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Feminine Mystique

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Feminine Mystique
Supplemental Reading for US History 2
"From Rosie to Lucy"

Questions students must answer in a 500-word (minimum) essay:

1) Describe the post-WWII frustrations felt by women such as Betty Friedan.

2) During the era of “Rosie the Riveter”, what gains did women make in the workforce? How did these women feel about themselves and their contributions? What did society as a whole think?

3) What role did mass media play during the 1950s and 1960s in regard to supporting or undermining the “feminine mystique”?

4) Which television heroine -- Alice, Lucy, or Miss Brooks -- came the closest to TRULY overcoming the feminine mystique, and elaborate on that heroine’s situation and relationship to the men in her life.
It was 1957. Betty Friedan was not just complaining; she was angry for herself and uncounted other women like her. For some time, she had sensed that discontent she felt as a suburban housewife and mother was not peculiar to her alone. Now she was certain, as she read the results of a questionnaire she had circulated to about 200 postwar graduates of Smith College. The women who answered were not frustrated simply because their educations had not properly prepared them for the lives they were leading. Rather, these women resented the wide disparity between the idealized image society held of them as housewives and mothers and the realities of their daily routines.
True, most were materially well off. The majority had families, a house in the suburbs, and the amenities of an affluent society. But amid that good fortune they felt fragmented, almost as if they had no identity of their own. And it was not only college graduates. "I 've tried everything women are supposed to do," one woman confessed to Friedan. "Hobbies, gardening, pickling, canning, being very social with my neighbors, joining committees, running PTA teas. I can do it all, and I like it, but it doesn 't leave you anything to think about — any feeling of who you are. ... I love the

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