FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;) See this post to learn more on how to join and check the events page on when the next book club is going to be!

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last time I covered How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. I gave it a 4.5/5, not a full 5 because I thought it was unnecessarily long.

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This month I'm covering The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I chose this book because it’s always referenced in feminist writings on history, culture and progress and I figured I should go to the source.

Although it was written in 1963, it’s incredibly relevant today. I thought reading this book it was going to be more of a period piece but it’s made me reflect so much on feminism today, it’s scary.

Here’s my review in takeaways:

Takeaway #1 - This book is mandatory reading for all feminists and/or living humans

Or as Arianna Huffington puts it, “If you’ve never read it, read it now.”

Takeaway #2 - We have progressed in so many ways but one

Today, women are outnumbering men at a record high in universities worldwide, there are more women doctors and lawyers than ever before, and boy-oh-boy we can get credit cards without a man!

But there’s one, category (if we want to call it that?) that we’re still systematically held back on and have made little to no progress and that is… childcare. Women are still considered the primary caregiver. And it was depressing to read the excuses, reasoning, and rationale that was used back then, is used today.

It made me reflect, uncomfortably so, on how traditional my marriage and family decisions have been. Because of that my career ambitions have suffered and I make significantly less money than my partner, which feeds into the cycle of us prioritizing his career over mine.

Last year I wrote this post, WORKING MOTHERS: 5 SCENES, WHY I'M TIRED OF THE CONVERSATION, WHY IT'S HAPPENING, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, and quoted Kerr, "'It is logical for couples to decide that the person who earns less, usually a woman, does more of the household chores and child care,' Ms. Kerr said. 'But it’s also a reason women earn less in the first place. That reinforces the pay gap in the labor market, and we’re trapped in this self-reinforcing cycle,' she said." (Quote from NYT)

Takeaway #3 - It’s a long hard fight

Seeing that this was in 1963 makes me realize that this fight is going to be a long one. We’re 51% of the population so to get on the same page about feminist issues is tough, shit, Trump got elected for god’s sake. And speaking of god, with Christian ideologies like complementarianism (first time I heard of this was on Gimlet’s Start Up show, the Church Planting Season, Episode “The Woman At The Pulpit”) we’re going in the opposite direction, think: Handmaids Tale.

Takeaway #4 - Intersectionality

One of the stickiest points is the lack of white women including and considering women of all races, and backgrounds. I recently watched a documentary called “White Like Me.” Where a white woman was talking to a black woman, and said “well, we’re both women” and the black woman responded with “no, when you look in the mirror you’re a woman, when I look in the mirror, I’m a black woman.” There it is. We have, I have, a lot of work to do, I’m trying my best. So no longer can nor should the conversation be a bunch of white women strategizing about what’s best for women. Because white women don’t have all the answers for all women everywhere. But I’m hopeful for the future of feminism and the progress we’re making, even if it does feel like we’re stepping back in time - I’m looking at you Alabama.

Rating: 5/5


For all living humans.

Next month:

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Read it with me! And sign up to come to the Book Club!

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!