Feminism pt 5: Modern Feminism and Lessons Learned

Although feminism can seem like a good thing, and definitely attempted to make things better for women in several ways, the real story behind feminism is seldom toldLike an iceberg, the true story of modern feminism has a lot more below the surface than most of us see above it.

As in everything that’s truly important, glancing at the tip of the iceberg will NOT give us real understanding.

Getting to the bottom of things is critical, and understanding the iceberg all the way to the bottom enables us to really see the matter for what it truly is. Only then can we make an informed decision about what feminism is. Only then can do we know if and how we should support it.

Join Audrey this week as she gets to the bottom of modern feminism – bringing clarity to its founders, its founding book The Feminine Mystique and its author Betty Friedanshowing their crucial role in changing the way Americans think about women. 

Listener’s Guide:

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast. 

3:30     Marilyn French
5:38     The Book – The Feminine Mystique
9:27      Who Was Betty Friedan & Why It Matters

11:40    Smith College – The Making of a Worldview
17:50    Highlander Folk School and the Changing of Institutions
19:14    UC Berkley  & Union Journalist
20:33   Standing for Issues & early writings on Women’s Issues
24:04   The Real Story Behind The Feminine Mystique
25:08   Authors Who Influenced Betty Friedan
29:10    Simone de Beauvoir & Frederich Engels
34:30   Did It Work?
37:55    Girls in the ’50s and ’60s – Film and Magazines
39:16    Conscious Raising and The Feminine Mystique
42:40   Anne Oakley
43:34    The Demands
44:22    What Audrey Learned

Quotes from this episode:

“…my father’s individualism and pagan ethical standards were in complete contrast to the rigidly moral conventionalism of my mother’s teaching. This disequilibrium, which made my life a kind of endless disputation, is the main reason why I became an intellectual.”~Simone de Beauvoir

“Feminism is my religion. I wouldn’t know how to think without it.” ~Marilyn French

“The story of her life, which she has told and which has been popularly accepted, is that she awoke to the woman problem in the late ’50s and early ’60s and was totally unaware of it previously…All sources agree that Friedan’s feminism emerged solely from her research for the Feminist Mystique.” ~Daniel Horowitz

“…married in 1947 (true) and for almost the next 20 years, lived the life of a conventional suburban housewife and mother (not true).” ~Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography 1995

“Success of the book was due in large measure (6000 copies to millions) to its claim that it spoke to and from experiences of a suburban housewife in the 1950’s.” ~Daniel Horowitz

“Men, there is something cooking in your kitchens. Women are waking up to the fact that they can produce things other than babies.” ~Betty Friedan

“The liberation of women will only come when they enter the workforce.” ~Frederich Engels

“This is not a story of how one woman came to consciousness about her role as a housewife. It is about a national movement with many people involved, of which she was a part.” ~Daniel Horowitz 

“There are three political statements that point the way to the liberation of housewives: The housewife role must be abolished, the family must be abolished, gender roles must be abolished.” ~Anne Oakley

“What we didn’t think through was how else we were to bring up children.” 

“She changed the course of history almost singlehandedly. It took a driven, super-aggressive, egocentric, almost lunatic dynamo to rock the world the way she did. Unfortunately, she was that same person at home, where that kind of conduct doesn’t work. She simply never understood this. ~Carl Friedan

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