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Is this all? Betty Friedan The modern bride seeks as a conscious goal that which her grandmother saw as blind fate and her mother as slavery (Political.

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Presentation on theme: "Is this all? Betty Friedan The modern bride seeks as a conscious goal that which her grandmother saw as blind fate and her mother as slavery (Political."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is this all? Betty Friedan The modern bride seeks as a conscious goal that which her grandmother saw as blind fate and her mother as slavery (Political Science 110EB)

2 Is this all? The Problem that has no name & the power dynamics of happiness – Whats wrong with me? 2

3 The goal of feminism is, for Friedan, the freedom to make the decision as to what one is going to be, which has traditionally been reserved for men. (134) The struggle is simply to become fully human. (136) – Positive freedom 3

4 Roots of the mystique A mystique does not compel its own acceptance. (268) – Brainwashing Recall Malcolm X – Must fill real needs Cultural/Social: Insecurity caused by the War Scientific: Freudian & functionalist Economic: Replacing wartime consumption 4

5 Cultural Needs I live through my husband and children. Its easier this way. In this world now, its easier to be a woman, if you take advantage of it. (273) – Uniformity – Uncritical worldview – Marriage as ready-made identity – Privatism No value in larger social engagement 5

6 The role of woman (i.e. wife, mother) is defined by the presence of a man – Young women seek my security in him instead of finding themselves, and each act of self- betrayal tips the scale further away from identity to passive self-contempt. (257) – The dynamic of systematic sexism here in many ways resembles that of institutionalized racism. 6

7 Research: Marriage today is not only the culmination of a romantic attachment; more consciously and clear-headedly than in the past, it is also a decision to create a partnership in establishing a comfortable home, equipped with a great number of desirable products. (315) – A market-oriented concept of love 7

8 Functionalism Describes a thing in terms of its function within society – Ex: Sexual segregation preserves society in its current structure On functionalist sociologists: There can be no doubt that they were describing things as they were, but in so doing, they were relieved of the responsibility of building theory from facts, of probing for deeper truths. (206) – Marcuse – Blurs line between is and ought to be – Assumes endless present, denies that future can be different from past – Identifies the woman with her role Woman is what society says she is (207) Gender essentialism 8

9 Functionalism If the eternal present is assumed, the task for sociologists, educators, and parents is to adjust the individual to social realities – Uncritical – At the present historical moment, the best adjusted girl is probably the one who is intelligent enough to do well in school, but not so brilliant as to get all As (205) Skilled in her role, but less likely to feel unfulfilled by it Defining happiness 9

10 The social role of women is as a type, not as individual humans – the mysterious miracle of femininity is realized simply by being female – Identifies the individual solely with her biology Men go to school to be educated and find careers, women go to find husbands. 10

11 I guess they cant get over the old notion that women should be educated to develop their minds. They deny it, but one cant help suspecting that they still believe in careers for women. (250) – Advances lost – Men are mental and physical, women only physical 11

12 It is functional knowledge that only the exceptional woman can make a go of a commitment to a career. (253) – Either housewife & marriage or career & celibacy – Defining normal What 51% of the population does today, 100% should do tomorrow. – To be exceptional is to be not-normal – Somehow, the student gets the point that she does not want to be the exceptional woman. Exceptional women cant land a man 12

13 We have to stop being so teacher-centered and become student-centered. Its not what you think they need, but what they think they need. Thats the functional approach. (251) – Social realities – Career training – Lack of critical dimension 13

14 Freedom of Choice Then-current goal of totalized motherhood counterproductive – Produced weak, dependent adults Women are not forced to choose the life of a housewife, but how free is their choice to do so? – Freudian theory & functionalist approach to gender make homemaker mother central figure in childs life Examples: Autism, neuroses – Thwarted in efforts at education & career – Manipulated by marketing, mass media 14

15 Demographic Research Appliance sales researchers find 3 types of female customer: True Housewife Type – Feels indispensible in the home – No desire to work outside home – Pride in work – Suspicious of being replaced by new appliances 15

16 Career Woman – Does not believe womans place primarily in home – Does not identify with housework – Have, had, or would like own work, income – Buy appliances, but not ideal customers. Too critical. 16

17 Balanced Homemaker – Some outside interests – Enjoys housework – Identities with, is fulfilled by domestic tasks – Readily accepts new appliances – Wants to use own executive ability in managing household, does not expect the impossible from appliances 17

18 Research Conclusions: – Since the Balanced Homemaker represents the market with the greatest future potential, it would be to the advantage of the appliance manufacturer to make more and more women aware of the desirability of belonging to this group. – Educate them through advertising that it is possible to have outside interests … (without becoming a Career Woman). The art of good homemaking should be the goal of every normal woman. 18

19 Shell want them. Shes a real girl. Marketing should target very young teenage girls – The young ones will want what the others want, even if their mothers dont. Older, more independent women should be made to feel guilt – The product will enable you to give your husband and children the things you should, but arent. Suggest that it becomes truly a part of you, reflecting you. (317) – Housework should be not a chore, but a joy. A chance for self-expression (by women. Men have better things to do.) 19

20 You can be the woman you yearn to be with a Plymouth all your own With increasing skill, the ads glorify [a womans] role as an American housewife knowing that her very lack of identity in that role will make her fall for whatever they are selling. (327) – Abstracted, restrictive image of femininity and pressure to achieve it – Impossibility of this results in unhappiness, desperation 20

21 These qualities create a demand in the market for products that will help to achieve the feminine ideal – Ad for Ultima: Dedicated to the woman who spends a lifetime living up to her potential! – The only totally integrated program of nutrient make-up and skin caredesigned to lift a womans good looks to their absolute peak. The woman who uses Ultima feels a deep sense of fulfillment. A new kind of pride. For this luxurious Cosmetic Collection is the ultimate... Beyond it there is nothing. (quoted on 328) 21

22 A womans sincere desires may be tools of her oppression 22

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