By Stephanie Coontz
In 1963, Betty Friedan unleashed a hurricane of controversy along with her bestselling ebook, The female Mystique. 1000's of ladies wrote to her to claim that the ebook had reworked, even kept, their lives. approximately part a century later, many ladies nonetheless keep in mind the place they have been once they first learn it.
In A unusual Stirring, historian Stephanie Coontz examines the sunrise of the Sixties, while the sexual revolution had slightly began, newspapers marketed for "perky, appealing gal typists," yet married girls have been instructed to stick domestic, and husbands managed nearly each element of relations existence.
Based on exhaustive learn and interviews, and difficult either conservative and liberal myths approximately Friedan, A unusual Stirring brilliantly illuminates how a iteration of ladies got here to achieve that their dissatisfaction with family lifestyles didn't mirror their own weak point yet particularly a social and political injustice.
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Additional resources for A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s
By the time The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963, the civil rights movement had reached new heights in its long struggle against segregationist laws and practices. ” But the tide of public opinion had begun to swing against the televised hearings where congressmen waved lists of suspected “reds” and demanded under threat of jail time that witnesses name everyone they knew who might ever have attended a left-wing meeting. On the nation’s campuses, student groups were beginning to protest the strict rules set up by administrators acting in loco parentis.
Often the readers could not articulate exactly what they got from a self-help book they had liked, or even remember its central points. ” asked one woman rhetorically. By contrast, 20 9780465002009-text_coontz 10/18/10 9:11 AM Page 21 Naming the Problem: Friedan’s Message to American Housewives women who read Friedan’s book back in 1963 or 1964 could still say, nearly fifty years later, precisely what they learned from it. The Feminine Mystique may have been the first self-help book they ever read, but it was also the last many of them ever needed.
Massachusetts flatly prohibited their sale and made it a misdemeanor for anyone, even a married couple, to use birth control. Not until 1965 did the Supreme Court rule that it was an unconstitutional invasion of privacy to deny married women access to contraceptives. It took several more years for unmarried women to obtain equal access to birth control. In many states, it was illegal for a woman to wear men’s clothing, and every state in the union had “sodomy” laws that criminalized sexual relations other than heterosexual intercourse.