Dirt's Feminst and Radical Feminist Reading List

Betty Friedan was an American feminist writer who most notably was responsible for the must read Feminine Mystique(1963)

The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled 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?"

It is no longer possible today to blame the problem on loss of femininity: to say that education and independence and equality with men have made American women unfeminine. I have heard so many women try to deny this dissatisfied voice within themselves because it does not fit the pretty picture of femininity the experts have given them. I think, in fact, that this is the first clue to the mystery; the problem cannot be understood in the generally accepted terms by which scientists have studied women, doctors have treated them, counselors have advised them, and writers have written about them. Women who suffer this problem, in whom this voice is stirring, have lived their whole lives in the pursuit of feminine fulfillment. 

I think the experts in a great many fields have been holding pieces of that truth under their microscopes for a long time without realizing it. I found pieces of it in certain new research and theoretical developments in psychological, social and biological science whose implications for women seem never to have been examined. I found many clues by talking to suburban doctors, gynecologists, obstetricians, child-guidance clinicians, pediatricians, high-school guidance counselors, college professors, marriage counselors, psychiatrists and ministers-questioning them not on their theories, but on their actual experience in treating American women. I became aware of a growing body of evidence, much of which has not been reported publicly because it does not fit current modes of thought about women--evidence which throws into question the standards of feminine normality, feminine adjustment, feminine fulfillment, and feminine maturity by which most women are still trying to live.


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  1. It is funny about what is a woman's work. When I talk to my grandparents who grew up in the depression. Their fathers worked outside of the home but their mothers ran the home farm. This ment slaughtering animals, plowing, along with the household chores and the cooking. My grandfather father would be away for long periods of time (he worked for the Railroad) So this means that my greatgrandmother did everything!

    When you see the picutre of feminity (think 50's) it is so fake! People had goods at the store, we lost touch with our food, common people stopped having to grow food and kill their meat.

    I guess what I am saying is that the idea of feminity is a product of technology. I really don't think growing veggie (sweating in the sun while weeding and planting) and killing livestock (it is a bloody, bloody job) is very "feminine." But going to the store, vacuuming and cooking in a dress and pearls is feminine. I say Damn You June Cleaver!

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