The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Housewives of America, do you feel a “sense of dissatisfaction” or incompleteness that you can’t quite explain? If so, The Feminine Mystique will help you put a name and an end to your “problem that has no name.” Critics acclaim Betty Friedan’s exploration of the identity and struggle of the American housewife in an era in which the suburban housewife—“beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home”—is maintained as an ideal. Recent studies show that the incidence of emotional breakdown and suicide among housewives in their twenties and thirties has increased by 30% in the last decade. This development indicates that there is a societal issue at play here, one that Friedan explores in depth in her book. Unlike other self-help books for married women, The Feminine Mystique actually puts a name to the problem—the “mystique of feminine fulfillment”—and offers a comprehensive analysis of causes, such as media portrayals of ideals, as well as solutions, such as pursuing education and meaningful careers, for women suffering from the same disillusionment. By reading this book, the American housewife can free herself from her struggle and become a self-actualized American woman.
“When I was young I always dreamed of becoming the perfect wife. After reading this book in high school, I realized that my dream was all wrong, and I decided I wouldn’t let anything hold me back from becoming the woman I have the potential of becoming. When I married Barack, I was already a successful and independent woman. Now I’m the First Lady of the United States!”
- Michelle Obama