Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Betty Friedans The Feminine Mystique and Sue Kaufmans Diary of a Mad

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Sue Kaufman's Diary of a Mad Housewife Bettina Balser, the narrator of Sue Kaufman’s Diary of a Mad Housewife, is an attractive, intelligent woman living in an affluent community of New York City with her successful husband and her two charming children. She is also on the verge of insanity. Her various mental disorders, her wavering physical health, and her sexual promiscuity permeate her diary entries, and are interwoven among descriptions of the seemingly normal and easy routine of a housewife. Betty Friedan, in writing the Feminine Mystique, describes the plight of millions of American women directly parallel to that of Bettina’s. Through her exhaustive research and interviews, Friedan documents extensive evidence of the adverse effects of â€Å"Occupation: Housewife.† The women she speaks with are all like Bettina: they lead desirable, healthy lives on the surface, and yet they are slowly deteriorating inside. Friedan discusses the effects of the unnatural and illogical mirage of femininity forced upon women, and analyzes why being just a housewife is not enough. Bettina’s situation will be analyzed through Friedan’s theories on the feminine mystique. Despite her misery, Bettina Balser is quite aware of how blessed she is to have the life of which millions of women can only dream. She begins her diary with a long catalogue of all of the things she should, in all reason, be grateful for: â€Å"Shall I say the obvious, the thing I’ve told myself every day for weeks- that I know I’m a Very Lucky Girl, and really must be crazy to get into the state I’m in these days, when I have everything A Girl Could Want? I have two bright, healthy, attractive children†¦ I have... ...e the nervous tics, the various phobias, the alcoholism, and the insomnia, Bettina survives through to the end of Diary of a Mad Housewife. Bettina made it through ten years of marriage in the inhumanly confining role as a housewife because she was able to hold on to ideas that made her Bettina Balser instead of just a housewife. Bettina is an outstanding woman when compared to the millions of women described by Friedan whose creativity and individuality was wasted on living solely as a wife and mother. However, Bettina also embodies the disastrous effects that the feminine mystique debilitated American women with during the 1950’s, as profoundly described by Betty Friedan in the Feminine Mystique. Works Cited Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Norton, 1963. Kaufman, Sue. Diary of a Mad Housewife. New York: Random House, 1967.

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