A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women by Stephanie Coontz

By Stephanie Coontz

In 1963, Betty Friedan unleashed a hurricane of controversy along with her bestselling ebook, The female Mystique. hundreds and hundreds of girls wrote to her to assert that the ebook had reworked, even kept, their lives. approximately part a century later, many girls nonetheless keep in mind the place they have been once they first learn it.

In A unusual Stirring, historian Stephanie Coontz examines the sunrise of the Nineteen Sixties, while the sexual revolution had slightly began, newspapers marketed for "perky, appealing gal typists," yet married ladies have been instructed to stick domestic, and husbands managed virtually each point of kin existence.

Based on exhaustive learn and interviews, and demanding either conservative and liberal myths approximately Friedan, A unusual Stirring brilliantly illuminates how a iteration of girls got here to achieve that their dissatisfaction with household existence didn't mirror their own weak point yet particularly a social and political injustice.

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Additional info for A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

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Part of the strange newness of the problem,” Friedan wrote, “is that it cannot be understood in terms of the age-old problems of . . poverty, sickness, hunger, cold. . It is not caused by lack of material advantages; it may not even be felt by women preoccupied with desperate problems of hunger, poverty or illness. And women who think it will be solved by more money, a bigger house, a second car . . ” Friedan heaped scorn on the idea that women could solve the problem, as many psychiatrists suggested, by achieving a more satisfying sexual life.

Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. ” —Page 1, The Feminine Mystique THE OPENING PARAGRAPH OF FRIEDAN’S BOOK IS ONE OF THE TWO OR THREE passages that women who read the book in the first years after its publication still remember most vividly. , who read it as a thirty-two-yearold housewife in Kansas. She told me she had often wondered whether she should see a psychiatrist because of her tendency to cry “for no reason” in the middle of the afternoon. “But I couldn’t afford it, and I was too much the daughter of my working-class folks to imagine doing something as self-indulgent as paying someone good money to talk about myself.

But at the end of each episode Lucy always recognized that her efforts to escape being “just a housewife” had once more backfired and that her exasperated but loving husband had been right again. In 1962, the Saturday Evening Post was still assuring readers that few housewives even daydreamed about any life other than that of a full-time homemaker, and that their occasional “blue” moods could easily be assuaged by a few words of praise for their cooking or their new hairdo. Yet for those who cared to look, Friedan pointed out, signs of trouble had been clear for some time.

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