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During the 1950s, many women left the workforce due to pressure bobbing up from social and cultural influences. During this period, a woman’s place was nevertheless believed to be in the homestead, with women expected to continue to be home and take care of domestic obligations and responsibilities. It was perceived that their male counterparts were most desirable to women and thus they have been left to handle the ‘important work’ while ladies stayed at home. This trend had its adverse results on the women; especially on their economic role in the society. Women had to rely on their husbands to meet their basic needs. The excessive dependency portrayed women as weak human beings that could not make it on their own. The source portrays the period as one in which women empowerment was an all time low. Men were regarded as more significant in the society while women took the back seat.
During the reading
The book ‘Feminine Mystique’ was written by Betty Friedan, and she aimed at addressing the fact that women had been subjected to taking part in minor roles in the society while men handled the bulk of work vital in nation building. Most of her peers were living as housewives, and she noticed that their contribution to nation building was very minimal. She is credited for generating a wave of feminism whereby women were challenged to actively participate in activities that could uplift their place in society. Betty’s main argument is that gender should not be an excuse for women to take a backseat role in society. She believed that as long as they were educated and had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, they had a great role to play in the society.
Betty’s work is of great relevance in the society. It challenges women to actively participate in building the society. Again they are advised to take their position and assist their husbands in providing for their families. Historically this work was not very reliable in 1950s as most women believed that their work was mostly to be at home and take care of the children and also perform the daily chores. According to the literature Betty challenged the way most individual views the structure and the foundation of the families.
The work was not well received by most women in America during 1950’s since it generalized all the women in the society. For example it did not recognize those women that work hard and the single mothers who really struggled to provide for their families. Hence, women who valued their role as housewives and mothers viewed Friedan’s work as a threat to their stability, disrespectful of their intelligence and devalued chores at home.
The major theme evident in this work is the role of women in the society whereby they are confined to social biological role as housewives and mothers in the society. Again chapter eight shows the dismissal, discrimination and the hostility that the women underwent during the World War II. Friedan’s work marks an important trend that has changed the way modern women views their roles. Majority have changed from being housewives to taking their places in developing the society. In a nutshell, it is observable that Friedan’s “Feminine mystique” was indeed not well received in the early 1950s as most women still valued their roles as housewives and mothers. Currently, members of the female gender fully engage themselves economic and social development as their male counterparts hence bringing the book to its immediate context.
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