|50th Anniversary of Feminine Mystique Press Release|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Virginia Rutter
firstname.lastname@example.org / 206-375-4139
FEMINISM AND FAMILIES TODAY: WHAT’S THE NEW MYSTIQUE?
On the 50th Anniversary of The Feminine Mystique, Council on Contemporary Families Scholars identify what’s changed—and what hasn’t
MIAMI, February 19, 2013— In 1963, when Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, “most Americans did not yet believe that gender equality was possible or even desirable,” according to Stephanie Coontz, Council on Contemporary Families Co-Chair and author of A Strange Stirring, a study of why so many women responded to Friedan’s book. Nowadays most people believe in gender equality, but stereotypes still get in the way of acting on those beliefs, as a panel of experts on sex, African American women, marriage, housework, Latina youth, motherhood, and lesbians document in a new online symposium for the Council on Contemporary Families marking the 50th anniversary of the book.
Coontz opens the symposium with four myths about Betty Friedan and feminism:
Additional brief essays offer original perspectives on youth, sex, African American women, lesbians, Latinas, and motherhood.
“The Youth and Beauty Mystique: Its Costs for Women and Men” by Paula England notes that as men age, they have a wider choice of marriage partners, but this can backfire even for men because the younger spouse—whether a man or a woman—is more likely to seek a divorce.
“Sexual Mystiques: Do we still like it old school?” by Virginia Rutter points out that when it comes to sexual fantasies, people continue to be more old-fashioned than they claim to be.
“The UNFEMININE Mystique: Stereotypes about African-American Women” by Shirley Hill argues that black women are subject to an “‘unfeminine mystique’ – the idea that they have characteristics and embrace lifestyles that are outside the boundaries of ‘real’ womanhood.”
“Lesbian Mystiques” by Judith A. Howard recognizes the remarkable change in the status of gays and lesbians in the past 50 years. Once invisible —or even condemned, including by Friedan—lesbians have not only won new public acceptance but have broadened their own self-images and definitions.
“Latinas' Mystique” by Lorena Garcia, explains her study of Mexican American and Puerto Rican adolescents, Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself: Latina Girls and Sexual Identity, and the distorted image of how much impact culture influences girls’ lives.
“The Rise of the Motherhood Mystique” by Cameron Macdonald draws upon her research for Shadow Mothers; Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering to explain “Today women’s work outside of the home is often necessary and desirable. But we are a long way from the gender equity Friedan advocated. A new Motherhood Mystique has replaced the Feminine Mystique. Where the marital relationship was the core of the family unit in the 1950s and 1960s, today the mother-child bond is primary.”
Link to this press release here.
CCF and how CCF assists journalists: The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of family researchers, mental health and social practitioners, and clinicians dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best practice findings about American families. It was founded in 1996 and is based at the University of Miami. For more information, or to receive future fact sheets and briefing papers from the Council, contact Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair and Director of Research and Public Education of CCF and Professor of History and Family Studies at The Evergreen State College.email@example.com; 360-352-8117.
Journalists are invited to register for CCF’s annual conference. “Immigrant Families as They Really Are,” will be held April 5-6, 2013, at the University of Miami. A full program is available here. Despite the importance of immigration for the well-being of our nation, the average American has a very limited and predominantly negative view of immigrants. This conference brings together national immigrant family researchers and local immigration practitioners to discuss some of the intricacies of immigrant families and the challenges they face as they carve their way into American society. The conference includes panel discussions on youth well-being and international adoption, parenting and intimate relationships, fertility, sexuality, and partner selection, dynamics of transnational families, and the cultural adaptation and implementation of evidence-based interventions to assist immigrant families in need.
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