Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

The Feminine Mystique is a classic of the early years of the late twentieth century’s feminist movement. Its title is also the term coined by Betty Friedan to define the post-World War II image of women, which suggested that all women should find their female fulfillment as happy, contented housewives and in their families and homes.

In a 1957 survey of her Smith College classmates from fifteen years earlier, Friedan notices a real clash between the educations women were receiving and the ways they were expected to live out the rest of their lives. Having attempted to live up to this feminine ideal herself and experienced at first hand the vague sense of unease, boredom, and frustration many women felt in...

(The entire section is 466 words.)