THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE AND SOCIETY:
A LOOK AT NEW MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS

By Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D.
Baylor Department of J...
THE PROBLEM THAT HAS NO NAME
Friedan described “the problem that has no name” or the
widespread unhappiness of women who w...
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 f...
FEMINIST THEORY

The media function ideologically:
• to reflect
• to reinforce
• to mediate
existing power relations and i...
STEREOTYPES
Stereotyping provides a way to acquire new knowledge.
They are „mental cookie cutters.‟

This is a file from t...
GENDER AND MEDIA

Media are a part of materially based social relations that create a solidarity
among men of all races an...
GENDER AND MEDIA

Women are either invisible or
stereotyped.
COMMON STEREOTYPES OF
WOMEN
 Passive
 Submissive
 Dependent
Source: www.topnews.in

Source: www.internetweekly.org

Sou...
Elderly Subtypes
• The grandmotherly type is depicted as helpful, kindly, serene, severely
impaired, vulnerable, shrewish,...
ASIAN WOMEN

Martial artists, obedient, beautiful, sexy and cunning.

Source: MSNBC.com

Usually end up with a white or no...
LATINAS

Sexy
•
•
•
•
•

Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons

Passionate
Argumen...
BLACK WOMEN

This is a poster for Waiting to Exhale.
This is a poster for Diary of a Tired Black Man.

Always Angry

Overl...
Arab & Muslim Women

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
This is a file...
White Women

Happy
anorexic

Kate Moss in Calvin Klein underwear
campaign ad from 1990s.
This is a file from the Wikimedia...
Why we care…

Media send viewers, readers and listeners hidden messages
that suggest a story’s importance, and ultimately ...
THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE
TODAY

Fifty years later as feminism enters into the fourth wave, the time is ripe to
study the book...
THE ARTIFACTS

A pool of 100 Pinterest pins found by searching the keywords "Betty
Friedan and Feminine Mystique”
Pinteres...
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 spo...
DOES IT STILL ROAR?
An NPR piece titled, “At 50, Does 'Feminine Mystique‟ Still Roar?” explores the book.
The author state...
FOUR BIG PROBLEMS

A pin featuring an article by The Atlantic focuses on “4 Big Problems with
The Feminine Mystique.”
Auth...
CONSUMERISM

Many pins linked to products and services such as art, fashion, the actual
book and T-shirts commemorating th...
ART

Artist Samantha Hahn uses Pinterest to post pins of her exhibit titled,
“Well-Read Women.”
Her collection of watercol...
CONCLUSIONS

Study findings illustrate the significant impact the text has had
on society.
• Pins discuss and critique fem...
SUMMARY

Historical analyst Peter Dreier summarizes the book well in this statement:
“The Feminine Mystique catalyzed the ...
QUESTIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Atkins-Sayre, W. (2008). Reconceiving Motherhood: Second Wave Feminists Question the Maternal Role. Conferen...
The Feminist Mystique 50 Years Later
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The Feminist Mystique 50 Years Later

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This presentation explores the influence of Friedan's Feminist Mystique 50 Years Later. Specifically, it looks at Pinterest pins featuring the Feminine Mystique.

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  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is often credited with sparking the beginning of the second wave of feminism in the United States. Building upon the suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, 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.
  • Bettie Friedan realized the power of mass media messages and concluded that they were one institution, among many, that was holding women back. Examples include articles, advertisements and literature that depict women in a stereotypical manner.
  • To take a closer look at this type, I will explore four areas: feminist theory, stereotypes, Pinterest and the Feminine mystique 50 years later.
  • According to feminist theory, the media play a huge role in how women are viewed in society.Media messages reflect, reinforce, and mediate existing power relations and ideas about how gender is and should be lived.
  • Stereotypes provide a short cut and help us categorize people based on previous information without actually getting to know individuals for themselves. Stereotypes persist because they build group solidarity and creates an “us versus them” mentalityin other words, people feel better about themselves when they stereotype other groups----- Meeting Notes (10/24/13 13:12) -----create
  • Media coverage often follows the patriarchal paradigm as outlined by Hartmann (1981), who defines the model as a set 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” (1981, p. 14-15).
  • Early analyses found media deeply implicated in the patterns of discrimination operating against women, invisibility or gender stereotypes (e.g. Gallagher, 1981; Van Zoonen, 1994; hooks, 1992; Enriques, 2001; Krolokke & Sorensen, 2006).
  • Common stereotypes of women include the idea that they are dependent, submissive and passive. Mass media messages often characterize women as dependent on males, which can include husbands, fathers, brothersNegative images include the spinster - unmarried womenBall and chain – or the idea that women need men more than they need women.
  • Older women are often the target of negative stereotypes.Although ageism is found cross-culturally, it is especially prevalent in the United States, where most people regard growing older with depression, fear, and anxiety.which stereotypes do you find the most flattering?
  • While some racial and ethnic groups are stereotyped more than others -- All groups are stereotyped to some extent.
  • racial stereotypes target all groups at some level.
  • Latinasoften cast asillegal aliens unable to speak proper English. They are also depicted as housekeepers, sex objects and cast as someone's girlfriend or mother. they are rarely the main characters.
  • Black women are perhaps stereotyped more than any other group. Even the positive portrayal of an independent women becomes negative as she is viewed as superhuman and unable to have a meaningful relationship with males. Other popular long-standing stereotypes include the welfare mother, the mammy and the jezebel.
  • Arab and Muslim women are often depicted using dichotomous stereotypes. They are either cloaked and silent or sexy and daring. there is no in between.They are depicted in either one extreme or the other
  • White women are often stereotyped as blonde bimbos, passive and ill-equipped to survive on their own. There is also the idea that white women are only valuable if they are attractive, thin and sexually attractive.
  • We care about media portrayals becauseif we can relegate women to narrow, negative stereotypes, than we can rationalize mistreating them in society. Which is what has happened, particularly with women of color.
  • This next section of my presentation will address “The Feminine Mystique” on the web by looking at Pinterest pins.My research uncovered Pinterest links to blogs, art and criticism on the book.
  • The artifacts for analysis consisted of a pool of 100 Pinterest pins found by searching the keywords "Betty Friedan and Feminine Mystique” in October of 2013. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, the platform allows members to pin products that they like. The pins are usually attached to a website or blog about the topic represented in the pin.
  • Pinterest users used the term, “Feminine Mystique,” to sell products ranging sexy lingerie to high fashion. if you type in feminine mystique on Pinterest, this is what you will pull up.
  • The panel included notable feminists who explored the book in the 21st Century.
  • It includes an interview with Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, who was in her 20s when she first read the book (Neary, 2013). This is a photo that was included in the blog entry. it features Gloria Steinem, Dick Gregory and Betty Friedan among other feminists.
  • Author Ashley Fetters explores what she calls several “grains of salt” that deserve consideration in any discussion of the 50-year-old book's legacy.Anotherpin linked to a blog entry that debunked myths about the book.For example, one of the myths about the book was ‘Friedan hated men,’” she said. “The truth is she was actually a flirt.”People often assume the book encourages women to forsake family life, but that is not true.“She was enlightening women,” Moody-Ramirez said. “She was showing there was more out there if they were unfulfilled.”
  • Consumerism is a live and well on Pinterest. Many of the pins link to items that individuals are selling.Many pins link to items that can be purchased such as T-shirts, books, clothing and makeup.The book is displayed with many different colors including one with embroidered letters.
  • Feminine Mystique Artist Samantha Hahn uses Pinterest to post pins featuring her paintings that depict the triumphs and sorrows of literature’s finest heroines in an exhibit titled, “Well-Read Women. ”In her collection of evocative watercolor portraits, the artist shares paintings of Daisy Buchanan, Ophelia, and five more leaders.
  • The text’s migration to new forms of media such as Pinterest is a testimony to its importance as it continues to shape the lives of women in the 21st Century.Social media provides a platform to discuss feminist ideas and to expose this book to a whole new generation of woman.The fact that people are still blogging and writing about the topic 50 years later demonstrates that it has had a lasting impact on society,
  • The Feminist Mystique 50 Years Later

    1. 1. THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE AND SOCIETY: A LOOK AT NEW MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS By Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D. Baylor Department of Journalism, PR & New Media
    2. 2. 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
    3. 3. MEDIA MESSAGES Betty Friedan examined the role of various institutions in holding women back.
    4. 4. A CLOSER LOOK • • • • Feminist Theory Media Stereotypes Pinterest The Feminine Mystique 50 years later This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
    5. 5. 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.
    6. 6. STEREOTYPES Stereotyping provides a way to acquire new knowledge. They are „mental cookie cutters.‟ This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
    7. 7. 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).
    8. 8. GENDER AND MEDIA Women are either invisible or stereotyped.
    9. 9. COMMON STEREOTYPES OF WOMEN  Passive  Submissive  Dependent Source: www.topnews.in Source: www.internetweekly.org Source: www.flickr.com
    10. 10. 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
    11. 11. 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
    12. 12. LATINAS Sexy • • • • • Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons Passionate Argumentative Illiterate Domestic Childlike
    13. 13. 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
    14. 14. 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
    15. 15. 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
    16. 16. Why we care… Media send viewers, readers and listeners hidden messages that suggest a story’s importance, and ultimately people’s importance within society.
    17. 17. 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.
    18. 18. 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.
    19. 19. PINTEREST Pins link to various products and services, and blog entries that discuss various topics
    20. 20. 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.
    21. 21. 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
    22. 22. 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
    23. 23. 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.
    24. 24. 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.
    25. 25. 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.
    26. 26. 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.”
    27. 27. QUESTIONS
    28. 28. 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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