Some lines out of The Feminine Mystique that I want to share

Some of my favorite quotes from The Feminine Mystique:

  • “They learned that truly feminine women do not want careers, higher education, political rights – the independence and the opportunities that the old-fashioned feminists fought for.” I always thought they were the old fashioned feminists. This was a revelation. Pg 19.
  • “Strangely, many mothers who loved their daughters – and mine was one- did not want their daughters to grow up like them either. They knew we needed something more.” How many mothers still say that? Pg 72.
  • “My mother’s like a rock that’s been smoothed by the waves, like a void.” This was quoted within the book from a seventeen year old girl who Betty Freidan had interviewed. Pg 73.
  • “For the first time in their history, women are becoming aware of an identity crisis in their own lives, a crisis which began many generations ago, has grown worse with each succeeding generation, and will not end until they, or their daughters, turn an unknown corner and make of themselves and their lives the new image that so many women now so desperately need.” Pg 79.
  • “It has been popular in recent years to laugh at feminism as one of history’s dirty jokes: to pity, sniggering, those old-fashioned feminists who fought for women’s rights to higher education, careers, the vote.” I had thought the Suffragists had always been revered the way they are today. I should have known better, but I didn’t. Pg 80.
  • “They had come unknowing to the turning-point in woman’s identity.” This was talking about the granddaughters of the Suffragists who had been raised with the rights they had earned. I just kept thinking about how people see today that we are post-feminism. We appear to be at yet another turning point. Pg 100.
  • “If reproduction were the chief and only fact of human life, would all men suffer from uterus envy?”” Pg 138.
  • “Properly manipulated (“if you are not afraid of that word,” he said), American housewives can be given the sense of identity, purpose, creativity, the self-realization, even the sexual joy they lack- by the buying of things.” And we think we have problems with the media today. This is also a quote from another person used within the book. Pg 201
  • “But can the sense of self in woman, which once rested on necessary work and achievement in the home, be re-created by housework that is no longer really necessary or really uses much ability – in a country and at a time when women can be free, finally, to move on to something more.” My only complaint is that “more” implies that even modern housewives who more authentically choose that work are not doing as much as they can or want to. There are women out there who’s interest are in line with housework type creativity, and would therefore not need “more”. I think maybe “something else” is appropriate for today’s world. This is still a conversation that women argue and mud-sling over 50 years later, which is the part that I found crazy about it. Pg 244.
  • “To be the tool, the sex instrument, the “man around the house,” is evidently no dream-come-true for a man.” We still see modern men talk about this era and idea as if it ideal and it made me laugh to see that even many men who had it were not happy with it. Pg 260.

There were many great points, but I felt compelled to share these specific lines of revelation for me. They don’t strike home for me the way that it is described for women of Freidan’s era, but they also leave me with the sick feeling that we haven’t gone as far as we thought we did.


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