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am 12. Juni 1998
This book makes you feel like you're right there with Friedan in the 1950's and early 60's, interviewing housewives who feel a vague but desperate emptiness in their lives. This fascinating book shows exactly how post-WWII society subtly discouraged women from ever growing up. While boys received encouragement to grow and seek out their place in the world, girls were taught to get married and live through their husbands and children, never able to forge an identity for themselves and leaving a nagging hollow spot in their psyches. The focus of the book is on how society justified and perpetuated this system (which was still going full-steam-ahead at the time the book was written), often by merely playing upon people's unquestioned assumptions.
I read this book for the first time a year ago, and I was absolutely enthralled. I had never liked history before because it never seemed real, but The Feminine Mystique opened up the past for me like no book or class ever has. The examples she gives from her interviews are very disturbing, especially considering that they were taken less than fifty years ago. She interviews students at Smith College (which was and is women-only) who unabashedly say that they would rather give up their dreams of being microbiologists or physicists because the men don't like "brainy" women. Unengaged students search frantically for men, and those who still enjoy applying themselves to their studies admit it to her in hushed tones, as if confessing a dark secret. There's not a boring page in the entirety of this thought-provoking, fascinating book.
In 1963, Betty Friedan was the first to publicly stand up for the right of women to acheive. Reading her book made me appreciate how incredibly far we've come, and how much we owe it to people like Friedan who fought for our right to become full human beings. She has earned my lifelong respect and gratitude.
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am 22. April 2000
As a 19 year old female, I am fascinated by this book. I can now better appreciate the struggles of my grandmothers: both struggled with depression until they finally left the house and got a job. One was an R.N., and the other an interior decorator. This book reminds of the modern-day yuppie housewife who drives her SUV and lives vicariously through her children while Oprah tells her that she has the most important "job" and will avoid becoming depressed if she remembers her spirit each day. I believe that a woman CAN have both a family and a career. After all, men do. My mother has stayed home and worked, and as a kid, I prefer for her to work. She's happier, she's productive, and far less cranky. Freidan's book has shown me that I have every right to fulfll my potential as I start college, and show to younger girls that you don't go to college for your MRS. degree. I refuse to teach future generations of girls that they must choose between career and family. The Feminine Mystique should be read by every woman. Thank God we have come as far as we have, and so much of that credit belongs to Freiden herself.
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am 12. Juli 2000
Although Friedan's current role in the women's movement is hindered by her inability to "share" with other activists, this book takes the reader back to a day when she was one of the few voices to challenge pervading gender roles (even as she contended with an abusive husband)and treatment of women. While (being born in 1979) I was fortunate to have been raised without narrow gender roles, I can see where such socialization would have set previous generations up. My mother (who was an oddity because both her parents worked) does not conciously identify herself as feminist, but says this book strenghthened her independence.
Most of the facts, statistics and tables are obviously outdated (and therefore unusable to support current discrimination) but there are sections of the book which should be able to carry over into the 21st century. It is worth noting that with the exception of Simmone Beavior's Second Sex, there were few books at the time calling for women to be treated like human beings and equals.
Comparatively devoid of "controversial" issues (like GLBT rights) compared to other books, this gave Friedan the leeway needed to get her admittedly radical writting out to a larger audience. Friedan's status as a suburban middle class wife (despite her radical past with labor unionizing)gave her the protective covering necessary to raise this very important issue.
Even as I personally favor Gloria Steinem (who also understood that women's rights were interconnected with that of other oppressed groups) I found a lot to admire in this book. Friedan was clearly ahead of herself on this one, and problaly was unpreppared for the wave of positive (and some newgative) responses that followed the orginal publication of this book.
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am 17. Oktober 1998
I'm 15 years old.I strongly believe in feminism,but some people just pat me on the head and critize me for being naive.Although I am not a feminist,I think girls today don't know about feminism.They think it's just like Girl Power-but all that involves is hot pants and a sequined bra. I never chose to be a girl,but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.I remember once my gym teacher made a sexist comment.I scolded him for it, but all I got in return was a trip to visit the principal.Is it so wrong to fight for my moral rights?I think not!Where have all the troubles of Nellie McClung and Gloria Steinem gone?To the sneers of men,no doubt.The Feminist Mystique gives a full-blown account of what the soul has to do with breasts and pregnancy-FEMINISM.For more girlish reading,check out "Stay True:Short Stories for Strong Girls".
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am 14. Mai 2000
I read this book as research for a script I am writing that is set in 1959. I wanted to get a better handle on my female characters, but I found myself on an unexpected journey of self-discovery. I was born in 1963 -- the year this book was published. On these pages I found my mother, my stepmother, my grandmothers and my aunts, but I also saw myself and my friends. Beyond general feminist theory, Ms. Friedan also touches on the issue of dehumanization of American youth, which we can see today in the mass murders being committed by today's youth. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE MANDATORY READING IN ALL AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLS! It is an important work of social history which should not be forgotten.
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am 27. März 1999
When I first looked at this book, I thought it was going to be a long, drawn out story about feminists that I really didn't want to go through. However, I was delightfully surprised when I could not stop reading the book. I was unaware of the conditions of the American women during the era of the 20's through the 60's. I never knew that most women went back to the home and dropped their fight for womens rights. I am so glad I was able to read this book, not only is it one of the best books I have read, but also one of the most important, for men and women. I highly recommend this book, because it proves that women are equal and that they have every right to do whatever they choose.
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am 24. Juni 1999
This was one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. Although the book discusses the condition of the lives of women during the 40's, 50's, and 60's it makes a person examine the way they are living their life right now. It helps a person understand why they might be unhappy and explains the steps that can be taken to find happiness. This is no longer just a book for femininsts; it is now a book for both men and women and can help a person live a more full and honest life.
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am 17. März 2014
This is a book anyone seriously thinking about feminism should read. It tells us a lot about where we (or the feminist movement) come from, how things were 50 years ago, what people thought 50 years ago. Some of Betty Friedan's arguments and analysis are still very valid today (we did not overcome as yet) though some are just plain amazingly unintelligent (comparison of the fate of a housewife with living in a concentration camp - yes, really! - of course not the starving part, but she finds the same "passive victim attitude" in both populations (which i personally find even more offensive)) or outdated (part about homosexuality). But still - or even because of those shortcomings - worth reading.
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am 22. September 2014
Wen das Thema Feminismus interessiert, sollte sich diesem Buch annehmen. Veröffentlicht in den 60er Jahren, bietet es eine gute Basis, um den Feminismus-Gedanken von heute besser zu verstehen.
Besonders die Thematik "Housewive", gebildete Frauen, die nach dem Studium direkt in die Ehe gehen und nur noch Kinder hüten, hat mich am meisten begeistert. Wichtig ist dabei zu bedenken, dass Friedan sich auf die Staaten bezieht, somit ist es nicht auf Europa einfach so zu übertragen.
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am 17. August 1999
Many say this book brought about the revolution that made it easier for women to work outside the home, (of which I'm a large proponent)--a title which made me expect a highly moving and powerful book--yet when I began, and almost all the way through the book, it let me down. Ms. Friedan makes several good points, but then has the tendancy to draw them out pages and pages longer than they need go on (a group of my freinds who have also read this book agree with me that each chapter, minus quotes, could be reduced down to about a paragraph). She also has the tendancy to not say exactly the source of facts she has in her books. I often found myself reading something along the lines of "...and a very famous study showed..." without having a footnote, endnote, or any marks as to which study this so-called "famous study" is. Ms. Friedan is a very intelligent person, that much I do not deny, but she is not gifted with the ability to put things in their most succinct form. I wanted to give this book much less than 3 stars, but I couldn't, simply on the basis of what it is credited with doing. The book is very good in the way that it presents what were fairly radical ideas at the time it was published with a lot of vigor, but is one of those books where I found myself nodding off every paragraph or so and thinking after I got into a chapter "Didn't I just read this a few lines ago?" My bottom line is, if you want a book about femininity in the 60's and around that time period, read this book, but if you want a good book that deals just with real life struggles of a group of people, read W.E.B. Du Bois's "The Souls of Black Folks".
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