 364
62.0% "'Just what was the feeling she expected to get from sex? And why was it, somehow, always out of reach? Does sex become unreal, a phantasy, when a person needs it to feel "alive," to feel "my own identity"?'"
01/05/2011 page 490
83.0% "Going for the finish today!"
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