Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2013/ 3 Adar, 5773

Myths of the Mystique: Betty Friedan's treatise shows signs of aging

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Now is the time for all good women to pay homage to Betty Friedan, who 50 years ago wrote the game-changing manifesto “The Feminine Mystique.”

With that book, Friedan helped propel a revolution led by, of all people, unhappy housewives.

One feels silly even writing such a sentence, but revolutions have to start somewhere. Why not in the checkout line at the Piggly Wiggly? Or wherever Friedan, who was actually writing magazine stories the whole time she was bored, went to shop.

Friedan did, indeed, identify and give shape to “the problem that has no name” — female angst born of privilege — but she also helped launch a flotilla of myths that have many women (and men) still scratching their heads.

As her critics have noted, Friedan didn’t tackle any of the legal obstacles to women’s equality. Nor did she pay attention to women of color or members of the working class. She mostly noted that women like her — well-to-do, well-educated and stifled by domestic bliss — wanted and deserved more. It simply wasn’t fair that men had fulfilling lives, intellectually and monetarily, while women were expected to find satisfaction in the latest invention aimed at whiter collars and cleaner toilet bowls.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". In addition to INSPIRING stories, HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Anyone familiar with “The Stepford Wives” can grasp this notion. Thus, thousands of women like Friedan, recognizing themselves in her lament, charged out of their houses and into the streets.

Doubtless I would have been a member of the stampede had I been of age, but as it happens, I was being raised by a widower and assumed that all men delighted in carpooling and cooking. How little I knew of the toils of sad, wealthy women.

Thus, the feminist movement left the station without me — except to the extent, as readers sometimes remind me, that I benefited from the protests of my foremothers. Indeed, I am grateful for the suffragists who thought my vote should be equal to any man’s. And I am thankful that the workplace I entered recognized my value. But the world in which I grew up never suggested otherwise.

In all those years when Friedan and colleagues were demanding an equal rights amendment, I heard only words of encouragement from a lawyer/father who demanded much and often intoned: “An unnecessary law is always a bad law.” He never once suggested that a girl was in any way less capable than a boy in any arena (the combat exception was so obvious in a household of male warriors that no one bothered to debate it).

The focus of most conversation was on simple principles: Hard work leads to accomplishment leads to self-respect. I could not divine a gender element to these truths. I also saw plenty of working women, including my pediatrician, as well as those who, despite having been professionals before becoming mothers, had chosen to run busy households.

Nevertheless, I was marinating in a culture that was shifting, and I was surely absorbing the zeitgeist. But members of my generation also were becoming unwitting hostages to myths that few were brave enough to challenge. My own skepticism came to full fruition the moment I became a mother.

Unlike Friedan, I wasn’t tethered to home but to a job. Rather than resenting the prospect of staying home with a baby, I was stricken by the realization that I couldn’t. The “strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning,” words Friedan used to describe thwarted ambition, was for me the sense of having abandoned my son.

Revolutions are like children — eager and hopeful in the beginning; then, like teenagers, suddenly riotous and unruly. They have their own ideas about things and pick up friends who are bad influences. Sometimes they need to be spanked. Fine, okay, a timeout.

Fifty years later, Friedan’s movement has reached full adulthood and, one hopes, is seeing a shrink. Among lessons gleaned from the couch is that maturation requires recognizing our mistakes and our own roles in unwelcome consequences. What worked for privileged, educated women hasn’t worked so well for those at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum. And although women have the same need as men to lead meaningful lives, the feminist mystique’s great failing was in advancing the notion that caring for children posed an obstacle to self-realization.

In a twist to delight the Fates, Friedan’s ultimate legacy may well be a stay-at-home dad, grateful for the latest appliance that liberates him to carpool and make organic treats — squealing oui, oui, oui! all the way home.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

<

© 2013, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast