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Marilina The Reviewer

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The Feminine Mystique: A classic

The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan, Anna Quindlen


The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is an iconic book that relentlessly changed the way the American woman saw herself, until its first publication in 1963. Feministic in a good way, without the morbid extravaganza other reads of that type hold, it's relevant even now and if you don't choose to believe so, at least you can appreciate it as a historical document.

In my opinion the above statement holds more truth than any other quote about gender equality every did. Of course not all of her suggestions are correct, or well examined. Many of her points are dislodged to the extremity of becoming eerie representations of what it might have been at first as an idea. But noone can be so foolish as to ignore the masterful and underrated -until then- meaning behind every single testament, the choise.

The free choise. In few words the significance and value of the book lays completely in this little concept. This commanding, severe notion. For centuaries -in different stages every era- the woman as an archetype had very particular "jobs" to do. Marrying, taking care of the house, raising as many children as the fate would give her -with no use for any contraceptive method- having the men in her life dictating every aspect and every decision and of course the "stay there and look pretty" utility. But only that. For the mainstream, everyday woman there was no freedom, no individuality, no aspiration. If you wanted to be something else, something not more but just different you didn't had the choise.

Friedan's whole point is this, it doesn't diminish the want of a woman to be a housewife and a mother, it just states the actual fact, that you can be all that and a thousand more things, or not. You can be a mother and a working woman, or you can be a mother, or you can be a working woman, period. You can be anything you want, so long it is your choise, not just an outdated inclination. Don't barricade yourself behind meaningless gender roles, labels or privileges, make choises.

Bottom line, the book is not perfect. It's repetitive, drawn out and maybe a little arid at points. BUT it was a fundamental lever of motion back in the sixties that ultimately led to the Second-wave Feminism movement and created the coalition with other movements such as the civil rights and the student's rights, that eventually changed the world, in so many aspects, with an amazing force.
It must be appreciated and cherished for helping to make the world a little better, a little brighter, a little less menial and tedious.


- I don't agree with her about homosexuality. I'm sure it was just a way of approaching the middle class, narrow minded women of the time and not entirely her beliefs.
- I believe that if you are a mother, you give to your child a piece of you, you will never get back and that is great if you make the choise to become a parent consciously. But if you only doing it in order to fulfil a stereotype you harm both you shild and yourself.
- Equality will never be attained, not really in all forms.
- The media still play a devious part in society discrimination.