‘Love and children and home are good but they are not the whole world, even if most of the words now written for women pretend they are. Why should women accept this picture of a half-life, instead of a share in the whole of human destiny?’
First published in 1963, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique changed the world. Widely credited with inspiring second-wave feminism, the book spoke to women across the globe and defined ‘the problem that has no name’. It showed women that they could and should aim for a life beyond the home and the family, and that they could never find true fulfilment as long as their roles and ambitions were so narrowly defined.
Based on interviews with suburban housewives, as well as researching psychology and how women were portrayed in media and advertising, The Feminine Mystique showed that many women were in fact deeply unsatisfied, but unable to find a voice to express their feelings.
A powerful and ground-breaking piece of feminist writing and a historically important literary work, it laid the foundations for many feminist activists following in Friedan’s footsteps, and had significant societal and political influence on the progression of gender equality.
This new edition, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s birth, includes a new introduction by Gaby Hinsliff, which discusses the reasons why Friedan’s book still has so much to say to women today.
Praise for The Feminine Mystique:
'One of the most influential non-fiction books of the twentieth century' The New York Times
‘If American women look at their lives today, they are seeing Betty Friedan’s legacy in action.’ Naomi Wolf, Time
‘Brilliant… succeeded where no other feminist writer had. She touched the lives of ordinary readers.’ The New Yorker
‘The Feminine Mystique forever changed the conversation as well as the way women view themselves. If you’ve never read it, read it now and reflect on what our mothers and grandmothers were feeling at the time. It’s a great moment to celebrate this milestone work, which fundamentally altered the course of women’s lives.’ Arianna Huffington, O, The Oprah Magazine
‘A highly readable, provocative book.’ New York Times Book Review
‘The Feminine Mystique is the Tupac Shakur of literary feminism, reincarnated at least once every decade with new insights that engender old beefs while at the same time serving as a reminder of why it’s a classic.’ The Los Angeles Review of Books