Chapters 1 - 4 Questions and Answers

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Study Questions
1. What is “the problem that has no name” of which Friedan writes?

2. When did the media begin paying attention to the issue of women’s identities as housewives and the pitfalls of that role?

3. What were women told to do about their dissatisfaction?

4. How did the media portray the role of women in the 1930s and 1940s, versus during the 1950s?

5. What does Betty Friedan mean by the terms “Occupation: Housewife” and “the feminine mystique”?

Answers
1. Women are dissatisfied with what they are told should make them happy, which is an identity formed and shaped by marriage, parenting, and housekeeping. They are discouraged from using their minds or asserting their independence, and the media both promotes this lifestyle and assumes that women don’t have any interests beyond their roles as spouses and mothers.

2. Friedan writes that in 1960 the media began reporting on the perceived problem of women’s identity as limited to that of mother, spouse, and domestic.

3. Women were told to be grateful for their protected status and that they didn’t have to go out in the world and compete, like men. Some argued that women wouldn’t have the attitude they do if they’d had less education—and that women don’t need education.

4. During the 1930s and very early 1940s, women were portrayed as “New...

(The entire section is 345 words.)