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Daze of Our Wives

Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique
by Beth Impson

When I first encountered Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, at the height of its influence in the 1970s, I kept thinking, “Who are these women?” My mother and her friends were not “desperate housewives”: secret alcoholics and adulterers, trying to escape the boredom of their non-wage-earning lives. They did not spend all day cleaning house, nor did they smother us because they needed to live vicariously through our lives. Their own lives were rich and interesting and useful, and I wanted more than anything to be like them.

Later I wondered even more about the Friedan gospel: . . .

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Beth Impson is Professor of English at Bryan College (named for William Jennings Bryan) in Dayton, Tennessee, and the author of Called to Womanhood (Crossway). She and her husband have five children and eleven grandchildren and attend Grace Bible Church.

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