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The Feminine Mystique

by Betty Friedan

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Which statement correctly describes Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique?

Quick answer:

Betty Freidan's book The Feminine Mystique questioned traditional gender norms and identified that many women felt unfulfilled as housewives. Therefore, statement 4 is the correct one.

Expert Answers

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If we examine the four choices, we can pick the right answer. As for 1, The Feminine Mystique does not argue that femininity should be tied to the ability to earn a wage and contribute to the family income. Women earning money is not Friedan's focus; instead, as she discusses in chapters 13 and 14, she hopes women will find fulfillment in meaningful work outside of the role of housewife and mother. Whether or not this work is paid is secondary to how fulfilling it is. (Many of the women Friedan interviewed were graduates of elite colleges like Smith and had married high-income men, so earning money was not an issue.)

Number 2 is also incorrect, as the book was a bestseller soon after it was published and attracted scholarly interest from the start. Option 3 is also wrong, as Friedan argued the opposite: She asserted that staying at home as full-time mothers was making women unhappy and having a bad effect on their children. She did say it might be a good idea for mothers of very young children to be at homeā€”but only for a few years. That leaves number 4, which is the correct response. The book strongly questions post-World War II gender norms and argues that the traditional housewife role leaves many women unfulfilled.

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