Betty Friedan Criticism Of The Feminine Mystique

2003 Words 9 Pages
The Feminine Mystique was a call for women confined in the housewife trap to forge a revolution. Betty Friedan argues that society had stunted the growth of women, preventing her development through prejudice in education, science, and media outlets. Freidan reasons that the haze that had descended over the middle-classed suburbanites of the 1950’s has stripped women bare of identity with a false promise of fulfilment. Freidan contends for the equality of women, but since her argument is derived from the notion of “occupation: housewife” her primary audience is a target of mainly white, particularly middle-classed, and specifically women.
Freidan argues that the feminine mystique given power by Freudian thought, authority by social science,
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Freudianism confined women by biology and the Functionalist confined women “by giving absolute meaning and a sanctimonious value” to a woman’s role. This Friedan reasons gave the mystique the power and authority of the experts of science. The mystique then spread as magazines and newspapers absorbed the new idea of women as she was perceived by the experts. Educators, parents, and counselors then operated under the molds of these advertisements that consumed their everyday lives. Friedan attacks the logic of the trance. Discrediting Freud quoting psychoanalyst Clara Thompson “Freud never became free from the Victorian attitude toward women. He accepted as an inevitable part of the fate of being woman the limitation of outlook and life of the Victorian era” , but as Friedan explains the women of Freud’s time were culturized to be submissive, passive, and made to suppress any desires; sexual desires as well as intellectual desires. “What Freud believed to be biological was often a cultural reaction” just as the mystique was, a cultural reaction brought upon by functionalism. Functionalism she claims was “an easy out for American sociologist” . She supports this by examining the hypocrisy of Margret Mead , and by displaying that the theories of the functionalist were constructed from the old prejudice of Freudian thought. Together, …show more content…
It could be argued that women did not forget or simply lose care for women’s right, as suggested in the chapter The Passionate Journey , but rather the generation of the first feminist lost the opportunity to breed a new generation of thought to the Great Depression. Another example Friedan dismissing the identity crisis of the nation, was her under valuing the 1930’s in her criticism of the impacts American business contributed to the feminine mystique. She attacks American business for their sexist advertisements and exploitation of women’s identity crisis, but fails to connect that the reason American business fueled on and from the consumer society of the 1950’s was because of fear; fear of the poverty of the 1930’s. She even suggests that the mystique “may not even be felt by women preoccupied with desperate problems of hunger, poverty, or illness” when it was these desperate problems that shaped American’s

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