2 Themes Equality False consciousness Contempt & self-contempt The definition of happinessContempt & self-contemptDefining women in such a way that even women cannot help but to think of themselves as inferiorSimilar to argument found in Du Bois, Malcolm X
3 3 Waves of Feminism First wave: 1848 ~ 1915 Second wave: ~1960 ~ 1990 Equality before the law: Vote, contract, property, legal recognitionSecond wave: ~1960 ~ 1990Equality in economy, society, & politics: Jobs, pay, reproductive rights, representation, rape, image, misogyny, affirmation of womanhoodThird wave: ~1990 – presentPostmodern critiques of gender as such. Emphasis on cultural, sexual diversity, queer rights.
4 Seneca Falls Convention July 19-20, 1848 at Seneca Falls, NYBegun by women excluded from anti-slavery conventionOrganizers & speakers included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick DouglassStrong Quaker, evangelical Methodist presenceFoundational moment in movement for women’s suffrageProving the humanity of women
5 Declaration of Sentiments When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
6 Declaration of Independence When in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
7 Declaration of Sentiments We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
8 Declaration of Independence We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…
9 GrievancesHe has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voiceHaving deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
10 GrievancesHe has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master - the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
11 GrievancesHe has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
12 The view of the 1st waveWomen have “a higher and holier mission” in the home. (145)And outside of politics & economy“man-hating, embittered, sex-starved spinsters… castrating, unsexed non-women who burned with such envy for the male organ that they wanted to take it away from all men, or destroy them, demanding rights only because they lacked the power to love as women.” (139)A permanent stereotypeCompare: immigrants
13 Betty FriedanLabor union journalist, fired for second pregnancy1963: Feminine Mystique, kickstarts second wave of feminism1966: Co-founds, is first president of National Organization for Women1970s: Founds National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws/NARAL, supports Equal Rights Amendment
14 Capturing the pastIn the society which Friedan describes, the career woman is seen as “that fatal error that feminism propagated”, inherently unhappy, perhaps even neuroticThe ideal of an outmoded pastBut still something that must be defeatedCreating a new traditional
15 Capturing the pastReal women, by contrast, cherish ‘their differentness’, their ‘unique femininity’, the ‘receptivity and passivity implicit in their sexual nature’. Devoted to beauty and family, they are “’feminine women, with truly feminine attitudes, admired by men for their miraculous, God-given, sensationally unique ability to wear skirts, with all the implications of that fact.’” (111)
16 The Feminine Mystique“The highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity.”Historically, this femininity has been undervalued.Women are special and different, not inferior to men, & in some ways superiorInnocent, helpless, childlikeThese special qualities are expressed in terms of beauty, sex, and caretaking.Cook, clean, children, clothes, attraction
17 The Feminine Mystique This is an essentialist definition of femininity “To be a woman is to act like so”To be otherwise is to be unfeminine, not-womanTo look to compete with men on equal terms thus means that one wants to be a manCareers and goals for higher education in this way serve to ‘masculinize’ women, making them less feminine (less women) and rendering them unhappy in their lives.The claim made by the mystique is that a real woman would be happy in (and only in) a purely domestic role“I’ll cancel your lunch orders. You’re a mother. That’s your job. You don’t have to earn money too.” It was all so beautifully simple! “Yes, boss.” I murmured obediently, frankly relieved. (95)
18 “Remember when we were all children, how we all planned to ‘be something?’” Boasting that she has worn out six copies of Dr. Spock’s baby-care book in seven years, she cries, “I’m lucky! Lucky! I’M SO GLAD TO BE A WOMAN!” (114)Shirley Jackson: “After making the bed of a twelve-year-old boy week after week, climbing Mt. Everest would seem a laughable anticlimax”“Woman” seen and defined in a purely biological/sexual light
19 “There is no problem in the logic of the feminine mystique, for the woman who has no wishes of her own, who defines herself only as wife and mother.” (116)“But forbidden to join man in the world, can women be people?” (100)
20 Later generations of women abandoned the first wave of feminism, “But what choice were they offered? In that corner, the fiery, man-eating feminist, the career woman—loveless, alone. In this corner, the gentle wife and mother—loved and protected by her husband, surrounded by her adoring children.” (164)But this is a false choice.
21 In the 1st wave era, when women began to be seen as equals, anything that hindered equality was seen as an obstacle to be overcome, but now that woman is seen only as a sexual & domestic being, those prejudices are no longer problems.The only problems are those that disturb her role in the homeSecond Shift - Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung
22 The lives of women revolve entirely around men: “They though they did not have to choose, to look into the future and plan what they wanted to do with their lives. They had only to wait to be chosen…” (133)Sex and the City
23 The struggle is “simply to become fully human.” (136) 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
24 Roots of the mystique“A mystique does not compel its own acceptance.” (268)“Brainwashing”Recall Malcolm XMust fill real needsCultural/Social: Insecurity caused by the WarScientific: Freudian & functionalistEconomic: Replacing wartime consumption
25 Cultural Needs“I live through my husband and children. It’s easier this way. In this world now, it’s easier to be a woman, if you take advantage of it.” (273)UniformityUncritical worldviewMarriage as ready-made identityPrivatismNo value in larger social engagement
26 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.
27 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
28 FunctionalismDescribes a thing in terms of its function within societyEx: Sexual segregation preserves society in its current structureOn 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)MarcuseBlurs line between “is” and “ought to be”Assumes endless present, denies that future can be different from pastIdentifies the woman with her role“Woman is what society says she is” (207)Gender essentialism
29 FunctionalismIf 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 A’s” (205)Skilled in her role, but less likely to feel unfulfilled by itDefining happiness
31 The social role of women is as a type, not as individual humans “the mysterious miracle of femininity” is realized simply by being femaleIdentifies the individual solely with her biologyMen go to school to be educated and find careers, women go to find husbands.
32 “I guess they can’t get over the old notion that women should be educated to develop their minds. They deny it, but one can’t help suspecting that they still believe in careers for women.” (250)Advances lostMen are mental and physical, women only physical
33 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 & celibacyDefining “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 can’t land a man
34 “We have to stop being so teacher-centered and become student-centered “We have to stop being so teacher-centered and become student-centered. It’s not what you think they need, but what they think they need. That’s the functional approach.” (251)Social “realities”Career trainingLack of critical dimension
35 Freedom of ChoiceThen-current goal of totalized motherhood counterproductiveProduced weak, dependent adultsWomen 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 child’s lifeExamples: Autism, neurosesThwarted in efforts at education & careerManipulated by marketing, mass media
36 Demographic ResearchAppliance sales researchers find 3 types of female customer:True Housewife TypeFeels indispensible in the homeNo desire to work outside homePride in workSuspicious of being replaced by new appliances
37 Career Woman Does not believe woman’s place primarily in home Does not identify with houseworkHave, had, or would like own work, incomeBuy appliances, but not ideal customers. Too critical.
38 Balanced Homemaker Some outside interests Enjoys housework Identities with, is fulfilled by domestic tasksReadily accepts new appliancesWants to use own executive ability in managing household, does not “expect the impossible” from appliances
39 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.”
40 “She’ll want them. She’s a real girl.” Marketing should target very young teenage girls“The young ones will want what the others want, even if their mothers don’t.”Older, more independent women should be made to feel guiltThe product will enable you to give your husband and children the things you should, but aren’t.“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.)
41 “You can be the woman you yearn to be with a Plymouth all your own” “With increasing skill, the ads glorify [a woman’s] ‘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 itImpossibility of this results in unhappiness, desperation
42 These qualities create a demand in the market for products that will help to achieve the feminine idealAd 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 care—designed to lift a woman’s 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)
43 A woman’s sincere desires may be tools of her oppression
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