The Feminine Mystique

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by naturegoddess69, May 13, 2004.

  1. Hey all! Nice to be back on the forums. I just started reading The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan the other day. Who read it here? What did you guys think of it? So far I like it. Because it's so old & it's more relatable to an older audience--it just keeps going on & on about housewives.
  2. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    I, personally, don't like the book. I know it is considered seminal (er, ovular) in Classical 60s Feminist literature, but I really don't beleive that ALL womyn who stay home with children hate thier lives, resent their children and their husbands, and we KNOW that simply getting womyn "out of the house and into the workforce" didn't make everyone's life a utiopia! We still have the same problems, finacially and otherwise, but we have less time with our children. This type of "Classical 60s style feminism" really only helped the rich, in the long run, those who are able to have Careers while the rest of womyn simply have to have menial jobs. Now it takes TWO incomes to support a family, the way one used to be able to, and I blame the "womyn HAVE to get into the workforce, because raising children is a waste of time" advocates.

    There is more to being a feminist than getting a job and dumping one's children in day care. In fact, this idea is one of the things I really hate about 60s and 70s style radial feminism.

    One can be EQUAL and still take the time to raise one's children, if that is what one chooses to do. Not all womyn want children, and that is totally cool, but most who do want them, want to be with them, and I really think Freidan made it really hard of it for those of us who beleive that marriage is NOT a form of slavery (particularly if you pick a man who beleives in equality of the genders) and really WANT to raise our own children, ourselves, and not farm them out to others, so we can do something "better" with our time.

    (jimaan hits the floor in a dead faint while reading this post from me, cuz he thought he had me all figured out.....)
  3. NightOwl1331

    NightOwl1331 Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    I didn't like it either. What bothered me was that the book talks like you can only be a happy, fullfilled woman if you have a job outside the home. I don't think that's true and the best mothers I've seen have been stay-at-home moms. I'm not going to have children unless I can stay home with them. The thought of some daycare raising my children scares the hell out of me. But, the one point brought up in the book that I agree with is that stay-at-home mom's should keep some outside interests. Judging from some women in my family I do understand why that book was written. My grandmother, who was part of the 50s/60s housewife generation, gave up all her outside interests and totally defined herself as wife and mother and then the children left the nest and she recently became a widow and she seems so lost. She has to find herself and she's in her 60s. It's sad. So, I do agree with that point of the book.
  4. wiggly

    wiggly Member

    The book was utterly fake.

    (who has a non-fake book available in pdf, 1Mb which covers Typhoid Betty and her ilk)
  5. Yeah, so far I've read about a 1/3 of it. It's alright it's dryly written. I can't relate to what they are talking about & it does seem a bit radical/extreme. I'm reading it because it's a classic. I've read The Second Sex by Simone deBeauviore too. That was a much harder read. I read The Female Eunuch that was funny & interesting. That was from the 70's. The other one was from the 50's. Any feminist reading suggestions? Anyone? Thanx.
  6. SunFree

    SunFree Member

    Hi all. Just wanted to make the point after I read the first couple posts that just because you are a working mother, doesn't necessarily mean you're farming your kids off to be raised by somebody else in daycare. My mom has been a full time nurse my entire life, going back between night shift and day shift so she could be there with us as much as possible.

    I'm sure you all realize this too anyway, but I just had to say it :) . I agree with you also that just because you choose not to work outside the home doesn't mean you're a dependent slave, etc. It's the choice that matters.

    I've never read the book though, I've only learned a little about Friedan in history class.
  7. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member extraordinaire HipForums Supporter

    Remember the context that book comes from, which was the early sixties. Back then "the sixties" hadn't arrived, and people were still very much in the conformist mode of the 1950s, with very little support for women doing anything except raising housefuls of little kiddies. Friedan may seem to be suggesting replacing one form of standard female behavior with another, but in those days just to say that the situation was bad for women (and men, and children) and to say that there was an alternative, was radical enough. "Feminism", as that's understood now, simply didn't exist then, and in the later 60s and into the 70s The Feminine Mystique was the book that was acknowledged as starting the movement off. Maybe now it doesn't seem to offer much real freedom, but it had a lot of influence.
  8. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

    I like it... I read it in highschool... I think it really gives a good perspective of the mentality of what once was... see how women thought and acted... it's rather interesting. I should reread it, thanks for reminding me of it...
  9. jiimaan

    jiimaan Banned

    You do know that the word seminal is derived from the Latin "seminalis" which does NOT mean semen. I know Latin isn't a language studied by many "lactation consultants" but even you should know that seminal isn't derived from semen (or is that semyn?).

  10. sadeyedlady

    sadeyedlady Member

    I read the book last year and I don't necessarily think housewives are oppressed and unhappy, but she has a point. While there are always some women out there who don't want to work (by work I mean have a fulfilling career, so in this respect we're obviously not talking about lower class women who don't have a choice in having a handpicked career) I think it is absolutely essential to a person's happiness to have fulfillment outside the home. What happens when the kids leave home? You'll be too old to start your career or pick up where you left off. You're also not being the best role model. Whenever you hear someone idolizing their mother, it's always "My mom succeeded in life and also always had time for us." It's not "Yeah, mom was around all the time." I mean, after a certain point, I have to think housewives stay around their kids for their own benefit rather than the child's. When you're in school and you come home at 3PM, is it really going to kill the kid to wait 2 hours until their mom gets home at 5? I agree with the mom being there during the developmental years, though. That could really make a difference. Besides, whether you want to agree or not, the more women there are confining themselves to the home, the less of an influence women can have in society. I guess the number is too small, now to make a difference. But it used to, so I'm glad that's changed.
  11. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member extraordinaire HipForums Supporter

    I'm afraid you're showing humor-impairment and you're also wrong.

    Merriam-Webster online says this:

    Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin seminalis, from semin-, semen seed -- more at SEMEN
    1 : of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen
    2 : containing or contributing the seeds of later development : CREATIVE, ORIGINAL <a seminal book> <one of the most seminal of the great poets>

    It seems that "seminal" doesn't derive from "semen", but they both relate to "seed". And If you can imagine a feminist using the word "seminal", you should (well, a non-humor-impaired person should) see that the feminist might note the origin of the word and think of an alternative that has a similar meaning and favors women.
  12. sadeyedlady

    sadeyedlady Member

    jiimaan says that as if he's studied Latin..ha!
  13. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    Yes, it is. I took Latin for the Medical Profession at a well know Jesuit University. Seminal IS used to describe "starting" and comes from the same root as Semen, which was beleived, at one time, to be the sole starter of an animal, with the female's womb as simply "fertile soil." Or maybe my Jesuit Latin Professor knew less about Latin than you do....

    From the Random House Dictionary:
    I was also joking when I used the word "ovular." As your constant attempts to place me into your "feminazi" box would have missed.
  14. jiimaan

    jiimaan Banned

    There was nothing to indicate that what you said was intended to be humorous. I don't consider you to be a "feminazi" as you would have it, because I don't subscribe to the beliefs of the pompous buffoon who coined the term (or at least made it more recognizeable). I simply consider you to be a common run-of-the-mill radical feminist zealot. But to be honest, the whole "nazi" comparison is somewhat legitimate when it comes to you, as they too were quite intent on altering language to suit their ideological perogatives.
  15. Well, I finished the book about a week & 1/2 ago. It was alright. It wouldn't be the first fem book I'd suggest thats for sure. It had some interesting & valid concepts of housewives. I plan on reading The Beauty Myth: How Beauty Images Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf next. She seems to have some interesting books about women. Anyone read it? It looks good; hope so... Anyone here ever heard of the movies titled Killing Us Softly ? They are about media images and how they affect women's perspectives of themselves and how men treat women. Check them out if you can. They are actually pretty entertaining also.
  16. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    Ah, Jeez, Now I'm a Nazi. PFFT. :rolleyes:

    I, and others were absolutely right when it came to the root of the word "seminal" though. :p
  17. Maggie Sugar

    Maggie Sugar Senior Member

    Wrong again! (What a surprise.) In order to sit for one's IBLCE Board Examinations, one needs to have a course in Medical Latin and Medical terminology.
  18. jiimaan

    jiimaan Banned

    I never said you were a Nazi, just that the comparison is "somewhat legitimate".

  19. jiimaan

    jiimaan Banned

    There's a HUGE difference between taking a course in Medical Latin, and studying Latin.

    Without looking it up on the Internet, translate this:

    dulce et decorum est pro patria mori


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