90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Feminine Mystique At 50

The Feminine Mystique at 50. We’ll talk with women about the book, Betty Friedan, what’s changed, what hasn’t, and women now.

A first edition of Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique.” (Bauman Rare Books)

A first edition of Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique.” (Bauman Rare Books)

Fifty years ago this week, February, 1963, the world first read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. It was a cry of rage about how smart, educated American women were relegated to the home and high heels and buying laundry detergent. Cut out of America’s realms of power and professional life.

It seized a moment and a big problem. Became a huge bestseller. Broke open a giant conversation on sexism and feminism. Now we’re fifty years on.

This hour, On Point: Sandy Banks and Noreen Malone on The Feminine Mystique at fifty, and where women stand now.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Noreen Malone, staff writer at the New Republic. (@noreenmalone)

Sandy Banks, columnist at the Los Angeles Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Indeed, some cracking its spine for the first time — as more than one commentator on the 50th anniversary has sheepishly confessed to doing — may be surprised at just how scholarly the book is. Friedan, who claimed she gave up a prestigious Ph.D. fellowship in psychology after a boyfriend said it would threaten their relationship, spent years in the New York Public Library, digging as deeply into the theories of Freud, Margaret Mead, A. H. Maslow and David Riesman as into the women’s magazines she blasted for perpetuating the mythology of the ‘happy housewife.’”

Slate “What struck me most about The Feminine Mystique is how very radical it is. I mean, Friedan compares, at chapter length, the plight of women stuck at home with their kids to concentration camp victims. Sure, I’ve never had to sit alone with a mop and a crying baby and no Internet (side question: Was the problem that had no name possibly the lack of Wi-Fi?), but that seems more than a bit extreme to me. In fact, as much as I found myself cheering at the stirring introduction and conclusion, for much of the middle of the book, I was muttering and angrily underlining what I found to be particularly judgmental passages.”

Huffington Post “February 19, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book The Feminine Mystique — a book that has undisputedly changed the lives of countless women and society as a whole. Coupled with the 1972 passage of Title IX, the law which prohibited “discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education, including in athletic programs” (Feminist Majority Foundation, 2012), there was a growing sense that women were well on their way to equality with men.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment