A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women by Stephanie Coontz

By Stephanie Coontz

In 1963, Betty Friedan unleashed a typhoon of controversy together with her bestselling ebook, The female Mystique. hundreds of thousands of ladies wrote to her to claim that the ebook had remodeled, even kept, their lives. approximately part a century later, many ladies nonetheless remember the place they have been once they first learn it.

In A unusual Stirring, historian Stephanie Coontz examines the sunrise of the Nineteen Sixties, while the sexual revolution had slightly started, newspapers marketed for "perky, appealing gal typists," yet married girls have been instructed to stick domestic, and husbands managed nearly each element of kin existence.

Based on exhaustive learn and interviews, and tough either conservative and liberal myths approximately Friedan, A unusual Stirring brilliantly illuminates how a iteration of ladies got here to gain that their dissatisfaction with household lifestyles didn't replicate their own weak spot yet quite a social and political injustice.

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Finkbine was forced to go to Sweden for the abortion, where doctors determined that the fetus was too deformed to have survived. Few women had the resources to get around the laws by flying to Europe. Experts estimated that a million or more illegal abortions a year were performed on American women, with between 5,000 and 10,000 women dying as a result. Such abortions accounted for 40 percent of maternal deaths. ” 11 9780465002009-text_coontz 10/18/10 9:11 AM Page 12 A Strange Stirring When her own daughter got pregnant, this woman pressured her to go away, have the baby in secret, put it up for adoption, and come back pretending that she had been visiting relatives.

In one letter, a woman described herself as “trapped, with no hope of freedom. . After twenty years of home, husband, and children, I finally got a chance to fulfill a dream. I went to college four evenings a week for two and a half semesters and then had to drop out. My husband gave me a choice—school or him. . I love my husband and so I gave up school. However, I will try to raise my sons to realize that women are people with the same dreams, hopes, and feelings as men. . I will also try to help my daughter realize you can be feminine, a woman, and a full person at the same time.

At least five states required women to receive court approval before opening a business in their own name. In Florida, a married woman who wished to operate a business independently of her husband had to present a petition that attested to “her character, habits, education and mental capacity for business” and explain why her “disability” to conduct a business should be removed. In 1966, an enterprising Texas woman turned this disability into an advantage, claiming that she shouldn’t be required 6 9780465002009-text_coontz 10/18/10 9:11 AM Page 7 The Unliberated 1960s to repay a loan she’d taken from the Small Business Administration, because she did not have a court decree removing her disability to enter contracts and therefore shouldn’t have been granted the loan in the first place.

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