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