Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Brenda Marston, curator of the pioneering Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University Library, comments on the cultural revolution fueled by Betty Friedan’s work “The Feminine Mystique,” published 50 years ago this month.
“‘The Feminine Mystique’ expressed a widespread malaise and discontent that women in America were feeling, in a way that resonated with so may people. Betty Friedan expressed something that had really never been said before. It led to a defining characteristic of the next phase of the feminist movement: consciousness-raising groups, women analyzing what was happening in their own personal lives and getting together with other women to talk about it and do something about the discontent they were feeling, the lack of fulfillment, the lack of engagement in the work world.
“These groups were the fuel for the women's movement. They set it aflame. Everything that grew out of the women's movement, including the creation of women's studies programs; ‘The Feminine Mystique’ created a spark that reverberated through everything.
“Other liberation movements felt it, too. So many things were going on in parallel and overlapping – the civil rights movement, the lesbian and gay liberation movement.”
Contact the Press Relations Office for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.