Analysis Of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique

Great Essays
As millions of people completed the annual U.S. census during the post-World War II ‘good life’, there was a common theme amongst suburban white women, “occupation: Housewife”. Following the World War II, the U.S. experienced times of economic prosperity as the middle-class was as strong as it had ever been, home ownership was at an all-time high, and more purchasing power allowed for a mass consumption society. However, there was one major underlying problem, one that was coined in Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique, as ‘the problem that has no name’. The problem of no name, one that can only be understood by the women experiencing it, was the implicit unhappiness of women adhering to the fabricated image of the happy housewife depicted …show more content…
The housewife can barely even dream about herself, only as her children’s mother and her husband’s wife (Friedan 59). As Friedan further explains, “Forbidden independence, they finally are swallowed in an image of such passive dependence that they want men to make the decisions, even in the home” (Freidan 44). Seceding to the feminine mystique, women lose individual identity and rely on the togetherness of the home. A letter to the editor from an edition of Ladies Home Journal published in 1954 titled “Bread Next to Babies”, provides a primary source of how women adhered to the feminine mystique, resulting in a loss of individual identity. In the letter she discusses her husband’s desire for her to bake bread, saying, “Arnold has told me that I should learn to bake bread: ‘Much more important to bake a good loaf for your husband than write a book.’”, and also, “Arnold came home soon afterward. Nothing I have done ever pleased him more (with the exception of the babies)!” (Jeannette Edwards Rattray). This letter to the editor further shows that women were viewed simply as that, women. Everything revolved around the husband or the children, while hardly any personal satisfaction was gained outside of pleasing one’s significant other, which was the root of the ‘problem that has no

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    In the entirety of Cheese not even a handful of women are named, most importantly being Laarmans’ wife and his deceased mother. Laarmans’ wife Fine is the typical housewife of their time. Although women had just obtained the right to vote, housewives were still expected to take care of the kids and the household, and not to interfere with their partner’s business. Laarmans feels that he is superior to Fine and expects her just to take care of him. He is quoted saying ‘Let me say that I have an excellent wife, who is, moreover, an exemplary mother.’ Laarmans marriage doesn’t seem to be on terms of love, since he even compares Fine to a mother.…

    • 1483 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She is a schoolteacher who shows no interest in finding a husband. She dedicates her free time to her church. Leticia, when questioned about finding a man, defends her freedom of singularity on a past relationship that ruined her desire to open her heart to another man. In the film, Eat Drink Man Woman, which is the film that Tortilla Soup is based upon, we learn that she had made up the story based on a relationship of her best friend. However in this film it appears that Leticia is using it as a cover story for her desire to take care of her father.…

    • 1279 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Her determination at that point was to pinpoint and precisely delineate the dilemma that was affecting married women. Through countless interviews, surveys, and research Friedan found that the majority of married women were dissatisfied with their lives, even though they were expected to feel fulfilled by their family life. “Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question-- 'Is this all?”. She even went on to say that these women were dehumanized, and no different than the Jews a concentration camp during the Holocaust.…

    • 1177 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In her article “Excuse Me While I Explode: My Mother, Myself, My Anger” E.S. Maduro writes about her frustration at her mothers position in the household and latter herself’s. She begins with her lack of understanding how her mother accepted her fathers behavior. Murado tells that her mother gave up her carrie and run the whole family chores while her father had a career and did only couple manly chores. Murado emphasizes that even later when her mather went back to school and worked her chores didn 't change.…

    • 744 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the movie Pleasantville, the reality show shows how people is really outdated how after they had kids, they use to sleep in different beds. How the old days wife just stay at home cleaning, they had not rights to speak up. Wife always had to make the food for the husband and the kids. Those ideas of the husband going to work and have a perfect life. Men always wanted a wife that clean and do not have the right to work or give her opinion or say like I’m tired and let’s eat out.…

    • 709 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    6, housewife, 48 years old woman:"Sometimes people say my husbands the same things that told me.They tell my husband why you work hardly. You do not have children. This time, when my husband comes home and says nothing ,But I can understand the behavior and angry at him upset Judgment and opinion of others Participant No. 3, marketer, 50 years old woman: “People say because her husband has children, therefore, he does not burn for you and he do not you’re properly treatment”. Insecurity and instability in life Marital life Participant No.…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Jeanette’s immediate repulsion by something her mother prepares for her is ignored by Louise, forcing her to accept the reality that her mother’s words are final and that her mother’s beliefs, God and the Bible, are the ultimate truth. As Jeanette grows up and into her sexuality, she simultaneously forms her own ideas about the meaning of the Bible and extent of Godly love.. She claims that the consumption of the sandwiches other people prepared for her as a child figuratively causes her to lose her teeth, an indispensable part of her body that enable her to both speak her mind and digest what she takes in from the outside world. As Jeanette’s mother controls what goes into Jeanette’s body, both in food form and idea form, Jeanette loses these abilities that teeth symbolize.…

    • 1178 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Kincaid states, “ [A]lways squeeze bread to make sure its fresh; but what if the baker won’s let me feel the bread? ; you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread” (Kincaid 56). In this closing line of the story, the mother is implicitly explaining the value of being socially accepted. When the author uses the words “feel” and “squeeze” to turn the act of buying bread into a metaphor for sexuality which a value that the mother tries to instill within her. The themes that come from the direct intent and oppressive attitude allow for values to…

    • 1391 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As a wife, Nora is extremely fawning. She is a “doll-wife” of Torvald. She always tries to please and satisfy her husband. She is the “squirrel”, “little lark”, “Little spendthrift”, and “Miss Sweet tooth” of Torvald. Usually, the role that a wife plays in her husband’s house is not present in Nora’s character.…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gender stereotypes have always been apart of society either through construct, and communication. We see these stereotypes in “Day Star” by Rita Dove, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, and “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy. Day Star by Rita Dove is about a mother who felt trapped in her life as a stay at home mother, who just wants to daydream in the sun. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is about a mother trying to give her young daughter advise on how not to be a “slut” and how to keep a man. “Barbie Girl” by Marge Peircy was about a smart young lady who did not look how society wanted her to look so she cut off her lgs and nose her biggest features according to society around her, and died.…

    • 839 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays