I am completely aware that I am way behind the times when it comes to reading this book. I only recently began to identify as a feminist as part of egalitarian beliefs and so I never thought it crucial to my world. Now, though, having started this blog, it is crucial.
Each chapter covers a different aspect of where the mystique came from, why it happened and the effect that it had on women. There were so many things that effected this: Freud, post-war complacency, advertising the American dream home and family, and more. I thought it was very interesting to read about all these things and their effects on women and the way that women are viewed. At the same time, I was constantly reminded of women that I know who seem to still be trapped by the mystique and all the perfection it promises but doesn’t seem to deliver. Make no mistake, it’s about more than just whether or not you are happy to be a housewife. Housewives are great, but even they still require the ability to explore their own interests apart from the family, which seems to be the crux. Sometimes those interests are in line with the mystique, sometimes they aren’t. Pinterest (which I love too) has had a way of making women interested in going back and doing some of those “Occupation:Housewife” things with excitement these days. I wonder what would have happened if they had Google, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook back then? Probably the same thing, but maybe there would be some differences.
This book wasn’t like anything that I expected. It was researched and statistical, which I appreciated. It also covered all facets of life and included stories of the exceptions to the rules. I think that the most startling discovery was to read how people of that time thought of Suffragists. They are practically revered now, as they should be, and they were considered dirty feminists back then! It makes me wonder what people will think about each of the successive feminist waves that have followed this wonderful book.