NOTE: Free essay sample provided on this page should be used for references or sample purposes only. The sample essay is available to anyone, so any direct quoting without mentioning the source will be considered plagiarism by schools, colleges and universities that use plagiarism detection software. To get a completely brand-new, plagiarism-free essay, please use our essay writing service.
One click instant price quote
Response Paper Betty Friedan is considered to be one of the leading feminist philosophers. Her ideas, expressed in Feminine Mystique, are very good example of how biological perversity gets to be described in terms of being normal and even necessary. Basically, Friedan says that the difference between men and women has no role in defining the historical process. In her view, the notion of womens role in society is socially motivated and has nothing to do with two genders being biologically different. Friedan's endless rant about the social injustice, related to the issue of gender, is focused on the fact that, according to her, women were never able to fully realize its intellectual potential, because men always dominated politically: The problem that has no name which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease (Friedan, p. 6) This idea is not original feminists always tended to credit genders issue with foremost importance, ignoring scientific data that proves them to be wrong. Betty Friedan is no exception she wants to appear logical, yet shes doing a poor job.
We get to realize her true motivations for promoting feminism when she explains the psychological complex of feminine inferiority in terms of Freudian theory: The castration-complex in the girl, as well, is started by the sight of the genital organs of the other sex. She immediately notices the difference and, it must be admitted, its significance. She feels herself at a great disadvantage, and often declares that she would like to have something like that too and falls a victim to penis envy (Friedan, p. 203). In my opinion, feminism derives from this penis envy, which can be thought of in terms of psychological deficiency. Friedan suggests that penis envy is felt by majority of women, while in fact, this is far from truth. According to Friedan, it is not only that our view of historical process needs to be corrected, in order to eliminate badness towards women, but also the whole principle of attributing psychological differences to men and women needs to be disposed with, as discriminatory.
This, of course is a very dangerous way of thinking, because if Friedan's idea is followed, it will inevitably lead to the undermining of social stability. It is not by mere accident that the radical feminism is associated with left-wing radicalism. They derive from each other, because they share the same spiritual foundation physical and mental inadequacy of their founders. Gender refers to the historical and cultural constructions of roles assigned to the biological differences and attributes of men and women this phrase is the key to understanding Friedan's concept of history. She adopts skepticism, as philosophical method, to analyze surrounding reality. Notions of social nature have a relative value to her, as being heavily influenced by peoples perception.
The notion of traditional roles, assigned to genders, is nothing but a sexist idea she asserts that peoples nature is genderless, and, therefore, our modern politically correct society needs to part with this notion, as such that undermines womens social importance. The main fallacy of her concepts is the fact that, while trying to sound rational, Friedan appears to be overly idealistic, when she deals with issues that, according to her, need to be addressed from the position of pure logic. She talks of behavioral differences between men and women as being assigned to them socially. In another words, it is the society that makes women being emotional and irrational, while masculine virtues are associated with the power of logic. The truth is men can mentally detach themselves from their penises. Therefore, men are only sexual from time to time, which allows them to engage in other activities and gain excellence in them, while women are always sexual.
Their whole lives revolve around sex and this is exactly the reason why, according to social surveys, 70 % of women in USA watch soap operas. This is because, in soap operas, it is the sexual tension that defines characters behavior. Women look at the world through lenses of sex. Therefore, only women can be described as sexist, in the true sense of this word.
This is the main reason why women were unable to gain social prominence and not because of their suppression by men. Even Friedan understands this fact, although she talks about it in negative connotation: Normal femininity is achieved, however, only in so far as the woman finally renounces all active goals of her own, all her own originality, to identify and fulfill herself through the activities and goals of husband, or son (Friedan, p. 215). Nowadays, feminism, as social philosophy, has lost much of its credibility, because of its failure to become womens philosophy. Despite all of its efforts to liberate women, majority of them simply dont want to be freed from male dominance.
This effectively proves that biological factors are only the ones that truly define relation between men and women. Friedan insists that: history's representations of the past construct gender for the present, meaning that the social roles, assigned to two genders, are the products of historical voluntarism. Yet in my opinion, Friedan just deals with her own personal problem of feeling inadequate, because of her gender. Like every other feminist, she simply hides her psychological inadequacy behind shallow philosophizing, which describes thousands of years of evolution as having taken the wrong course. In the light of recent discoveries in biology, which effectively prove differences between genders, on molecular level, Friedan's feminist views cannot be considered as having any value by an educated individual. It appears that many promoters of feminism, including Friedan, were dealing with deep-seated psychological complexes.
Basically, we talk of men being trapped in womens bodies. Even Friedan's appearance short haircut, absence of make up, aversion to wearing skirts, give away her true motivation for promoting feminine awareness. At the same time, we cannot deny the fact that Friedan did a fair amount of researching. Despite the obvious logical fallacies, found in her book, it cannot be denied an academic legitimacy. The irony lies in the fact that Feminine Mystique should be studied in the context of psychological inadequacy, rather then in the context of feminist gender awareness.
Yet, despite her obvious inability to master her own chaotic style of thinking, Friedan was able to come up to a few conclusions, which contradict the idea of feminism, as we know it: It is not in the capacity of the female organism to attain feelings of well-being by the route of male achievement. It was the error of the feminists that they attempted to put women on the essentially male road of exploit, off the female road of nurture (Friedan, p. 250). In our time, the feminism is being usually described as valid socio-political doctrine. This is because it is strongly associated with Liberalism, which has achieved an ideological dominance. Yet, in my opinion, this doctrine is more about wishful thinking than about anything else. Therefore, it is being disregarded by the majority of credible historians and philosophers.
People traditionally relate it to the hysterical housewives, whose sexual frustration leads them to believe that something is seriously wrong with the world. There is no question that, at one point, feminism was able to gain a strong political influence. But, just like any other political doctrine, based on false assumptions, it didnt take too long for the feminism to loose its public appeal. Even though that feminism seems to be having another upsurge nowadays, it will inevitably fail, just like it did before, because it is unnatural worldview. The society can only function effectively, as a whole, when its structural integrity remains intact. One can go great length, defying the laws of nature, but these laws will still have the final word, in the end.
Bibliography: Anderson, Margaret and Collins, Patricia. Race, Class and Gender. New York: Black Feminist Thought. Routledge, 1991.
Friedan, Betty Feminine Mystique. New York: Dell Publishing Company. 1963. Gaunlett, David. Media, Gender and Identity. 2002.
Media Gender and Identity Web Site. 6 Dec. 2006 web Hope, Landing, . Bringing Cultural Diversity to Feminist Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice. Wash. , D. C. : American Psychological Association. 1995 Sugar, Dana. Separatism and Women's Community.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1995.
Free research essays on topics related to: media gender and identity, physical and mental, betty friedan, men and women, feminine mystique
Research essay sample on Men And Women Media Gender And Identity