Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'The Feminine Mystique' at 50: Have You Read It?

The New York Times' Gail Collins has a great piece out today which puts Betty Friedan's landmark 1963 book The Feminine Mystique into not only the context of the era, but in ours as well.

"When The Feminine Mystique emerged in 1963, it created a reaction so intense that Friedan could later write another book about the things women said to her about the first one (It Changed My Life)," Collins wrote. "If there's a list of the most important books of the 20th century, The Feminine Mystique is on it. It also made one conservative magazine's exclusive roundup of the '10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries,' which if not flattering is at least a testimony to the wallop it packed ... [I]f you want to understand what has happened to American women over the last half-century, their extraordinary journey from Doris Day to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and beyond, you have to start with this book."

In fact, Collins has her own analysis of the famous book that's due out next month.

I'm embarrassed to say that, while I've read excerpts of the book and have read a great deal about its impact, I've never read the book itself. I think, in honor of this momentous anniversary, it's time I remedy that.

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