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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:15 PM

50 years after "the feminine mystique"--are you better off than your grandmother?

Let’s Talk About The Feminine Mystique, 50 Years After Its Debut: Are You Really Better Off Than Your Grandmother?


Believe it or not, it’s been 50 years since Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique hit shelves. The book is credited with bringing second-wave feminism to the national spotlight, sparking women to rethink traditional gender roles. So how have women’s lives changed since then? Let’s take a look.

. . . . .

A few things that still haven’t changed…or have even gotten worse:

1
Women work more—but boy, is it hard sometimes. The United States lags embarrassingly far behind the rest of the world when it comes to guaranteeing paid maternity leave (i.e., we don’t have any, while women in other nations around the world, from Pakistan to Mexico to Canada, are guaranteed between 12 weeks and a year). We need paid leave for new mothers and fathers as well as quality subsidized child care so that when the 50 percent of families with two earners and the 26 percent of single parents need to get back to work, there are options available. Most important, we need to begin thinking of work-life balance not as a woman’s problem but as a human problem. Without that, we’ll never have as many women as men in politics, in boardrooms, in research labs, or in other important fields.

2
We’ve turned mothering into a competitive sport. Women are expected to research every aspect of parenting—strollers, naps, nutrition, sleep habits—from the moment they get pregnant. Researchers have found that today’s mothers—even the ones who work full time outside the home—now actually clock more hours with their kids than back in the days when Friedan wrote about the stranglehold of child care. Time for yourself? Forget it.

3
Our access to reproductive care is under siege. In states all over the country, lawmakers are trying to define life as beginning at conception—which would make many forms of birth control illegal—and to basically make abortion, which has been legal in all 50 states since 1973, unavailable. Our ability to control when and with whom we have a family is at the root of our ability to work, to earn money, to love, and to play on equal footing as men. When our reproductive freedom is compromised, so is our equality as citizens.

4
The wage gap persists. Today women earn 77 percent of what men do—up from 59 percent in 1963, it must be said—and the numbers are far worse for women of color. That wage gap and other factors—like the time women still spend doing unpaid caregiving and the interruption of earning for pregnancy—mean that American women of every race are more likely than men to live in poverty.

http://www.glamour.com/inspired/2013/02/the-feminine-mystique-50-years-after-its-debut

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Reply 50 years after "the feminine mystique"--are you better off than your grandmother? (Original post)
niyad Feb 2013 OP
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #1
niyad Feb 2013 #4
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #5
niyad Feb 2013 #6
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #8
oldandhappy Feb 2013 #2
niyad Feb 2013 #3
oldandhappy Feb 2013 #10
marybourg Feb 2013 #7
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #9

Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:19 PM

1. My partner's mother...

 

who was a *bra-burning-feminist (really! I have a photo) back in the 70's told her, "You have to burn the candle at both ends to compete with men."

My partner said to her, "Smart women burn their candle only at one end."

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Response to Helen Reddy (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:38 PM

4. your partner's mother probably remembers this one, as well--"women must be twice as smart

as men to be considered half as competent. fortunately, this is not difficult"

and 3. .2. .1

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Response to niyad (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:44 PM

5. Oh I'm certain of that!

 

Actually, digging deep in my memory hole, your quote is probably what was said.

eeecks

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Response to Helen Reddy (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:47 PM

6. oh, there were lots of them around. I can just imagine the screaming if I post some of them.

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Response to niyad (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:54 PM

8. Hah! You are probably right on the mark! n/t

 

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:28 PM

2. way better off

I was really fortunate to ride the crest. Yep, I worked. And I got something for it. My grandma scrubbed coal dust off her porch each spring. I am grateful for my life.

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Response to oldandhappy (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:36 PM

3. welcome to DU-- like your screen name and your comment

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Response to niyad (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:45 PM

10. Thanks!!

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:53 PM

7. Much better off. Both my grandmothers had no options except

to marry up. But . . . I'm the age of the grandmothers of many here. I lived in a "golden" time right after WWII: good schools, low crime, free higher education, the 60's!!, legal abortion, Elvis Presley, feminism, opportunity to become a professional, no work stress, health insurance, pension, social security and a veteran's cemetery at the end.

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Response to marybourg (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:55 PM

9. Good for you!

 

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