The Feminine Mystique

– The women who fought for suffrage (suffragists), equal political rights, and the right to own property from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries. In the twentieth-century, they fought against discrimination in education and employment, for reproductive rights, and for access to state-funded childcare. Friedan includes historical American feminist characters such as Lucy Stone, whom she uses as an exemplar, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Julia Ward Howe, Angelina Grimke, and English feminists, such as Mary Wollstonecraft.

Feminist Quotes in The Feminine Mystique

The The Feminine Mystique quotes below are all either spoken by Feminist or refer to Feminist. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W.W. Norton edition of The Feminine Mystique published in 1963.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Only men had the freedom to love, and enjoy love, and decide for themselves in the eyes of their God the problems of right and wrong. Did women want these freedoms because they wanted to be men? Or did they want them because they were also human?

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker), Lucy Stone
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
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Did women really go home again as a reaction to feminism? The fact is that to women born after 1920, feminism was dead history. It ended as a vital movement in America with the winning of that final right: the vote. In the 1930’s and 40’s, the sort of woman who fought for woman’s rights was still concerned with human rights and freedom—for Negroes, for oppressed workers, for victims of Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Germany. But no one was much concerned with rights for women: they had all been won. And yet the man-eating myth prevailed.

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
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Epilogue Quotes

“What we need is a political movement, a social movement like that of the blacks.”

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:
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Feminist Term Timeline in The Feminine Mystique

The timeline below shows where the term Feminist appears in The Feminine Mystique. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: The Passionate Journey
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Psychoanalysis and Sexism Theme Icon
Friedan marks the first-wave feminist movement—the fight for suffrage a century earlier—as women’s first collective search for an identity. Feminists... (full context)
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The image of the man-hating, sex-starved spinster contrasted with the reality of many feminists who were in loving and passionate marriages. The only image of “a full and free... (full context)
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Feminists faced slander from the press and from clergymen who accused them of “violating the God-given... (full context)
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...“representative of the race” and women partners at his side, joined to him in matrimony. Feminists were, thus “unnatural monsters” who would reverse “God-given” male dominance and make slaves of men. (full context)
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Some feminists did try to emulate men, sometimes cutting their hair in men’s fashions. It was part... (full context)
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Lucy Stone had the reputation of “a man-eating fury,” a label often given to feminists. She saved her own income from teaching to go Oberlin College, but practiced public speaking... (full context)
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Most feminists resisted early marriage and did not marry until they had found identity and purpose as... (full context)
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Feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton were usually educated women who disliked the “housewife’s drudgery.” They... (full context)
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The notion that feminists were “taking the pants off men” occurred to their detractors when feminists began to wear... (full context)
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Susan B. Anthony and other feminists petitioned the New York State Assembly for the right of married women to own property.... (full context)
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...social reform,” including strikes against the horrid work conditions in factories. During the temperance movement, feminists sometimes used messages, such as “save femininity” and “save the home,” to shut down saloons.... (full context)
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...adopt planks for suffrage, and “19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses.” By the end, the feminist movement was not merely comprised of a handful of women, but of millions of women... (full context)
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The negative image of feminists was created and promoted by business interests who opposed women’s suffrage state-by-state, even going as... (full context)
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For women born after 1920, the feminist movement was history. In the 1930s and 1940s, women who fought for human rights concerned... (full context)
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The label of “feminist,” like that of “career woman,” became a dirty word. The first women to enter professions... (full context)
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Consumerism and The Power of Advertising Theme Icon
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...for women’s “mistaken choice” to return to the home had less to do with the feminist myth and more to do with messages from educators, medical professionals, scholars, and advertisers who... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Sex-Directed Educators
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
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...college, Friedan uses the example of the female president to demonstrate the guilt that some ex-feminists felt over encouraging a non-sex-directed education, for a minority of alumnae had complained that their... (full context)
Epilogue
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
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...Miami in 1972, women played a major role in political conventions for the first time. Feminists won commitments from both parties “on child-care, preschool, and after-school programs.” Furthermore, Shirley Chisholm, a... (full context)
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...Europe, South America, and Asia. She was hoping to have the first world conference of feminists in Sweden in 1974. Friedan believed that “the man-hating” element of the feminist movement would... (full context)