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by Marilyn French, Marilyn Edwards

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How would you describe the women of the 1950s (Chapters 6 and 7)?

In Marilyn French's book, we could describe the women of the 1950s as frustrated. They're frustrated with their husbands, their sex lives, and their children. We could also say that women of the 1950s were concerned about money. More so, they gossiped and didn’t always treat each other with kindness or respect.

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We would be careful not to be overly general when describing the women of the 1950s. As Marilyn French's novel shows, women in the 1950s, like right now, have unique traits, goals, and beliefs.

Does Mira share Val's militant feminism? Does Mira believe that "all men are rapists"? No. More so, does Mira share the prejudices of Bliss or the passionate love affairs of Martha? No.

Yet, it'd be rather obtuse to not see that these women possess similar struggles. How they deal with these issues might differ, yet the source of their predicament seems to be the same: their gender.

We could say women in the 1950s are sexual. They have affairs -- sometimes with each other's husbands. They also have well-formed and specific ideas about what they want from sex.

Think about the scene in which Bliss's husband is calling her to bed and Bliss is looking in the mirror. Bliss doesn't want her husband. She wants a man "to own her, to take possession of her."

We also see how women in the 1950s worried about economics. Samantha is in dire financial distress due to her husband. One reason why Adele doesn't divorce her husband is because of money. We then see Mira calculating her divorce settlement as if her marriage was a form of employment that has just been terminated.

For women in the 1950s, money -- as well as sex, children, husbands, and family in general -- seemed to be central. In that way, women in the 1950s seem to share many of the concerns of women in 2020.