Problem with No Name: Solution NOW

The video above is about Betty Friedan who led the second wave of Women’s liberation in the 1960s. Gaining huge popularity with her book The Feminine Mystique in 1963, she later goes on to become one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. Although many of the movements only date back to the day of the Women’s Strike for Equality on August 26, 1970, and forward, the resulting success is commenced from the progress of all the women’s effort before this.

Women’s liberation rooted back to the 1950s because the ideology of subordination of male dominance derived from the social change of increasing women in the work force. The advanced developments of new appliances during that time, such as washers and vacuum cleaners, lessen the work for women, which in turn, created more time for them to work. The gender roles of the 1950s differ greatly from the past comparing to their grandmothers and mothers before her; women were now paid working women as well as full-time housewife.


The Femine Mystique

Even though woman had the right to vote, it did little to increase political and economic freedom for women. According to Foner, Women were still treated as subordinates to men in the early 1960s, where their rights were second class compared to men and job opportunities limited to low wage clerical positions. Foner asserts that Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique” published in 1963 revived the feminine consciousness and exposed the third class treatment women received. She even compared the Suburban home to a “comfortable concentration camp.”

I think the feminist movement of the 60’s had its root in the 1950’s since it was an Era when the Nation took a break from War and was able to concentrate on domestic issues. The economic prosperity of the 1950’s and technological innovation lended women more time to create woman’s groups and think about dealing with their rights. I have also posted pictures of Protests by 20,000 women on August 9, 1956 which eventually became known as National Women’s Day. Even though they were not protesting for women’s rights, it showed how organized women were and their willingness to fight for rights.






Feminism: Women and the Kitcen


The Kitchen Debate by Nixon and Khrushchev in 1959 has embraced many American ideologies at that time, and the role of women in the kitchen is one of them. In the 1950s, it was widely conceived that women ought to spend most of her time in the kitchen and doing various house works. Although Vice President Nixon did not explicit stated it, he has implied that the electronic appliances were so great that they are the equivalent of a woman. The Kitchen Debate further emphasized the fact that most American men at that time regarded their spouses as mere appliances in the kitchen instead of human beings. I believe that the underlying theme in the Kitchen Debate has a certain degree of influence on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, a publication that has awakened the public feminist consciousness.

With the influence from The Feminine Mystique, American women have realized that, by tradition, they have been enslaved in the kitchen. In addition, they were more conscious of the unequal treatments they faced in work forces. With this new consciousness in their minds, they have pushed for more reforms in civil rights movements. In response to the changes in public opinions, the government has passed various gender equality laws, such as the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which prohibited different wage standards base on genders, and The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which eliminated discrimination by both gender and race.