Analysis of The Problem That Has No Name by Betty Friedan

In an excerpt from her book, “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Friedan defines women’s unhappiness during the 1950s as “the problem that has no name.” She identifies “the problem that has no name” as upper-middle-class suburban women. experiencing dissatisfaction with their lives and an inarticulate longing for something more than their housewife duties. She blames an idealized image of womanhood perpetuated by the media, a social construct that tells women their role in life is to catch a man, support a man, have children, and put the needs of husband and children first. sons.

According to Friedan, women have been encouraged to limit themselves to a very narrow definition of “true” womanhood, abandoning education and career aspirations in the process by pundits who wrote books, columns, and books that told women for that time that their greatest role on the planet was to be wives and mothers. The role of a “real” woman was to have no interest in politics, higher education, and careers, and these experts taught women to pity women who had the nerve to want a life beyond the cult of true femininity.

If women expressed dissatisfaction with their charmed lives, experts blamed their feelings on the higher education they received before becoming homemakers. During the 1950s, underwear advertisers sold bras with false bottoms to help them find boyfriends, and American girls began getting married in high school. America’s birth rate during this time skyrocketed, and college-educated women made careers by having children. The image of the beautiful and generous suburban housewife was accepted as the norm and women went crazy, sometimes literally, to achieve this goal.

Friedan ultimately concluded that “the problem that has no name” is not loss of femininity, over-education, or the demands of domestic life, but rather a stirring up of rebellion by millions of women who were fed up with pretending to be happy. with their lives. and that solving this problem would be the key to the future of American culture.