The Feminine Mystique

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The media is a powerful tool. One commercial or television show can influence the lives of millions of people by manipulating their beliefs. People want to believe the media, and for that reason, it can easily control the expectations of a community. In the 1950’s many men returned from war which meant women were no longer needed to fill men’s jobs. The media began to depict women as housewives and unemployed moms. Society began to follow the sexist “templates” displayed on TV, newspapers, and ads. A few women however, one being Betty Friedan, did not back down. Betty was angry at the media, and expressed her anger and confusion in her book, The Feminine Mystique. Thankfully, women rose to the occasion, followed in Betty’s footsteps and fought for equality. Because of this fight, women in the 21st century have the same opportunities as men. The media however, remains partly tainted by the ideologies of the 1950’s. Although media today does not directly affect gender roles as it did the in 1950’s, the media of the 50’s and today share a few unfortunate similarities. In the 1950’s media had a big impact on the gender role. As stated in “From Rosie to Lucy”, in the 1950’s “crime shows, westerners, and quiz programs – tended to ignore women or place them in secondary roles.”(Davidson 355) Because of the way women were depicted, many did not bother to stray from the norm, or speak out. They thought that because TV showed them as weak housewives, they had to be weak housewives. And many were afraid of what would happen if they tried to challenge men. I Love Lucy is an example of how sitcoms “were the most promising programs for exploring gender issues in the 1950’s.” (Davidson 355)The show was about two couples: the men worked, and the women stayed home, cleaned, and got themselves into all sorts of trouble which the men fixed. Although Lucy is always trying to push past her oppressive society, she cannot, which shows women that no matter how hard they try,...
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