The Feminine Mystique | Study Guide

Betty Friedan

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

the-feminine-mystique-betty-friedanBetty Friedan, Chapter 1omen who had once wanted careers were now making careers out of having babies. ContextBetty Friedan, who had come alive intellectually when she was an undergraduate, visited Smith College 15 years later and found even the brightest students had singular goals: meeting the right man and getting married. Housewives of the day were similarly blank, bored, and emotionally and sexually unfulfilled. The Feminine Mystique served as a call to action that kick-started second-wave feminism. Its encouraging accounts of brilliant and determined first-wave feminists and sad tales of contemporary women's empty lives provided impetus for women to help themselves by helping each other.Key FiguresSigmundFreudPsychoanalyst who asked the unanswerable question: what do women want?Alfred KinseyHuman sexuality researcher; practiced open marriageMary WollstonecraftActivist who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792); advocated for education for womenMargaret SangerFounded Planned Parenthood; sponsored development of the first oral contraceptiveMargaretMeadAnthropologist; studied the fluidity of gender behavior of masculine women and feminine menSources:, The Guardian, Jewish Womens Archive, Kinsey Institute, New Yorker, Planned Parenthood Copyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc.The Feminine Mystiqueby the NumbersCopies of The Feminine Mystique sold in the first printing1.4M18Rank of The Feminine Mystique on the Guardians list of the best nonfiction booksPercentage increase in the number of references to sex in American media between 1950 and 1960, according to The Feminine Mystique~163Percentage of new brides in the United States in 1955 who were teenagers49Studying womens lives in the 1950s, Friedan found widespread despair and boredom despite the material comforts of postwar America. She promoted the rights and desires of women by becoming a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and publishing The Feminine Mystique, which brought instant acclaim.BETTY FRIEDAN19212006AuthorThe Feminine Mystique peers into the unhappy world of 1950s women, whose lives were defined by the retrograde values of patriarchal culture. Restrained by domestic roles, women suffer from arrested development. Advanced education enables a well-developed sense of self and a healthier society—not to mention better sex!The Life You Save Is Your OwnMAIN IDEASSexy No-Stoop KitchenHousewives, the primary consumers, hopelessly seek fulfillment in things.Lost GenerationHousewives hidden in identical homes have lost their identities and their dreams.Sex & the Arty PhDMultiple advanced degrees mean better, multiple orgasms.Anatomy as Destiny Maintaining conventional sex roles guarantees a peaceful and orderly society.EnglishOriginal Language1963Year PublishedBetty FriedanAuthorThe FeminineMystiqueWomens StudiesNonfiction

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