Nina's Reviews > The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
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's review
Oct 28, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction-but-not-boring

This book was definitely crucial to the second wave of feminism.
However, I didn't like that Friedan portrayed Judaism as an anti-feminist religion. She blames Freud's slightly misogynistic views on his religion. In fact, Freud was not at all religious, and considered Judaism to be a cultural identity. He said that the history of the Jews helped him to identify with persecution.
Friedan also mentions that Orthodox Jews have very anti-woman ideas. This is totally true, and for a long time I have been supporting reform in the Jewish community.
But she singles Judaism out, and does not explain that the ultra-Orthodox are a minority of extremists. The reader is led to believe that every Jew considers women to be inferior.
Fundamentalists of every religion tend to hold misogynistic views. But not once does The Feminine Mystique mention them. In modern Norway, it is still legal to rape your wife. In modern Saudi Arabia, women can be beaten for showing their faces. In the Vatican, reproductive rights are considered murderous and sinful. In rural China, babies are drowned at birth because they are female. None of these issues are even touched upon.
I really want to give this book a great review, because the rest of the book was so insightful and groundbreaking. But as a feminist Jew, those few paragraphs ruined the book for me.

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message 1: by Deirdre (new) - added it

Deirdre I completely understand the frustration with what you're saying about the book, but we have to keep in mind the era in which it was written. It's a 40 something year old book.

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