Jennie's Reviews > The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
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Oct 11, 07

Read in October, 2007

i don't think i've ever seen the word "beatnikery" in print before.....

i think the reason to read this book is to gain an understanding of feminism in the mid-century Zietgiest. It gave me some things to think about, despite being hopelessly outdated and terribly repetitive. i was particularly intrigued by the idea that manufacturers would want to keep women bored and at home in order to sell them more consumer goods. As a full-time "career woman" (in Ms. Friedan's parlance) i find i can still manage to spend obscene amounts of money on my home, clothes, shoes, car, entertainment, travel, etc. If there was a marketing conspiracy to keep women in the home, it doesn't seem to have been well-founded, but the suggestion has caused me to look around and consider some of the modern manupulations of women's roles as directed by commercial media.

i think the main obstacles preventing this book from passing as modern are (1) the overt disapproval of homosexuals or any kind of sexual deviance from the apple-pie-norm; (2) the radical generalizations Ms. Friedan makes about entire populations; and (3) the focus on white, middle and upper class women as though they were the only women around, or at least worth talking about. I got Friedan's message early on, and seriously considered not reading to the end, but i'm glad i did; kind of like climbing the mountain because it's there - gotta plant my flag at the top of Mount Mystique. It was interesting to me partially because i was reading my mother's dogeared copy from her college years (95 cents!) and i can imagine what the feminist movement meant to her, and what she was thinking about, even though i'm sure it differs radically from my view. Kind of a surreal bonding experience.

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