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

By Stephanie Coontz

In 1963, Betty Friedan unleashed a hurricane of controversy together with her bestselling e-book, The female Mystique. hundreds and hundreds of ladies wrote to her to assert that the ebook had reworked, even kept, their lives. approximately part a century later, many ladies nonetheless bear 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, whilst the sexual revolution had slightly started, newspapers marketed for "perky, beautiful gal typists," yet married girls have been instructed to stick domestic, and husbands managed virtually each element of relatives lifestyles.

Based on exhaustive study and interviews, and tough 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 replicate their own weak point yet quite 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

Sample text

Not until 1984 did the Supreme Court rule that law firms could not discriminate on the basis of sex in deciding which lawyers in the firm to promote to partner. , was still entirely male. Female reporters who went there to hear a talk by black union leader A. Philip Randolph just before the August 1963 rally where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech had to sit in a small balcony away from the rest of the audience, where they were not able to ask questions. And at that historic rally for equality, not one woman was among the ten speakers, although “Mrs.

Not until 1975 did the first state— South Dakota—make spousal rape a crime. North Carolina did not do so until 1993. Many states also did not take domestic violence seriously, often requiring police officers to see a man assault his wife before they could make an arrest. In some places, the police used the “stitch rule,” arresting an abusing husband only if the wife’s injuries required more than a certain number of sutures. M. or on Sunday, implying that the rest of the time she was fair game. A 1964 article in the Archives of General Psychiatry, published by the American Medical Association, reported on a study of thirty-seven women whose husbands had physically abused them.

Many women offered themselves as case studies of how the feminine mystique had deformed women’s psyches. “I am a classic example of arrested development,” wrote one woman, referring to Friedan’s description of how women had been infantalized by society’s expectations. “I would have been the class of 1953 had I not dropped out of college after two years. . But my internal demand for self-expression . . ” Another woman, married eight years with two children, wrote that she had been “fighting a battle with the ‘feminine mystique’ for four years,” with a husband who “is very good as a husband but who believes women are inferior by the will of God, so it hasn’t been an easy struggle.

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