The Feminine Mystique

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Overview

A 50th-anniversary edition of the trailblazing book that changed women’s lives, with a new introduction by Gail Collins.
Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the ...

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Overview

A 50th-anniversary edition of the trailblazing book that changed women’s lives, with a new introduction by Gail Collins.
Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique is filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. This 50th–anniversary edition features an afterword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen as well as a new introduction by Gail Collins.

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Editorial Reviews

Arianna Huffington - O Magazine
“The Feminine Mystique forever changed the conversation as well as the way women view themselves. If you’ve never read it, read it now and reflect on what our mothers and grandmothers were feeling at the time. It’s a great moment to celebrate this milestone work, which fundamentally altered the course of women’s lives.”
Nanette Fondas - The Atlantic
“Re-reading The Feminine Mystique, it exudes love for the human being, human spirit, and human potential. She wants mothers—indeed, all people—to "lean in" to life's work and not fear inevitable difficulties that arise when trying to "have it all" and juggle work and family. Overcome obstacles. Solve problems. Serve leftovers, she urges. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique 50 years ago, but today her wisdom still merits sharing.”
Andi Zeisler - Salon
“The Tupac Shakur of literary feminism, reincarnated at least once every decade with new insights that engender old beefs while at the same time serving as a reminder of why it’s a classic.”
Library Journal
Friedan was a college graduate and reporter who lost her job when pregnant with the second of her three children. She found the role of homemaker unfulfilling and wondered if other women in her graduating class felt the same way, so she surveyed them in preparation for a college reunion. The responses were the basis of this title, which hit bookstore/library shelves like a bomb in February 1963. This 50th-anniversary edition sports a new intro by New York Times columnist Gail Collins and an afterword by novelist Anna Quindlen.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The 50th-anniversary edition of a modern classic, featuring an introduction by Gail Collins and an afterword by Anna Quindlen. A great deal has changed since Friedan's monumental book was published, but readers should not be discouraged from revisiting it. In 1929, Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own helped define the goals women had been seeking for 100 years, and Friedan picked up the ball and drove it forward, giving women the right and the will to "be." The days of functional education are gone--no more college courses on marriage--and the image of the "little woman" is also a thing of the past; women are no longer just living vicariously through husbands and children. What still lingers is the exaltation of housework, the need for a "woman's touch" and the advertising industry's continued attempts at glorifying the role of women in family and society. Having a man cooking, putting away the groceries or holding the baby doesn't change the old image of Mom running the house and Dad earning the living. The author notes that in the 1930s and '40s, women were more likely to apply their college educations in meaningful careers, even though many still ran the house. The onset of World War II changed all that. Suddenly, it was society that defined what a woman was, ignoring the constant quest for "something more." Also included in this edition of the groundbreaking book is the introduction to the 10th-anniversary edition and Friedan's 1997 piece, "Metamorphosis: Two Generations Later." A vastly significant book that has made a world of difference, much of it slowly acquired.
Alvin Toffler
The book that pulled the trigger on history.
Marilyn French
[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values. —Esquire
Amitai Etzioni
One of those rare books we are endowed with only once in several decades.
Anna Quindlen
“[The Feminine Mystique] now feels both revolutionary and utterly contemporary. . . . Four decades later, millions of individual transformations later, there is still so much to learn from this book. . . . Those who think of it as solely a feminist manifesto ought to revisit its pages to get a sense of the magnitude of the research and reporting Friedan undertook.”
Marilyn French - Esquire
“[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.”
Esquire
[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.— Marilyn French
Alvin Toffler
“The book that pulled the trigger on history.”
Amitai Etzioni
“One of those rare books we are endowed with only once in several decades.”
Esquire - Marilyn French
“[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393063790
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/11/2013
  • Edition description: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 50
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 204,481
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Friedan (1921–2006), a transformational leader of the women’s movement, founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) and authored many works, including The Second Stage, The Fountain of Age, and Life So Far.

Gail Collins, the best-selling author of When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960
to the Present, is a national columnist for the New York Times. She lives in New
York City.

Anna Quindlen is an award-winning columnist and novelist. She left journalism in 1995 to write fiction full time and has published three bestsellers. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Metamorphosis: Two Generations Later
Twenty Years After
Introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Adition 3
Preface and Acknowledgments 9
1 The Problem That Has No Name 15
2 The Happy Housewife Heroine 33
3 The Crisis in Woman's Identity 69
4 The Passionate Journey 80
5 The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud 103
6 The Functional Freeze, the Feminine Protest, and Margaret Mead 126
7 The Sex-Directed Educators 150
8 The Mistaken Choice 182
9 The Sexual Sell 206
10 Housewifery Expands to Fill the Time Available 233
11 The Sex-Seekers 258
12 Progressive Dehumanization: The Comfortable Concentration Camp 282
13 The Forfeited Self 310
14 A New Life Plan for Women 338
Epilogue 379
Thoughts on Becoming a Grandmother 397
Notes 419
Index 445
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    The cornerstone of feminist lit. A must read, but beware. Mystique is written from a specific perspective and one should not get all their 'feminist' ideas from this one book. Women of color in particular have had complaint since they are not given a voice and the life described by Friedan is not their own. Do give it a read though!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read

    Anyone and everyone who considers themselves interested in the subject of femininity and women's place in society should read this book. Every young woman should read this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    As a male, I recommend this book...

    I highly recommend 'The Feminine Mystique' by Betty Friedan. She presents a remarkable, historically-based, argument for women to rise above the chains of the kitchen and their childrens' diapers. In the end, she presents a plan for women to progress in the world as it appeared in 1962, when originally published. The great thing about her plan is that it is still relevant today - the major point being that education should be the focal point for any person that wishes to rise above their place in life. I am recommending this book for men and women alike - particularly married couples.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    Review

    When I first saw this book it got my attention. I have always been interested in how women think. When I saw this book I thought that it was going to be about how women think and what they want in life. When I started reading the book I noticed that it was about a whole different thing, not what i expected. But it is still a good book to read, I recommend it to the married couples. In this book the author talks about different ideas of women. It compares women from the past, women that fought and went through all the struggles to be recognized as a human being. Because back then, this book says, women weren't equal to men, and weren't considered human being, becuase all they did was take care of the family and fulfill man's pleasure. Compared to the women of the time when this book was written, it says that maybe all the things that women fought for were in vain because women are going back on just being a housewife. It also talks about the problems that women had. Even though they had everything they needed something else. How magazines shape women and theories about women such as Sigmund Freud.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2005

    powerful

    a must read. This was quite a controversial book of its time (1964). I was captivated by the first couple of chapters. I underlined powerful one-liners and wanted to reread it again to analyse its technique of persuasion. I'll be honest; I wasn't as excited about the middle chapters actually skipping a few. You see, each chapter explores how the 1st couple of chapters relate to another idea so it started crossing me as repeatious (though overall this only lends to its plausibility), but *do read the 1st and last few chapters* at the very, very least

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    AWESOME

    It was such a good book, and everything that she had to see was backed up with evidence. Her research was amazing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2000

    Extreamly woundeful book

    This book was so completly outstanding. I couldn't put it down. It explained how feminisim developed and what type of forms it is disguised in. This book should be in every women's home. Everybody including men should read it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Timeless and insightful

    Though the problems and statistics have changed much of it resonates with my own experiences. Women should be required to read this book, especially after they've gotten married or had children. So many questions I could not find the words for have now been answered. And a reminder to carry forward doing what makes us happiest.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read for everyone! Young, old, male, female.

    Changed my view of myself and why and how I became such a person. Gave me the courage and grace to see my family, myself and my children and how we were forced to believe live a life of lies. They say the truth will set you free, well next to the bible this book of a history never taught will. It is a challenge to find yourself in this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Insane

    Aside from the few historical chapters regarding the rights and legal changes that were hard fought, the Feminine Mystique is nothing more than the rantings of a raving lunatic who had a giant chip on her shoulder about her lot in life and blamed everyone under sun for it. But at least I now get the tongue in cheek humor of Fear of Flying.

    2 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Feminine Mystique

    i only have a few minutes so im not going to do this like an english paper or whatever so forgive me. but this book was good...it wasn't new to me because i already know a lot on the feminist movement so i felt like i was rereading all the info i already know. but when i think about it if i was in the 1960s and it just came out.. as a woman i would've gotten off my ass and done something. because we all have our own lives to live. there is so much more to life than pleasing others. we are our own person with our own soul with our own purpose. it makes me sad for those women who are so intelligent and decide to settle and not push themselves further and live their potential life. it is really motivating and inspiring and i definitly suggest it to be a book you must read as soon as you can

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2002

    Feminism for the gay male

    Ooh it was just delightful. I learned so much about my people. I have learned how to cope with my feelings and how to deal with men. I only wish more of us would read this wonderful book.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Classic

    Read it and widen your horizons a bit. Skip the latest paperback bestseller and use your mind instead.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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