voices in the family

Revisiting The Feminine Mystique



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February 7, 2011 — In 1963, women and men read a book that transformed their lives. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique told women it was not their fault they felt trapped and restlessly unhappy as stay at home housewives and mothers.  Jennifer Lynn fills in for Dan Gottlieb to talk with author and historian Stephanie Coontz about the build up to The Feminine Mystique and how both genders have been affected over this last half century. In her new book,  A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, Coontz draws on extensive research and interviews to examine women’s changing status. She also sheds light on new mystiques women and men face today. Coontz is the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. She teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Washington. We also hear from Marissa Golden, associate professor of political science at Bryn Mawr College, where she teaches a course called “Women, Work, and Family.”

ONLINE POLL: What do you say to a woman who feels she has never experienced discrimination for being female? Have you experienced it, in the distant or recent past? What was it like? Is there anything that you must do or cannot do because you are female? View responses »

Photo by Flickr user Matt Carmen

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