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Friedan, Betty

  • By: Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Born in Peoria, Illinois, on February 4, 1921, Betty Friedan made a long-lasting and critical impact on the second wave of feminism with her publication of The Feminine Mystique (1963) and her tireless work as a feminist activist. In this major publication, she charts the “problem that has no name,” arguing that the assumed happiness that women feel as domesticated wives and mothers is a farce; according to Friedan's study, writing, and activism, women were not allowed to live out their full potential as they did not have the choice of living beyond domesticity. The “feminine mystique,” therefore, served as a highly constraining social practice wherein women were expected to be happy wives and mothers; if they failed to successfully manage either of these roles, ...

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