What the Fuck? History Class Edition

November 26, 2009 § 5 Comments

So, the history elective I’m taking this year is US History since 1945. It involves lots and lots of reading (yuck), but also lots and lots of interesting debates in class (yay). Already we’ve had intense thought-provoking discussions on the use of the atomic bomb, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam. This new unit we’re covering is all about gender and the return to domesticity in the 1950s. As you can imagine, I’m really excited.

The assignment for Monday is to read an excerpt of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.

A page and a half actually of The Feminine Mystique… followed by fourteen pages of a man’s take on The Feminine Mystique. There will be no more Betty Friedan reading after that.

Seriously. What the fuck?

§ 5 Responses to What the Fuck? History Class Edition

  • mirandanyc says:

    That’s ridiculous. The Feminine Mystique is really worth an in-depth analysis — I don’t know who wrote the commentary you’ll be reading, but I think it’s safe to say your teacher should ditch that in favor of bell hooks’ response to Friedan.

  • Nell Gwynne says:

    Yeah. Seriously.

    A much more interesting analysis would come from the many women who wrote in response to Friedan’s book, instead of automatically going “BUT WHAT DID TEH MENZ THINK?”

    raise hell.

  • Laura Tran says:

    Yeah, I probably second Miranda’s opinion.
    But, I am not a huge fan of Betty Friedan. What’s interesting about her is how she failed to acknowledge how the woman problem is the middle class college educated woman problem.
    I’m primarily concerned about how your class might not be covering how race intersects with class to define US history, not stupid political events like the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • mirandanyc says:

    Hi Laura, thanks for commenting! I agree with you. Friedan’s writing is incredibly myopic and dismissive of anyone’s problems but privileged white ladies.

  • WomensHistorian says:

    To be fair, The Feminine Mystique was edited down to focus solely on middle-class, white women’s concerns. Friedan had been a labor organizer before she was a housewife. Her first manuscript of the book DID discuss class (and I think race?) issues. The version that went to print was without these issues in order to be more accepted by the ultra-conformist 1950s and early-1960s American culture.

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