The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique book cover
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Topics for Further Study

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

  • Research recent female fertility studies and discuss how the findings may affect women who wish to have both a career and a family.
  • Research the statistics regarding househusbands—fathers who choose to forego a career to stay at home and take care of children. Compare the mental and physical effects on these fathers to the effects on mothers as noted in Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and discuss potential reasons for any similarities or differences that you find.
  • In one column of a table, plot the major changes that Friedan advocated for women in the 1960s, as expressed by her in ‘‘A New Life Plan for Women,’’ the final chapter of The Feminine Mystique. In the other column, fill in the current laws or other social changes that have fulfilled Friedan's wishes. Discuss any of Friedan's suggested changes that have not happened yet, including any historical, economical, or social reasons that explain why.
  • During the modern women's movement, the United States was also undergoing a Civil Rights movement. Research these two movements in the 1960s and discuss how they affected each other.
  • Research the long history of women's struggle for equality in the United States. Create a timeline of major events in this struggle. Choose one major feminist from any point in this history, other than Friedan, and write a biography about her.