During the 1950s
Many female left the workforce due to pressure arising from social and cultural influences. During this period, a woman’s vicinity was still believed to be in the homestead, with women anticipated to stay home and take care of domestic obligations and responsibilities. It was perceived that their male counterparts were superior to ladies and thus they were left to handle the ‘important work’ whilst women stayed at home. This trend had its adverse results on the women; especially on their economic position in the society. Women had to count number on their husbands to meet their basic needs. The high 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. It is also portrayed as a period of backwardness and gender inequality.
The source seems to have been created for the women in society who had accepted to be relegated to inferior roles in society. It was meant to awaken them to take the rightful place in society. The audience is historically significant as women can learn about the struggles that the pioneers of the feminist movement faced in their quest to promote gender equality in the society.
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 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 view 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.