The Feminine Mystique

by

Betty Friedan

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Functionalism Quotes in The Feminine Mystique

The The Feminine Mystique quotes below are all either spoken by Functionalism or refer to Functionalism. 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 2 Quotes

The feminine mystique says that the highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity. It says that the great mistake of Western culture, through most of its history, has been the undervaluation of femininity. It says that this femininity is so mysterious and intuitive and close to the creation and origin of life that man-made science may never be able to understand it. But however special and different, it is in no way inferior to the nature of man; it may even in certain respects be superior. The mistake, says the mystique, the root of women’s troubles in the past is that women envied men, women tried to be like men, instead of accepting their own nature, which can find fulfillment only in sexual passivity, male domination, and nurturing maternal love.

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Feminine Mystique
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

But what happens when a woman bases her whole identity on her sexual role; when sex is necessary to make her “feel alive?” To state it quite simply, she puts impossible demands on her own body, her “femaleness,” as well as on her husband and his “maleness.” A marriage counselor told me that many of the young suburban wives he dealt with make “such heavy demands on love and marriage, but there is no excitement, no mystery, sometimes almost literally nothing happens.”

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Feminine Mystique
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

A woman today who has no goal, no purpose, no ambition patterning her days into the future, making her stretch and grow beyond that small score of years in which her body can fill its biological function, is committing a kind of suicide.

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Page Number: 336
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

It seemed to me that men weren’t really the enemy—they were fellow victims, suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.

Related Characters: Betty Friedan (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Feminine Mystique
Page Number: 386
Explanation and Analysis:
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Functionalism Term Timeline in The Feminine Mystique

The timeline below shows where the term Functionalism appears in The Feminine Mystique. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Functional Freeze, the Feminine Protest, and Margaret Mead
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Psychoanalysis and Sexism Theme Icon
...of Freud’s theories, social scientists fit their “anthropological investigations into Freudian rubric.” This, along with “functionalism” (i.e., the attempt to make social science more “scientific” by defining institutions in relation to... (full context)
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
...influence on modern women” due to her influence as a scholar and her support of functionalism. She was a critical figure in the social sciences. Her ideas were taught in medical... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Sex-Directed Educators
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Sex and Marriage Theme Icon
Educators who believed in functionalism thought it was more important to focus on the practical perceived needs of their students,... (full context)
Domesticity and Femininity Theme Icon
Nature vs. Nurture Theme Icon
Sex and Marriage Theme Icon
Lessons in functionalism were very “soothing” to young women who were afraid to break away from their childhoods... (full context)