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University of West Alabama The World Split Open HY 517 July 8, 2010 Christopher Andrew Reid
NOW’s “Statement of . It is central for Rosen’s narrative to establish the conditions to which women were subject to well into the 1950’s. Beyond this chronological narrative. Rosen not only establishes the conditions in which women were confined to but also explores the actions of early activists to understand their motivation and subsequent actions.2 Ruth Rosen embarks on a mission to capture the essence of the modern women’s movement in America. The Feminine Mystique. The World Split Open. which Rosen concludes was a byproduct of the conditions that already existed and according to Rosen the changing roles of women in America caused the feminine mystique to “become more of a myth than fact” (35). Rosen presents a well researched study which presents both personal and secondary accounts of the women’s movement. Rosen blends the injustice to which women were subject while also illustrating the strains of resistance that were emerging among women. Rosen documents the discontent felt by women and their newfound resolve that led them to fight for equality. Rosen also explores a topical study of the women’s movement which range from the diversity within the movement to the transforming definitions that encompassed feminism. Within this narrative. Rosen displays how these conditions were embraced by Betty Friedan’s book. Rosen displays hot the actions of early activists such as Betty Friedan and her creation of the National Organization of Women led to a distinct women’s movement separate from traditional liberal politics. In her book. Rosen offers a narrative which chronicles the plight of women in the 1950’s to the emerging and later the evolution of the women’s movement throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. she also documents the infancy of the modern’s women movement through the changing roles that were beginning to form throughout the country. Rosen notes that the creation of NOW “acknowledged that liberal political culture was inadequate to address the reality of women’s lives” (75). Furthermore.
at different times” (138). Rosen also notes how other organizations began to be affected by the women’s movement such as the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC) as well as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). However. she looks at the women’s movement with the perspective of one who fought many of the battles. And many straight women feared lesbians’ condemnation” (171). Rosen particularly notes the schism between straight activists and lesbian activists to which she notes “some lesbians feared straight women’s disapproval. These issues enveloped equal pay. Rosen details how the movement began to fragment as time progressed. and the overall goals of the women’s movement. Women were often belittled and demeaned in these organizations which espoused moralistic ideologies. The rivalry that emerged between Friedan and Gloria Steinem illustrates the level of paranoia that had emerged throughout the development of the women’s movement. Rosen provides an interesting look at the women’s movement but does lack some necessary components. child care.3 Purpose” challenged America to address the issue of women’s equality. Ruth Rosen does not present a transcending thesis with her book. This . Rather. Perhaps the most obvious is her primary focus on the white middle class women’s movement. as well as freedom of choice for mothers. While she does provide some perspective on different groups. “women exited the male Left in their own ways. A schism developed between older activists and younger activists which led to different beliefs about the role of activists. the significance of equal rights for lesbians. She also explores the distrust to which many women shared for one another. As Rosen documents. this analysis does not do minority women adequate justice to the multiple layers of discrimination that they often battled. Despite the unity that the women’s movement shared.
. Anyone who reads this book should find it a wonderful supplement for understanding the women’s movement.4 perspective allows her to blend the personal accounts with more broad analysis which details the struggles that have been fought and also those ahead.