wmst2 - Genesis Hernandez WMST 130 November 1, 2011 The...

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Genesis Hernandez WMST 130 November 1, 2011 The perfect family: there's a wife and a husband, there's two, maybe three kids; there's a dog, a white picket fence surrounding the typical suburban house. The husband is off to work, while the wife is at home, tending to the children. All is well, all is at peace. At least, that is what it looks like. Yet, many times women find themselves wondering, "Is this all?" It is a question that not many women are brave enough to ask themselves, even when they have spent year after year with a hollowness that they can not seem to fulfill, even with the perfect family. But we've come so far, right? Women can now work, women are no longer confined in their homes, they have options, they have rights, but that's not necessarily true. This "problem that has no name" is a problem that is still alive and well, and it's a problem that is causing women to lead unsatisfactory lives as they try to uphold a persona that is not their own, but rather an implication of the patriarchy. Betty Friedan explored the implications of this problem in, "The Feminine Mystique." For the most part, Friedan explored the effect that this role had on white, middle-class women. In her analysis, she argues that women were encouraged to "glorify in their own femininity" (Friedan, p. 10). Women, at that time, were told that an ideal women was one that did "not want careers, higher education, political rights- the independence and the opportunities that the old- fashioned feminists fought for" (Friedan, p. 10). Although women had gained some rights in the 1950s, these rights were shunned by women. Education was available, but women were being
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raised with a mentality that made intelligence an unattractive quality. Friedan introduces an example of a young woman who refused a science fellowship at John Hopkins because, "All she wanted…was what every other American girl wanted- to get married, have four children and live in a nice house in a nice suburb" (Friedan, p. 13). In her analysis, Friedan argues that the problem was no longer whether or not women were inferior or superior to men, the assumption was that "they were simply different" (Friedan, p. 14). Although women were taking on the role that was expected of them, and many were taking on this role with a passion that was almost eerie, they were feelings of unfulfillment arising, and the women did not know how to deal with
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wmst2 - Genesis Hernandez WMST 130 November 1, 2011 The...

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