“The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—‘Is this all?’”
This is the opening paragraph of The Feminine Mystique (W.W. Norton, 592 pp., $25.95), which the late Betty Friedan published 50 years ago this month. The feminine mystique, she wrote, “says that the highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity.” This was, Friedan argued, what kept a generation of educated women at home, raising children in the suburbs, endlessly cleaning house, tranquilizing themselves with new kitchen appliances, alcohol and affairs in order to kill the existential dread this emptiness brought on. It was, according to Friedan, propagated by psychologists, sociologists, ad men, magazine editors, religious leaders and college presidents. And, if her interviews with women were to be believed, it was widespread and suffocating. Rise up and throw it over, Friedan said. Get to work, and stop viewing college as a marriage market.
off the record
Last Tuesday, Slate DoubleX founding editor Hanna Rosin and New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins sat down before a packed house at the New America Foundation to discuss Ms. Rosin’s long-anticipated book, The End of Men, due out September 11 from Riverhead.
As the two journalists tried to explain the persistent wage and power gap between men and women in America, their conversation returned again and again to our more progressive friends in California and Scandinavia.
College, Lower Education
“You’re the third person to contact me about this this week!” Gail Collins said through laughter when we reached her at her desk at The New York Times.
Each May, the city’s colleges compete to attract the brightest celebrity wattage to their commencement ceremonies. How did they fare this year? You be the judge.
VIEW SLIDESHOW > SAGESSE FROM THE STARS
Literati packed into Gail Collins’s shabby-chic Morningside Heights apartment on the evening on Wednesday, June 17 to celebrate the launch of J. Courtney Sullivan’s debut novel, Commencement, set largely at the author’s alma mater, Smith College. Ms. Sullivan, who previously penned Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find A Quality Man, was the Read More
There’s a strict caste system for press passes in Denver. There’s the perimeter pass, which gets you inside the general media area, which takes up a large portion of the parking lot to the Pepsi Center; a hall pass which gets you inside the Pepsi Center, but only throughout the concourse; and then there’s the Read More
An overheated Times columnist Gail Collins was leaving Media Pavilion 4 and heading to a port-a-potty when she stopped for a few minutes to chat. She said she was going to do some reporting, but she was only going armed with a notebook and tape recorder.
"I’ve been carrying around the laptop for 2 Read More
On June 22, the Times public editor Clark Hoyt had a few words for the Times’ Maureen Dowd for several primary-season columns that disparaged Hillary Clinton. "Even [Ms. Dowd], I think, by assailing Clinton in gender-heavy terms in column after column, went over the top this election season."
So two days ago, current Read More
We’d just like to have more and more and more,” said Andrew Rosenthal, the New York Times editorial-page editor.
Mr. Rosenthal was discussing the newspaper’s opinion content on the Web—whether from name-brand op-ed columnists or outside contributors, blogs or video.
“We’ve got composers, astronomers—the guy from Queen,” Mr. Rosenthal said by phone April 9. He Read More
The New York Times announced this afternoon that deputy editorial-page editor Andrew Rosenthal will replace Gail Collins as editorial-page editor January 1. The annoucement quotes publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. calling Rosenthal “a born editorial writer.”
And how! The release describes Rosenthal’s journalistic background, including stints as a Washington correspondent, Denver bureau reporter and Read More