Published on March 8, 2014
THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE AND SOCIETY: A LOOK AT NEW MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS By Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D. Baylor Department of Journalism, PR & New Media
THE PROBLEM THAT HAS NO NAME Friedan described “the problem that has no name” or the widespread unhappiness of women who worked in the home in the 1950s and early 1960s. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
MEDIA MESSAGES Betty Friedan examined the role of various institutions in holding women back.
A CLOSER LOOK • • • • Feminist Theory Media Stereotypes Pinterest The Feminine Mystique 50 years later This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
FEMINIST THEORY The media function ideologically: • to reflect • to reinforce • to mediate existing power relations and ideas about how gender is and should be lived.
STEREOTYPES Stereotyping provides a way to acquire new knowledge. They are „mental cookie cutters.‟ This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
GENDER AND MEDIA Media are a part of materially based social relations that create a solidarity among men of all races and classes “who are united in their shared relationship of dominance over their women” (Hartmann, 1981, p. 14-15).
GENDER AND MEDIA Women are either invisible or stereotyped.
COMMON STEREOTYPES OF WOMEN Passive Submissive Dependent Source: www.topnews.in Source: www.internetweekly.org Source: www.flickr.com
Elderly Subtypes • The grandmotherly type is depicted as helpful, kindly, serene, severely impaired, vulnerable, shrewish, and needy. • The elder statesman is depicted as intelligent, competitive, handsome, aggressive, and intolerant Source: www.menshealth.co.uk Source: hoardingdiary.blogspot.com
ASIAN WOMEN Martial artists, obedient, beautiful, sexy and cunning. Source: MSNBC.com Usually end up with a white or non-Asian mate This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
LATINAS Sexy • • • • • Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons Passionate Argumentative Illiterate Domestic Childlike
BLACK WOMEN This is a poster for Waiting to Exhale. This is a poster for Diary of a Tired Black Man. Always Angry Overly Independent Jezebels Welfare Recipients
Arab & Muslim Women This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons Belly dancers, harem girls Cloaked and silent women
White Women Happy anorexic Kate Moss in Calvin Klein underwear campaign ad from 1990s. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons . Bimbo, Bombshell, Dumb Blonde Blondes have more fun! You not worth noticing unless you look like this! This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons . http://www.twiggylawson.co.uk/fashion.html
Why we care… Media send viewers, readers and listeners hidden messages that suggest a story’s importance, and ultimately people’s importance within society.
THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE TODAY Fifty years later as feminism enters into the fourth wave, the time is ripe to study the book‟s lasting impact on society.
THE ARTIFACTS A pool of 100 Pinterest pins found by searching the keywords "Betty Friedan and Feminine Mystique” Pinterest allows members to “pin” products and other material they like or want to remember along with a description on personalized boards.
PINTEREST Pins link to various products and services, and blog entries that discuss various topics
PINTEREST New York Times columnist Gail Collins helped kick off the 50 th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique with a spot titled, “Room for Debate.” The panel discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the ageless book.
DOES IT STILL ROAR? An NPR piece titled, “At 50, Does 'Feminine Mystique‟ Still Roar?” explores the book. The author states that she was surprised by Friedan‟s anger as she systematically laid out the case against a male-dominated society that was determined to keep women in their place. The article concludes that The Feminine Mystique is still relevant today especially when it comes to our “understanding of women and domesticity.” Leading supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment march in Washington on Sunday, July 9, 1978, urging Congress to extend the time for ratification of the ERA. From left: Gloria Steinem, Dick Gregory, Betty Friedan, Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, D-N.Y., Rep. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Rep. Margaret Heckler, R. Mass. Dennis Cook/AP
FOUR BIG PROBLEMS A pin featuring an article by The Atlantic focuses on “4 Big Problems with The Feminine Mystique.” Author Ashley Fetters highlights the views of black feminist theorists such as bell hooks, who assert that The Feminine Mystique ignored the black and lower-income women of the 20th century. skinlikehoney.blogspot.com policelink.monster.com
CONSUMERISM Many pins linked to products and services such as art, fashion, the actual book and T-shirts commemorating the Feminine Mystique. Pinners include booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.
ART Artist Samantha Hahn uses Pinterest to post pins of her exhibit titled, “Well-Read Women.” Her collection of watercolor portraits includes paintings of Daisy Buchanan, Ophelia, and other female leaders.
CONCLUSIONS Study findings illustrate the significant impact the text has had on society. • Pins discuss and critique feminism, and commemorate the five decades following the publishing of The Feminine Mystique. • Such activities keep alive valuable discussion on important women‟s issues.
SUMMARY Historical analyst Peter Dreier summarizes the book well in this statement: “The Feminine Mystique catalyzed the modern feminist movement, helped forever change Americans‟ attitudes about women‟s role in society and catapulted its author into becoming an influential and controversial public figure.” “It was not only a best-selling book, but also a manifesto for change. Most Americans now accept as normal the once-radical ideas that Friedan and others espoused.”
BIBLIOGRAPHY Atkins-Sayre, W. (2008). Reconceiving Motherhood: Second Wave Feminists Question the Maternal Role. Conference Papers -National Communication Association, 1. Avidar, R. (2009). Avidar, Research in brief: Social media, societal culture and Israeli public relations practice, Public Relations Review 35 (2009), pp. 437–439. Betty Friedan Biography. Encyclopedia of World Biographies. Accessed from http://www.notablebiographies.com/Fi-Gi/FriedanBetty.html Cady, K. A. (2009). Labor and Women's Liberation: Popular Readings of The Feminine Mystique. Women's Studies In Communication, 32(3), 348-379. Chang, A. (2012). Should You Care about Pinterest? Macworld, 29(6), 60–61. Coontz, S. (2011). A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. Dreier, P. Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique": 50 Years Later Sunday, 17 February 2013 Worldwide Hippies, Farhi, P. (2010). Lost in the Woods. American Journalism Review , 32(1). United States. Four Big Problems With 'The Feminine Mystique' Ashley Fetters FEB 12 2013, 8:11 AM ET. Several "grains of salt" deserve consideration in any discussion of the 50-year-old book's legacy. Galbraith, D. (2012). The path to Pinterest: Visual bookmarks and grid sites. Gigaom. http://gigaom.com/2012/05/28/the-path-topinterest-visual-bookmarks-and-grid-sites/ Kurs, K., & Cathcart, R. S. (1983). The Feminist Movement: Lesbian-Feminism as Confrontation. Women's Studies In Communication, 6(1), 12-23. Neary, L. (2013). “At 50, Does 'Feminine Mystique' Still Roar?” February 10, 2013 5:06 AM Siegel, D. (2011). A Strange Stirring: Test Your Feminine Mystique Cliche Quotient! Girl w/Pen. Accessed from http://thesocietypages.org/girlwpen/2011/02/01/a-strange-stirring-test-your-feminine-mystique-cliche-quotient/ Turner, L. H. (2013). The Feminine Mystique and Me: 50 Years of Intersections. Women & Language, 36(1), 67 -69. Walker, L. (n.d.). The Visual Bookmarks List. A Guide to the Web's Top Visual Bookmarking Sites. About.com. http://personalweb.about.com/od/contentsharing/a/Visual-Bookmarks-List.htm
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