The Unnamed Problem

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The Unnamed Problem In her 1963 book, A Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan wrote, “As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—‘Is this all?’”. As a result of the constantly glaring of the classic “housewife” from magazines such as Good Housekeeping and members of the government such as Governor Adlai Stevenson, women in the 50s were expected to maintain a reserved lifestyle, which led to lonely dissatisfaction and an internal yearning for a different routine. After World War II and into the Cold War, “nuclear families” became the norm, with a working father, a housewife mother and their children. This idea spread and erupted into the ideal, picture-perfect family that all Americans should strive to have. By the 1950s, this model of a family had specific roles that each member had to follow, with one of important positions being the housewife mother. Television shows, books, magazines and various advertisements promoted this idea, suggesting what every woman should be and how every woman should act. For instance, in 1956, Good Housekeeping wrote an article entitled, “Every Executive Needs a Perfect Wife”. This article goes into detail via six points, explaining how each housewife should and shouldn’t act towards her husband. One should have been friendly enough to entertain multiple guests and friends, active in the community, and centered her life and attention to her husband, her children and her home. A “good housewife,” on the other hand, should not have shown signs of sadness or questioning, or dominance and ventured out into a “man’s” territory. This is the type of woman that Betty Friedan described in her book, The Feminine Mystique—a reserved woman who
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