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Friedan Feminine Mystique Revised Hardcover – 1 Apr 1974

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; 10th edition (1 April 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393086852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393086850
  • Package Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,015,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

The book that pulled the trigger on history. --Alvin Toffler, author of "Future Shock" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Credited with creating the second wave of feminism, Betty Friedan was an activist and writer. She co-founded in the National Organization for Women in 1970. She died in 2006. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent and interesting read
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read `The Feminine Mystique' back in the 1970s when it was very popular and on re-reading it found it just as relevant now. The book explores the desire of many women in America in the 1950s and 1960s to become housewives and mothers rather than pursuing careers of their own. One of the main reasons for this trend could well have been a general reaction to the end of World War II. Women who had worked to help the war effort were now returning home and the men who had been fighting wanted nothing more than to relax in the comfort of domesticity and a settled home life.

The book seeks to examine the effects the trend had on the mental and physical health of women confined to the home and living vicarious lives through their husbands and children. Many became pale shadows of their former selves and resorted to drink or affairs with anyone and everyone. Research carried out at the time showed that women had fewer mental health problems if they had some outlet or interest of their own which took them away from their domestic environment. Some were in such a poor state mentally that they ended up being treated for depression as well as many minor ailments which may or may not have been psychosomatic. Obstetricians noticed that women who had their own careers and interests outside the home had far fewer physical and mental problems with childbirth than did women who were housewives and mothers with no other interest.

The author suggests that it is extremely bad mentally and physically to live the whole of your life through and for others and cites compelling research to back up her thesis. These women in many cases ended up resenting their families for curtailing their prospects.
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2 Comments 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting read but compared to other feminist literature it involves quite a small group of people. Namely housewives living in the USA during the 1950's and 60's. The underlying problem is repeated throughout the book and surrounds the fact that, these ladies, despite often being quite bright and having the benefit of a good education decided to give everything up at an early age to marry and have children. Betty Friedan looks at the reasoning behind it and the regrets these women so often have regarding wasting their lives. There is really no one to blame for this state of affairs other than the women themselves. Most of us women undergo the dream of a family and happy home life before realising that it is quite boring and we miss out on many more very exciting things in the world. Sad, but we are all pulled by our instincts and Betty Friedan doesnt really grasp this fact which is brilliantly related in Simone De Beauvoirs book 'The 2nd Sex'. Additionally other books will explain more fully how our genes are programmed for survival and reproduction of the species which is why people sabotage their plans for the strong urge to have a baby. None of this is mentioned and Betty almost believes there is a conspiracy going on rather than women have the money and homes in which to indulge their primeval longings albeit disasterously in the long run. This is an interesting book but not that broad and the message is repeated throughout it without really adding anything of further interest to the reader. Certainly an example of one of the steps of the Womens Liberation Movement and of interest to the feminist reader for that reason.
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By A Customer on 16 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this for a class I did at uni on the American women's movement and it is utterly amazing. What is so astonishing - and if you're buying this for uni my lecturer gave me an A for this point - this is the first book that really trated men and women as equal. Friedan is the first person who ever really questioned the idea that women and men are so different and that their lives should be dictated by those differences. Friedan sees women and men as being equal in opportunity, and this is what makes this book so groundbreaking. She doesn't tell women to go out and live like men, or to give up 'womanly' things like children or marriage, but instead she is saying there is no 'natural' reason for that. Women and men can do exactly as each other can and create their own lives - unlike the prevailing thought that we still see today, that your gender defines what your life will be. This is so incredible to read I think anyone who geets the chance should.
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes you have to read a classic to fully understand why it had such an impact. This is one fantastic book, and I can appreciate why it moved millions to look at the relationship between the sexes more closely.
It is a testament to its many 'truths' that it still commands respect and attention 40 years on, and the many descriptions of how the 1950s/1960s left women feeling isolated and powerless, plus the many changes that show they have a path out of domesticity, are the things that I still value most about this text.
However, time has shown up some of the books faults. For me, the most glaring - and the one that reveals how a political view can incline a writer to fit data to a hypothesis, rather than the other way around, is the poor discussion of spending power and adverstising.
Friedan reports that 75% of money earned is spent by women, and tries to turn this on its head to claim that they are still 'victims' because advertisers pay so much attention to manipulating them. This is a bit like saying that if men had 3 votes to women's 1, that men would be 'victims' because politicians were more interesting in winning men's votes. Women have spending power in our society and this gives them not only a lot of economic power but collective control over much of the media (who must not offend women to retain adverstising revenues).
A brilliant book, but not faultless. For a similarly sympathetic book from men's perspective try to get your hands on a copy of "Why Men Are The Way They Are", by Warren Farrell.
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