Mary's Reviews > The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
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's review
Sep 17, 2015

did not like it
bookshelves: my-reviews

I had a demeaning encounter with Ms Friedan on the topic of celebrating 30 years of the Feminist Movement. As a Homemaker-Mom, she chastised me for aiming to put the women's movement back 30 years. Wasting my education, becoming overly invested in my children, she tried her best to shame me into compliance. Never one to comply ... I left her royal presence shaking my head. What an angry woman!

Years later, working with some new moms of a younger generation I mentioned the criticisms dished out to those of us my age, who were just-a-moms at home. I'd been told in no uncertain terms it was foolish of me to raise my own children when "today's economy" needed both parents working. One of the young moms gasped and said firmly "WHO told you you couldn't stay home and raise your own children!" I replied Betty Friedan. She looked puzzled and asked "who's Betty Friedan".
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07/02 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-8 of 8) </span> <span class="smallText">(8 new)</span>

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Yellow Rose Nice. Yes feminists hate homemakers and those women who want to be homemakers. As part of a younger generation I am constantly told how homemakers are lazy and useless. Please visit our blog we expose the truth about feminism how it has harmed women. How now women have less protections thanks to feminism. How women are expected to do the man's breadwinner roles yet still take care of kids and do all the chores. Feminism has taken away the right of freely choosing to be a homemaker.

Iwona You chose to be a homemaker. That is a wonderful career choice, hard and fulfilling. Now explain to me this - if I chose a different career, why am I (a woman) still Being judged by the way my house looks, how I do my diner and so on.... And not by how successful I am at my work!!!! So I think you missed the point all together

message 3: by William (new)

William Wenge-Murphy The thing is, today's economy really does need two people working. Since prices rose in response to two-income families being the norm, putting women in the workforce created a situation where they no longer have a "choice" to either work or stay at home - you get that choice only if you marry a man wealthy enough. Oh the irony!

Carolina Maybe you didn't get the point of this book, which is excellent. Betty Friedan is not criticizing one's decision of being a homemaker. In the 40's, it was not a decision - it was predetermined by your sex: being a woman meant being incapable of receiving education and working, and also that you needed a man to protect you. And that was determined by marketing, by magazines, by the feminine mystique.
So, she brings out one point: women were not free to decide their lives. Women were underestimated. Women could not CHOOSE not to become only mothers and wives.
However, today you have the privilege to decide whether you will be a homemaker or not, thanks to this and many other books.

message 5: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali White I agree with the consensus on this review. I never received any anger or chastisement from Freidan about being a homemaker. I have been working since I was 15 years old and I've felt the sting of the feminist mystique. Girls are trained from a young age to be a mother, do the shopping, be a homemaker, etc. There is nothing wrong with being a homemaker (or "stay at home mom"). My mother did it, as my older sister is doing it. Now that I have children, I had to return to work. If being a homemaker is what you want, be excited that you can afford it. Very few people can.

Still, I think you should give the book another try. Misreading Friedan's message is a terrible travesty to the work itself. It is not meant to condemn; it's meant to give a sense of freedom to those women who couldn't understand why they felt alone in the trapped feelings of the day.

KaryAnn This is not a book review. And the fact that you're apparently proud that your friend doesn't know about a revolutionary feminist, doesn't help your argument. Birds of a feather, I suppose...

message 8: by Cristine (new) - added it

Cristine this really isn't a book review. And no, you shouldn't be chastised for your choices. That is the point of feminism, that we have options. For those of us who do not find fulfillment in the home, it resonates.

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