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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique ignited a revolution that profoundly changed our culture, our consciousness, and our lives. Today it newly penetrates to the heart of issues determining our lives - and sounds a call to arms against the very real dangers of a new feminine mystique. The underlying issues raised by Betty Friedan strike at the core of the problems women still face at home and in the marketplace. As women continue to struggle for equality, to keep their hard-won gains, to find fulfillment in their careers, marriages, and families, The Feminine Mystique remains the seminal consciousness-raising work of our times.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Betty Friedan's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Naomi Wolf about the life and work of Betty Friedan – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©2001 Betty Friedan (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[ The Feminine Mystique] now feels both revolutionary and utterly contemporary....Four decades later, millions of individual transformations later, there is still so much to learn from this book....Those who think of it as solely a feminist manifesto ought to revisit its pages to get a sense of the magnitude of the research and reporting Friedan undertook." (Anna Quindlen)
"If you want to understand what has happened to American women over the last half-century, their extraordinary journey from Doris Day to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and beyond, you have to start with this book." ( The New York Times Magazine)
"One of those rare books we are endowed with only once in several decades." (Amitai Etzioni)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Anthony
  • Norwalk, CA, United States
  • 01-23-15

A landmark book of its time and relevant now

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is a landmark book of its time, and it is still relevant for all women today. This book describes the early 20th century turning of women from vital human beings, who were fulfilled by higher education and work, into a mystique that proved to be a mix of self-suppression and repression, which eventually was supported by society at large and by women themselves.

How did women go from being over 50% of university educated people in the 1900’s through 1930’s to a human being who was supposed to be dedicated to others who gained her sense of self-worth and fulfillment from serving and giving up her own personhood? How did this effect the women themselves, and their family? How did it affect the age at which women married?

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, how did women, who while society was telling them that they should be happy, start breaking out of the mold of the feminine mystique.

How damaging was the illusion of the feminine mystique to women themselves, husbands, daughters, and sons? How does this affect us today?

How was this related to profit? There was a lot of profit to be made at the expense of the wellbeing of women. This is still true.


I highly recommend that everyone read this book.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Eyeopening

Smooth, interesting and eyeopening. It definitely got me reflecting, it will take a few weeks to finish digesting it. Performance is good, calm and factual and doesn't get in the way of the narrative at all. I recommend this audiobook.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great material - poorly read

This is a classic, though it is dated. A number of facts that were true in the 1950s are no longer true today, such as large numbers of college bound women marrying in their teens and having large numbers of children. What stands out about this ebook is the poor quality of the reading. Pauses are frequently inserted in places that don't make sense, and the passion is simply missing.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jodie
  • Laurel, IN, United States
  • 02-24-11

Poor Parker

Parker Posey ruined this book. I have loved the Feminine Mystique since I first read it in high school. I was so excited to experience it again as an adult. But Posey ruined everything about the book. Her mono-tones. Her lack of emotion. She could have been reading the side of a tampon box! Skip this one!!

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Most boring narration

A seminal book which is still highly relevant. The narrator however is dull, boring and uninspired. If you suffer from insomnia, this recording will help put you to sleep, instantaneously.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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And a great surprise interview at the end!

There aren't enough to thank you's in the world for Betty Freidan for writing this. Though some of the content is dated (i.e. The description of homosexuality as a mental disorder), there's a lot of it that rings true still, with women still 23 cents per dollar below men's earnings. Foundational and well researched, and well narrated too.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Cheimon
  • New York, NY USA
  • 11-21-14

Important first-hand report from the past

At its most basic, The Feminine Mystique read today is a reminder of how fundamentally our society has changed in two short generations, how many perspectives, mindsets and ambitions we take for granted today that might have been deemed actually harmful or even dangerous only sixty years ago. (Of course, it is equally stunning how many of the questions Friedan poses remain open today, though that is more general knowledge.)

Sadly, the narration is not up to par. I wish they had chosen a professional narrator instead of a celebrity. Ms. Posey's voice lacks inflection and is often too casual. A few odd direction/editing choices don't help either.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Patti
  • Suwanee, GA, United States
  • 07-02-11

Narration

It was difficult to enjoy this book, the narrator was quite poor and sing-song in her tone. Would have enjoyed the content of the book but finally gave up due to poor narration.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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HUMAN BEINGS FIRST

By writing–women are human beings first–, Betty Friedan speaks truth to power. Friedan’s theme in The Feminine Mystique attempts to enlighten thick-headed males and doubting women about the equality of human beings. It is sad to realize that such a banal and obvious statement as “women are human beings first” so perfectly exposes the ignorance of prejudice.

Every rational human being has a brain that functions in the same way. This is not to suggest that genetics do not matter. It is not to suggest that environment does not matter. It suggests that sexual function, color of one’s skin, and culture are outside influences that create prejudice while the brain is an infinitely malleable organ that carries the potential for genius as well as stupidity.

Freidan’s concern is that women are not treated as equals even though women are approximately equal-in-number to men. Things have changed since 1963 but equality remains a work-in-process. Of the fortune 500 companies in the United States, only 25 have female CEOs. Women doing the same job as men in 2010 receive $.81 for every $1 paid to men, a 19% difference. Though house work is shared more now than in the 1960s, women work 18 hours a week homemaking while men work 10 hours a week (according to a PEW Research Study in 2011); i.e. the greatest burden remains with women. Without meaning to argue that the glass is half empty rather than half full, the revolution exemplified by Freidan’s book is incomplete. Many people continue to fight for equality of all human beings but many men and women continue to resist; to the detriment of society.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 05-12-14

Way too long

What did you like best about The Feminine Mystique? What did you like least?

A thought provoking manifesto that really did provoke thought. By the end of the second half though I was done. It got way too repetitive, needlessly argumentative and politically tedious.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I didnt get to the end. Parker Posey was just terrible.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Parker Posey?

Meryl Streep. I have heard other titles narrated by Streep and think she would have been a lot more appropriate.

Any additional comments?

Parker Posey... her constant mispronunciation of words, her mono tone, her apathetic meter. I thought she would bring a hip, youthful passion to the work but she made it unbearable.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim R. Dawson
  • 08-22-16

Very interesting book - enjoyable performance

I often struggle with non fiction. I tend to find it unengaging and difficult to digest. However, Friedan's work is so grounded, so rooted in statistic and real life examples that it makes it perhaps not easily digestable but palatable with very little chewing.

Very small point on the delivery - the reader can slightly over pronounce her 's' and 'sh' sounds. When I was listening on my headphones, it had a tendency to give me a headache, but this may just be me being overly sensitive!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-11-15

a brilliant book boringly narrated

this is a really interesting and important book in feminist thought. something about the narration on this audible product is hard to listen to. she is very monotone which sends you to sleep, but also she has this conflict/retaliatory tone which makes the monologue sound aggressive.

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  • MissMetalNeen
  • 05-07-14

To bad so many women are going backwards

What made the experience of listening to The Feminine Mystique the most enjoyable?

Parker Posey was a fantastic choice, she is amazing.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Its hard to believe that with all of our advances so many women are still falling for the feminine mystic.
I found it so hard to come to terms that women have fought so hard for rights, rights now it seems women today take for granted with the re immergence of the 50's style house wife. I cringe when I hear someone call themselves a 'wifey'. Or when I watch a friend a change herself into someone else for a man. These women would roll in their graves.

I needed to read this book to be reminded of all that was fought for.

It was actually sickening to me listening to the chapters on advertising fuelling womens need or wants to be fulfilled because its rampant today. That has not changed and until reading this book I had never even thought to think of where it may have stemmed from.

This book has made me want to learn more on the women's movement.

I was completely overwhelmed and awed at times during this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sasha Ong
  • 05-22-18

An important text

This text is pivotal in any woman's basic education on herself and the world she inhabits. It is a text that does not encourage you to discard men or to become the extreme caricature of feminism, it encourages women to question their place in their own minds. I re-explore this text every ten years to remind myself of the image we buy into without our knowledge. This text is as important to men as it is women, to truely understand how their lives are negatively impacted by not encouraging women to be their most bravest selves. This text is empowering to encourage women to push themselves to pursue their life's meaning and purpose outside of child bearing and pursuit of relationships for their happiness.

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  • William
  • 12-03-15

"The problem that has no name" is depression

What disappointed you about The Feminine Mystique?

I felt like the author was sobbing whilst she was writing.

What was most disappointing about Betty Friedan’s story?

It's too one sided. In her misery she's over looked the other side of her arguments.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I wish she'd cheer up! She should be less sensational. She's like a really depressing tabloid newspaper. She should use less emotional words.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Misery, depression.

Any additional comments?

It was an influential book in its time. I don't entirely agree with the political agenda but I like to try to listen every point view. for this reason I've started many books, and returned them. I only got 3 chapters into this one. I wish I could return this book, but I've returned too many books, and I'm stuck with this misery of a book!

1 of 4 people found this review helpful