Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique Essay

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Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique is the title of a book written by the late Betty Friedan who also founded The National Organization for Women (NOW) to help US women gain equal rights. She describes the "feminine mystique" as the heightened awareness of the expectations of women and how each woman has to fit a certain role as a little girl, an uneducated and unemployed teenager, and finally as a wife and mother who is happy to clean the house and cook things all day. After World
War II, a lot of women's organizations began to appear with the goal of bringing the issues of equal rights into the limelight.

The stereotype even came down to the color of a woman's hair. Many women wished that they
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An enormous problem for women was the psychological stress of dealing with this role that was presented to them. The happily married, perpetually baking, eternally mopping, Donna Reed that lived in every house on the block with her hard working husband and her twelve children that existed in the media made women feel that there was something wrong with them if they didn't enjoy their housewife lifestyle. And it was not easy for women to deal with this problem. As Betty Friedan writes in The Feminine Mystique, "For over fifteen years women in America found it harder to talk about this problem than about sex.
(Kerber/DeHart 515)." Many psychiatrists were baffled and the problem was often ignored with no known solution because everyone found it to not make any sense.

Women of low economic status also struggled a great deal because they had to deal with the problems associated with a single income household which could become very frustrating when she has every reason to get a job, but cannot. It is also harder to raise children with a low income and provide for the family as she was expected to.

It is interesting to apply the notion of the feminine mystique to modern culture and see that it often still exists. Though there are many women who are getting jobs, there are still a lot of families that fit the mold of the traditional family with the breadwinner and
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