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The Feminine Mystique


The Feminine Mystique is a nonfiction book by Betty Friedan first published in 1963. It is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States.


In 1957, Friedan was asked to conduct a survey of her former Smith College classmates for their 15th anniversary reunion; the results, in which she found that many of them were unhappy with their lives as housewives, prompted her to begin research for The Feminine Mystique, conducting interviews with other suburban housewives, as well as researching psychology, media, and advertising. She originally intended to publish an article on the topic, not a book, but no magazine would publish her article.



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The Feminine Mystique begins with an introduction describing what Friedan called "the problem that has no name"—the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950s and early 1960s. It discusses the lives of several housewives from around the United States who were unhappy despite living in material comfort and being happily married with fine children.


Chapter 1: Friedan points out that the average age of marriage was dropping and the birthrate was increasing for women throughout the 1950s, yet the widespread unhappiness of women persisted, although American culture insisted that fulfillment for women could be found in marriage and housewifery; this chapter concludes by declaring "We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: 'I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.'"


Chapter 2: Friedan shows that the editorial decisions concerning women's magazines were being made mostly by men, who insisted on stories and articles that showed women as either happy housewives or unhappy, neurotic careerists, thus creating the "feminine mystique"—the idea that women were naturally fulfilled by devoting their lives to being housewives and mothers. Friedan notes that this is in contrast to the 1930s, at which time women's magazines often featured confident and independent heroines, many of whom were involved in careers.


Chapter 3: Friedan recalls her own decision to conform to society's expectations by giving up her promising career in psychology to raise children, and shows that other young women still struggled with the same kind of decision. Many women dropped out of school early to marry, afraid that if they waited too long or became too educated, they would not be able to attract a husband.


Chapter 4: Friedan discusses early American feminists and how they fought against the assumption that the proper role of a woman was to be solely a wife and mother. She notes that they secured important rights for women, including education, the right to pursue a career, and the right to vote.


Chapter 5: Friedan, who had a degree in psychology, criticizes Sigmund Freud (whose ideas were very influential in America at the time of her book's publication). She notes that Freud saw women as childlike and as destined to be housewives, once pointing out that Freud wrote, "I believe that all reforming action in law and education would break down in front of the fact that, long before the age at which a man can earn a position in society, Nature has determined woman’s destiny through beauty, charm, and sweetness. Law and custom have much to give women that has been withheld from them, but the position of women will surely be what it is: in youth an adored darling and in mature years a loved wife." Friedan also points out that Freud's unproven concept of "penis envy" had been used to label women who wanted careers as neurotic, and that the popularity of Freud's work and ideas elevated the "feminine mystique" of female fulfillment in housewifery into a "scientific religion" that most women were not educated enough to criticize.[10]


Chapter 6: Friedan criticizes functionalism, which attempted to make the social sciences more credible by studying the institutions of society as if they were parts of a social body, as in biology. Institutions were studied in terms of their function in society, and women were confined to their sexual biological roles as housewives and mothers and told that doing otherwise would upset the social balance. Friedan points out that this is unproven and that Margaret Mead, a prominent functionalist, had a flourishing career as an anthropologist.


Chapter 7: Friedan discusses the change in women's education from the 1940s to the early 1960s, in which many women's schools concentrated on non-challenging classes that focused mostly on marriage, family, and other subjects deemed suitable for women, as educators influenced by functionalism felt that too much education would spoil women's femininity and capacity for sexual fulfillment. Friedan says that this change in education arrested girls in their emotional development at a young age, because they never had to face the painful identity crisis and subsequent maturation that comes from dealing with many adult challenges.


Chapter 8: Friedan notes that the uncertainties and fears during World War II and the Cold War made Americans long for the comfort of home, so they tried to create an idealized home life with father as the breadwinner and mother as the housewife. Friedan notes that this was helped along by the fact that many of the women who worked during the war filling jobs previously filled by men faced dismissal, discrimination, or hostility when the men returned, and that educators blamed over-educated, career-focused mothers for the maladjustment of soldiers in World War II. Yet as Friedan shows, later studies found that overbearing mothers, not careerists, were the ones who raised maladjusted children.


Chapter 9: Friedan shows that advertisers tried to encourage housewives to think of themselves as professionals who needed many specialized products in order to do their jobs, while discouraging housewives from having actual careers, since that would mean they would not spend as much time and effort on housework and therefore would not buy as many household products, cutting into advertisers' profits.


Chapter 10: Friedan interviews several full-time housewives, finding that although they are not fulfilled by their housework, they are all extremely busy with it. She postulates that these women unconsciously stretch their home duties to fill the time available, because the feminine mystique has taught women that this is their role, and if they ever complete their tasks they will become unneeded.


Chapter 11: Friedan notes that many housewives have sought fulfillment in sex, unable to find it in housework and children; Friedan notes that sex cannot fulfill all of a person's needs, and that attempts to make it do so often drive married women to have affairs or drive their husbands away as they become obsessed with sex.


Chapter 12: Friedan discusses the fact that many children have lost interest in life or emotional growth, attributing the change to the mother's own lack of fulfillment, a side effect of the feminine mystique. When the mother lacks a self, Friedan notes, she often tries to live through her children, causing the children to lose their own sense of themselves as separate human beings with their own lives.


Chapter 13: Friedan discusses Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and notes that women have been trapped at the basic, physiological level, expected to find their identity through their sexual role alone. Friedan says that women need meaningful work just as men do to achieve self-actualization, the highest level on the hierarchy of needs.


Chapter 14: In the final chapter of The Feminine Mystique, Friedan discusses several case studies of women who have begun to go against the feminine mystique. She also advocates a new life plan for her women readers, including not viewing housework as a career, not trying to find total fulfillment through marriage and motherhood alone, and finding meaningful work that uses their full mental capacity. She discusses the conflicts that some women may face in this journey to self-actualization, including their own fears and resistance from others. For each conflict, Friedan offers examples of women who have overcome it. Friedan ends her book by promoting education and meaningful work as the ultimate method by which American women can avoid becoming trapped in the feminine mystique, calling for a drastic rethinking of what it means to be feminine, and offering several educational and occupational suggestions.



The Feminine Mystique is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century, and is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States. Futurist Alvin Toffler declared that it "pulled the trigger on history." Friedan received hundreds of letters from unhappy housewives after its publication, and she herself went on to help found the National Organization for Women, an influential feminist organization.

By the year 2000, The Feminine Mystique had sold more than 3 million copies and had been translated into many foreign languages.




Historian Daniel Horowitz points out that although Friedan presented herself as a typical suburban housewife, she was involved with radical politics and labor journalism in her youth, and during the time she wrote The Feminine Mystique she worked as a freelance journalist for women's magazines and as a community organizer.

Historian Joanne Meyerowitz argues that many of the contemporary magazines and articles of the period did not place women solely in the home, as Friedan stated, but in fact supported the notions of full- or part-time jobs for women seeking to follow a career path rather than being a housewife. After interviewing 188 women who read the book when it was first published, historian Stephanie Coontz concludes that the mixed messages of the era were "especially paralyzing" for many women.[16]

In addition, Friedan has been criticized for focusing solely on the plight of middle-class white women, and not giving enough attention to the differing situations encountered by women in less stable economic situations, or women of other races. She has also been criticized for prejudice against homosexuality, although such prejudice was extremely common when The Feminine Mystique was written.



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Job description


20th Century: Historical Context  (1st-wave & 2nd-wave feminism)


Movie-Mona Lisa Smile


Movie-Thelma & Louise


Movie-Eat Pray Love


Short Story-Awakening


Short Story-The Country of the Pointed Firs


Powerpoints & presentation


MLA Citation


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Liz Gilbert (Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali. Written by Sony Pictures


Elizabeth Gilbert



Liz Gilbery-Julia Roberts


Felipe-Javier Bardem



References: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/plotsummary  


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Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be. 

To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world—all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way—unexpectedly. 

An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.

Reference: http://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/1921/eat-pray-love


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The New York Times Movie Review

Globe-Trotting and Soul-Searching /By A. O. SCOTT

Published: August 12, 2010

The double standard in Hollywood may be stronger than ever. Men are free to pursue all kinds of adventures, while women are expected to pursue men. In a typical big-studio romantic comedy the heroine’s professional ambition may not always be an insurmountable obstacle to matrimony, but her true fulfillment — not just her presumed happiness but also the completion of her identity — will come only at the altar.

This paradigm is, of course, much older than the movies, but it can be refreshing, now and then, to see something different in the multiplex: a movie that takes seriously (or for that matter has fun with) a woman’s autonomy, her creativity, her desire for something other than a mate.

The scarcity of such stories helps explain the appeal of movies like the two “Sex and the City” features, “Julie & Julia,” “The Blind Side” and now “Eat Pray Love,” a sumptuous and leisurely adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir of post-divorce globe-trotting. Directed by Ryan Murphy, who wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Salt, the film offers an easygoing and generous blend of wish fulfillment, vicarious luxury, wry humor and spiritual uplift, with a star, Julia Roberts, who elicits both envy and empathy.

Playing a woman whose natural self-confidence is dented by disappointment and threatened by remorse, Ms. Roberts dims her glamour without snuffing it out altogether, as she tried to do inMike Nichols’s unfortunate “Closer.” Her Liz Gilbert can be radiant and witty, and rarely doubts her essential attractiveness, but she also suffers uncertainty, ambivalence and real anguish. The end of her marriage — to a kind, weak-willed oddball played by Billy Crudup — is wrenching before it has a chance to be fully liberating. And her rebound relationship, with a soulful younger actor (James Franco), only exacerbates Liz’s sense that she is drifting away from herself.

This may strike you as an abstract problem, and one that depends, for both its articulation and its proposed solution, on a high degree of material security and social entitlement. So many people in this world confront much graver threats to their well-being: violence, poverty, oppression. This woman has nothing but good luck! True enough, but the kind of class consciousness that would blame Liz for feeling bad about her life and then taking a year abroad to cure what ails her strikes me as a bit disingenuous — a way of trivializing her trouble on the grounds of gender without having to come out and say so.

What “Eat Pray Love” has — what the superficial “Sex and the City 2” notably lacked — is a sense of authenticity. Whether you decide to like Liz, and whether you approve of her choices and the expectations she has set for herself, it is hard not to be impressed by her honesty. The same can be said for Ms. Gilbert (to distinguish between the author and narrator of the book and the character she becomes when impersonated by Ms. Roberts). And the screenwriters, copiously sprinkling the author’s supple, genial prose into dialogue and voice-over, maintain a clear sense of her major theme. As the movie meanders through beautiful locations, grazing on scenery, flowers and food, it keeps circling back to the essential tension between Liz’s longing for independence and her desire to be loved.

Reflecting on her earlier life, she observes that for most of it she was either with a man or in the process of leaving one, and so in the first stages of her journey she experiments with singleness. Not with solitude, exactly, since Liz is naturally gregarious and acquires friends easily. Back home in New York she has Delia (Viola Davis), and in Rome a Swedish woman named Sofi (Tuva Novotny) introduces her to an amicable group of Italians, including a fellow whose last name is Spaghetti (Giuseppe Gandini). While he is seen mainly in group shots, his namesake food is filmed in loving close-ups.

In keeping with the theme of self-examination, Liz’s trip is confined to countries that begin with the letter “I.” From the trattorias and ruins of Italy, to an ashram in India, and then to Indonesia. At the ashram she meets a cantankerous Texan named Richard (Richard Jenkins) whose nickname for her is Groceries and whom she accuses of “speaking in bumper stickers.” This is a stone tossed from inside a glass house, given the aphoristic, wisdom-mongering tone of much of “Eat Pray Love,” but it is also a welcome wink of self-awareness, indicative of the good humor that redeems some of the film’s (and the book’s) muzzy therapeutic moments. The three themes enumerated in the title are explored with a cheerful tact unlikely to trouble any tastes or sensibilities. The food is not overly spicy or exotic — spaghetti in Rome, pizza in Naples; the religion not uncomfortably, you know, religious; and the sex discreet almost to the point of invisibility. In Bali Liz apprentices herself to an elderly shaman (the irrepressible scene stealer Hadi Subiyanto) and befriends a healer named Wayan (Christine Hakim). She also falls for Felipe, a divorced Brazilian expatriate, played with insouciant, unshaven charm by Javier Bardem.

Will her feelings for Felipe cause her to abandon the self-sufficiency that had been the point of her quest? And because “Eat Pray Love” builds its climax around this question, does that mean, in the end, that it reverts to the man-centric romantic-comedy formula? Yes and no. Mr. Murphy, whose television work (“Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” most notably) can be sharp-edged even to the point of meanness, is much softer here, and “Eat Pray Love” can serve as a reminder that television is, at the moment, a braver and more radical medium than the movies.

Eat Pray Love” is unlikely to change anybody’s life or even to provoke emotions anywhere near as intense as those experienced, early and late, by its intrepid heroine. Its span may be global, but its scope is modest, and it accepts a certain superficiality as the price of useful insight. Watch. Smile. Go home and dream of Brazilians in Bali.

Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/movies/13eat.html?_r=1 

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Louise Sawyer--Susan Sarandon



Thelma Dickinson--Geena Davis


Michael Madsen--Jimmy



Christopher McDonald--Darryl



Harvey Keitel--Hal Slocumb



Reference: http://www.hyjoo.com/sujet-42964.html

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Thelma and Louise are best friends living in a small town in Arkansas. Both seem to be living somewhat depressing working class lives. Thelma is an unloved housewife of a sexist and obnoxious husband, while Louise is a struggling waitress whose boyfriend seems unready to finally commit to a long-term relationship with her.

One day, in order to get away from their unhappy lives, they decide to leave town for a weekend vacation together. While on the road, they stop in another small town in order to get some drinks at a local bar. Unfortunately, Thelma decides to dance with a man who later tries to rape her. Ultimately, Louise ends up shooting this man. The two women suddenly find themselves in a lot of trouble, which make them unable to enjoy the vacation they had intended to have.


The rest of the film follows Thelma and Louise as they head out on the road, far from their hometown, and escape from the police, who may be looking for them. They soon decide to drive to Mexico, but on the way, they continue to dig themselves deeper into trouble with the law, and eventually, both of them realize that they can never go back to the lives they had before.



Reference: http://www.eslnotes.com/movies/pdf/thelma-and-louise.pdf

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Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Trans. 楊瑛美女書文化事業有限公司, 1996. Print.

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1963. Print.

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. Trans. 李令儀月旦出版社股份有限公司, 1995. Print. 

Koloski, Berbard, ed. Approaches to Teaching Chopin's The Awakening. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1988. Print.

Mona Lisa Smile. Dir. Mike Newell. Perf. Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Julia Stiles. Sony, 2003. Film.

Razorzx, Rebeca. 1950s Housewife to Women's Activist: Betty Friedan. Youtube. Youtube, 19 May 2010. Web. 2 June 2012.

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Reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J40Mec2AnR8&feature=related

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The Awakening – Kate Chopin


Kate Chopin

           Kate Chopin was born Katherine O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the daughter of Thomas O'Flaherty, a successful businessman who had emigrated from Galway, Ireland. Her mother, Eliza Faris, was a well-connected member of the French community in St. Louis. In 1870, at the age of 20, she married Oscar Chopin and settled in New Orleans.

           “By the early 1890s, Kate Chopin was writing short stories, articles, and translations which appeared in periodicals, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was quite successful and placed many of her publications in literary magazines. But she became known only as a regional local color writer and her literary qualities were overlooked.

            In 1899, her second novel, The Awakening, was published, and the book was criticized because of its moral as well as its literary standards. This, her best-known work, is the story of a woman trapped in the confines of an oppressive society. Out of print for several decades, it is now widely available and critically acclaimed for its writing quality and importance as an early feminist work.

            Some of her writings, such as The Awakening, were too far ahead of their time and therefore not socially embraced. After almost 12 years in the public eye of the literary world and shattered by the lack of acceptance, Chopin was a virtually nonexistent author.

            Chopin, deeply discouraged by the criticism, turned to short story writing. In 1900 she wrote The Gentleman from New Orleans, and that same year she was listed in the first edition of Marquis Who's Who. However she never made much money from her writing, and depended on her investments in Louisiana and St. Louis to sustain her.

            While visiting the St. Louis World's Fair on August 20, 1904, Chopin suffered a brain hemorrhage and died two days later, at the age of 53. She was interred in the Calvary cemetery in St. Louis.” Wikipedia


Plot Summary

       The story begins in a summer holiday resort in the late 1800s in Grand Isle. The resort engaged a lot of wealthy residents of nearby New Orleans. Edna and her husband Leonce Pontellier were taking a vacation with their two sons. Leonce Pontellier was very busy with his work; therefore, he was not at home very often. As a result, Edna spent more time with her friend Adele Ratignolle. During the time they were in Grand Isle, Edna met Robert Lebrun. At first, the relationship between Edna and Robert were innocent. However, during the time they spent with each other, they fell in love. Robert taught Edna a lot of things: she learned to swim and also started to paint again as she did in her youth. These inspired Edna’s desire of being independent and having dreams. Later, Edna decided not to comply with her social responsibilities of being a traditional 19th century women. Edna left her husband and children and started her “awakening” trip. In the end, Robert finally expressed his feelings to Edna. Besides he admitted his love to Edna, he also warned her that they could not be together because she was married. However, Edna told him that now she is an independent woman, and that she can live with him happily. But Robert still could not deal with this adulterous affair. After returning back from the visit to Adele’s childbirth, Edna saw a farewell note left by Robert. After the leaving of Robert, Edna felt extremely sad because she finally realized that Robert regarded society’s viewpoints as more important than his love to her, she also felt regret about her children that she did not assume her responsibilities. As a result, Edna noticed that she could not accomplish her desires and dreams because of society’s limitations. She felt an irresistible sense of solitude. Finally, she swam into death.


Major Characters

        Edna Pontellier-- The protagonist of the story. She is a respectable woman who has the strength and courage to achieve her dream: own        

        self-definition. She refused to be like her friends who idolize their children and satisfied their husbands.

        Mademoiselle Reisz-- An unconventional and unpopular women who is expert in playing piano. She is ruled by her art and her passions instead

        of the society’s expectations. Therefore, Edna admires her in such attitude.

        Adele Ratignolle-- A dedicated traditional wife and mother, the model of niteenth- century womanhood.

        Robert Lebrun, an elder man who taught Edna to swim and inspired Edna to have dreams. In the story, he told Edna about his feelings to her.

        However, at the end of story, he left Edna because he still could not ignore the rules of society.


     Symbols: Birds and The Sea


           The caged birds symbolize the limitations of Edna and the limitations of women have in that period of time. Like the birds, women’s movements and expressions are limited by society. Caged birds do not have freedom to fly just like women do not have freedom of being a self-definition person because they should devote themselves to their family, husbands and children. Before the end of story, Edna saw a bird “A bird with broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water.” This scene reminded Edna the words of Mademoiselle Reisz gave her before. Once she told Edna that if she wants to fly over the tradition, she should have strong wings in order to face the difficulties in which she may encounter in her way. She warns: “ The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is said spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”

The Sea

            In “ The Awakening”, sea symbolizes freedom and escape. Edna was attracted by the sea is shown clearly in chapter six. Because sea can provide her the possibility of being independent, and also though swimming, Edna could prove herself to achieve the impossible things into possible. She could take this opportunity to relief the society’s expectations and no longer to live under the rules governed by he society. From Edna’s “awakening” until she learned how to swim, swimming stimulate her own potential abilities. She could swim to the places where other women could not. However, Edna also chose to finish her life in the sea. At the end of the story, before Edna swim to death, she took all her clothes off which symbolize her determination of freedom and the liberation of society’s ties. 

References:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Chopin


                    <覺醒> The Awakening, 凱特 蕭邦 著,楊瑛美 譯。 女書出版

                   Bernad Koloski, "The Awakening: Approaches to Teaching Chopin's", published by the Modern Language Association          of America, New York, 1995. 


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Set in 1953, Mona Lisa Smile tells the story of Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), a new young art history professor at Wellesley College, an all-female campus with a prestigious reputation for academic excellence. Unfortunately for free-minded Berkeley grad Watson, her East Coast teaching stint comes during a less-progressive time that finds most of her students -- among them Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst), Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles), and Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) -- more interested in nabbing a good husband than achieving scholastic and intellectual growth. Watson challenges her students and the Wellesley faculty to think outside of the current mores of the community and redefine what it means to be a success; meanwhile, she tries to come to terms with her own heart's desires.



Katherine Watson--Julia Roberts



Betty Warren--Kirsten Dunst



Joan Brandwyn--Julia Stiles


Giselle Levy--Maggie Gyllenhaal 


Connie Baker--Ginnifer Goodwin


Bill Dunbar--Dominic West



Nancy Abbey--Marcia Gay Harden



Amanda Armstrong--Juliet Stevenson



Principal of College Wellesley--Marian Seldes




References: http://www.allmovie.com/movie/mona-lisa-smile-v283264/


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Plot Summary

        In 1953, Katherine Ann Watson takes a position teaching "History of Art" at Wellesley College, a conservative women's private liberal arts college because she wants to make a difference and influence the next generation of women. At her first class, Katherine discovers that the girls have already memorized the entire syllabus from the textbook. Therefore, she uses the classes to introduce them to Modern Art and encourages spirited classroom discussions about topics such as what makes good art and what the Mona Lisa's smile means. This brings her into conflict with the conservative president of Wellesley College who warns Katherine to stick to the syllabus, or she will lose her job. Katherine comes to know many of the students in her class well and seeks to inspire them to seek more than marriage to eligible young men.


        Betty Warren is a conservative woman just like her mother. Betty doesn't understand why Katherine does not get married and try to change their thoughts. She writes an editorial for the college paper to attack Katherine for advocating that women should seek a career instead of just being wives and mothers as intended. Betty can't wait to marry Spencer as their parents have arranged and expects to get the traditional exemptions from attending class because she is married, but Katherine insists that she will failed Betty if she does not come to the class.   



        Joan Brandwyn wants to be a lawyer and enrolled as pre-law so Katherine encourages her to apply to Yale Law School. Joan, however, elopes with her fiancé Tommy and they feel very happy. She decides that what she wants most is to be a wife and mother after graduation and asks Katherine to respect her choice.

        Connie Baker is dating Betty's cousin, Charlie. Betty persuades her that he is only using her since it has been arranged by his parents for him to marry Deb, a girl more of his social standing. So, Connie ends the relationship. However, Charlie has already decided for himself that he is not going to marry Deb, so he and Connie get back together. Another student, Giselle Levy, has liberal views, and she supports Katherine because she sees her choosing what she wants in her life. Giselle brazenly has affairs with a professor and a married man.

        Katherine confides to the girls that she was engaged when she was younger, but that she and her fiancé were separated by the war. The relationship fizzled out, and she has since had several affairs. Katherine declines a proposal from her boyfriend because she doesn't love him enough.


        She begins dating with the Wellesley Italian professor, Bill Dunbar, who is charming and full of stories about Europe and his heroic actions in Italy during the war. He has also had affairs with many students (including Giselle). Katherine makes him promise that it will never happen again. When Katherine learns that Bill spent the entire war at the Army Languages Center on Long Island, she decides to break up with him because he is not trustworthy. Dunbar responds that Katherine didn't come to Wellesley to help the students, but to try to find herself.

Katherine and Bil 

        Betty's marriage fails miserably, as Spencer spends as much time as possible in New York on business. Giselle also catches Spencer having an affair. Betty's mother tries to ask Betty to remain her marriage, at least not to cause a scandal. At graduation, Betty tells Katherine that she is divorcing Spencer. She adds that she is going to New York and she is considering applying to Yale Law School.

        Because Katherine's course is highly popular, the college invites her to return, but the president impose conditions on Katherine—she must follow the syllabus, submit lesson plans for approval, and not talk to the girls about other things that are not related to the class. Katherine decides to leave and go to Europe. In the ending scene, Betty dedicates her last editorial to her teacher Katherine Watson, claiming that Katherine is "an extraordinary woman who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes." As Katherine's taxi speeds up, all her students follow on their bicycles to keep up with the taxi to thank Katherine for changing their lives.






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Throughout the entire film, Katherine Watson contends with the theoretical adversaries of social convention and antiquated values. When she giving her lectures, she discovers her students thinking whatever anyone tells them to think, be it a textbook or society. She challenges her students through popular media advertisements to consider what future generations will think of what these women have made of themselves. Also, she denies through her own personal life that marriage, motherhood and home are honorable things to give your life to, and this is the bottom line of what she communicates to her students—following the traditional roles and simply doing what someone else tells you to do are not only restrictive, but also deny a woman her individual identity and personal fulfillment.


When Betty writes an editorial to attack Katherine, Katherine projects a series of images of American magazine advertising from the 1950s depicting women as appendages to men, children, homes and appliances. She includes a girdle advert that paradoxically restricts the body while promising freedom. In other words, she asks the students to consider if they are willing to conform to these dominant media stereotypes. It is also worth waiting to view the film’s final credits because they include a montage of clips from American television advertising and newsreels illustrating the restricted domestic role of women following World War II, when many had done men’s jobs in wartime factories.


What kind of role model does Watson provide? The character is an attractive, dedicated woman who loves her subject and wants to help her students as much as possible. One of her students characterizes her as “a seeker of truth beyond tradition, beyond the image”; consequently, she is a positive role model for today’s art history students— who are mostly female. At the same time, she is a rather sad individual because her teaching career takes precedence over her love life: in the film, relationships with two men fail and she leaves the College to travel to Europe alone rather than obey the management’s instructions to teach a standard syllabus and submit her lesson plans in advance for approval. Although she advises her students “you can bake your cake and eat it too” (that is, have a career, marriage, and children) it seems impossible as far as she is concerned.





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Chapter 2 of The Feminine Mystique is an interesting compilation of stories showing the modern (1960s) woman only wanted the hearth, home and husband. According to Friedans observation in Chapter 1, women had given-up their desire for independence and instead turned all their attention to:


. . . kissing their husbands goodbye in front of the picture window, depositing their statiowagonsful of children at school, and smiling as they ran the new electric waxer over the spotless kitchen floor.


Friedan continues to detail how women’s magazines would intentionally omit political issues or matters of national or international concern:


Our readers are housewives, full time. They’re not  interested in the broad issues of the day. They are not interested in national or international affairs. They are only interested in the family and the home. They aren’t interested in politics, unless it’s related to an immediate need in the home, like the price of coffee.


In all honesty, this does paint a troubling picture: women being totally oblivious to public affairs and matters of national and international concern. However, if one were to examine the women’s magazines of today, there are very few articles discussing matters of world concern. If you want to read about public affairs you don’t pick-up Harper’s Bazaar or Glamour, instead you read The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.


According to Friedan, a new “feminine mystique” was emerging. A belief that women belonged at home and could only be fulfilled through their femininity:


And so the feminine mystique began to spread through the land, grafted onto old prejudices and comfortable conventions which so easily give the past a stranglehold on the future. Behind the new mystique were concepts and theories deceptive in their sophistication and their assumption of accepted truth.


The feminine mystique as explained by Friedan:


The feminine mystique says that the highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity. It says that the great mistake of Western culture, through most of its history, has been the undervaluation of this femininity.


Chapter 2 closes with a great question, one I would like to pose to our readers:


The feminine mystique is so powerful that women grow up no longer knowing that they have the desires and capacities the mystique forbids. But such a mystique does not fasten itself on a whole nation in a few short years, reversing the trends of a century, without cause. What gives the mystique its power? Why did women go home again?

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Second-wave feminism

Second-wave Feminism, also called The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement, is a period of feminist activity. In the United States it began during the early 1960s and lasted through the late 1990s. In Turkey and Israel it began in the 1980s, and it began at other times in other countries.

Whereas first-wave feminism focused mainly on overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (i.e. voting rights, property rights), second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. Second-wave Feminism radically changed the face of western culture, leading to marital rape laws, establishment of rape crisis and battered women's shelters, significant changes in custody and divorce law, and widespread integration of women into sports activities and the workplace. It also tried and failed to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Many feminists view the second-wave feminist era as ending with the intra-feminism disputes of the Feminist Sex Wars over issues such as sexuality and pornography, which ushered in the era of third-wave feminism.



The second wave of feminism in North America came as a response to the experiences of women after World War II: the late 1940s post-war boom, which was an era characterized by an unprecedented economic growth, a baby boom, and a move to the suburbs encouraged companionate marriages. This life was clearly illustrated by the media of the time; for example television shows such as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver idealized domesticity.


French writer Simone de Beauvoir had in the 1940s examined the notion of women being perceived as "other" in the patriarchal society. She went on to conclude that male-centered ideology was being accepted as a norm and enforced by the ongoing development of myths, and that the fact that women are capable of getting pregnant, lactating, and menstruating is in no way a valid cause or explanation to place them as the "second sex".

Beauvoir's book influenced Betty Friedan, who in her 1963 bestselling book The Feminine Mystique explicitly objected to the mainstream media image of women, stating that placing women at home limited their possibilities, and wasted talent and potential. The perfect nuclear family image depicted and strongly marketed at the time, she wrote, did not reflect happiness and was rather degrading for women.

This book is widely credited with having begun second-wave feminism.

Though it is widely accepted that the movement lasted from the 1960s into the late 1990s, the exact years of the movement are more difficult to pinpoint and are often disputed. The movement is usually believed to have begun in 1963, when "Mother of the Movement" Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, and President John F. Kennedy's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women released its report on gender inequality. The report, which revealed great discrimination against women in American life, along with Friedan's book, which spoke to the discontent of many women (especially housewives), led to the formation of many local, state, and federal government women's groups as well as many independent women's liberation organizations. Friedan was referencing a "movement" as early as 1964.

The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court ruling of 1965; in 1966 Friedan joined other women and men to found the National Organization for Women.

Amongst the most significant legal victories of the movement after the formation of NOW were a 1967 Executive Order extending full Affirmative Action rights to women, Title IX and the Women's Educational Equity Act (1972 and 1974, respectively, educational equality), Title X (1970, health and family planning), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1974), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the illegalization of marital rape (although not illegalized in all states until 1993), the legalization of no-fault divorce (although not allowed in all states until 2010), a 1975 law requiring the U.S. Military Academies to admit women, and many Supreme Court cases, perhaps most notably Reed v. Reed of 1971 and Roe v. Wade of 1973. However, the changing of social attitudes towards women is usually considered the greatest success of the women's movement.

By the early 1980s, it was largely perceived that women had met their goals and succeeded in changing social attitudes towards gender roles, repealing oppressive laws that were based on sex, integrating the "boys' clubs" such as Military academies, the United States armed forces, NASA, single-sex colleges, men's clubs, and the Supreme Court, and illegalizing gender discrimination. However, in 1982 adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution failed, three states short of ratification.

Second-wave feminism was largely successful, with the failure of the ratification of the ERA the only major legislative defeat. Efforts to ratify it have continued, and twenty-one states now have ERAs in their state constitutions. Furthermore, many women's groups are still active and are major political forces. As of 2011, more women earn bachelor's degrees than men, half of the Ivy League presidents are women, the numbers of women in government and traditionally male-dominated fields have dramatically increased, and in 2009 the percentage of women in the American workforce temporarily surpassed that of men. The salary of the average American woman has also increased over time, although as of 2008 it is only 77% of the average man's salary, a phenomenon often referred to as the Gender Pay Gap. Whether this is due to discrimination is very hotly disputed, however economists and sociologists have provided evidence to that effect.


View on popular culture

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Second-wave feminists viewed popular culture as sexist, and created pop culture of their own to counteract this. Artist Helen Reddy’s song “I Am Woman” played a large role in popular culture and became a feminist anthem; Reddy came to be known as a "feminist poster girl" or a "feminist icon." “One project of second wave feminism was to create ‘positive’ images of women, to act as a counterweight to the dominant images circulating in popular culture and to raise women’s consciousness of their oppressions." (Arrow, Michelle. 2007).

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This is a film about what it can mean to be a woman in the United States, and in particular, a working class woman with few options in life. It is also about women who suddenly realize that they may have more potential and freedom that they ever thought was possible, particularly freedom from the male dominated society that has so badly mistreated them over the years.

At the beginning of the movie, when the two heroines appear on the stage, almost most of the scenes try to portray the social status of women at that time—Louise is a single woman who works as a waitress in a small restaurant, while Thelma is an ordinary housewife who got married at an early age. All the scenes follow the stereotype of the society: an obedient housewife, a chauvinistic husband, the husband supports the economy of the family, etc. Moreover, these scenes seem to be the “normal and right behavior” of women in daily life.

Actually, this movie focuses on the resistance of women toward men and the potential of women instead of the status of women in the family. However, we can discuss the women’s status in family in 20 century through the life of Thelma and the relationship between Thelma and her husband.


If either of the characters is a true feminist, it is Louise. Despite the fact that she arguably does require her boyfriend’s help, in order to wire her life savings to her, this money with which she plans to start her new life is her own, and she rejects his offer to renew their relationship, despite the fact that she still cares for him. As Schulman describes her, Louise is “authentic. She does what she wants. Louise smokes. She knows what good sex is. She is able to talk to her boyfriend as an intelligent equal,” and most importantly, is the one of them whose action was truly a direct response of outrage against male supremacy: the murder of Harlan. Thelma, on the other hand, is somewhat of a ditz, who had played the submissive wife to her domineering husband for years, who flirts with two shady men at different points in the narrative, who bears little to no emotional scarring after the near rape, and who leaves the envelope of Louise’s money alone in the hotel room with a man who had earlier admitted to being a convicted thief. Whereas Louise is consistently portrayed as a smart, strong female character fully capable of taking care of herself, Thelma relies on Louise for direction for most of the film, and when she does finally take control of the situation herself, such as in the store robbery, makes matters worse for both of them.





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Author: Sarah Jewett; Genre: Regionalism; Realism; Collection of Short Stories

An 1896 short story sequence by Sarah Orne Jewett which is considered by some literary critics to be her finest work. Henry James described it as her "beautiful little quantum of achievement." Because it is loosely structured, many critics view the book not as a novel, but a series of sketches; however, its structure is unified through both setting and theme. The novel can be read as a study of the effects of isolation and hardship experienced by the inhabitants of the decaying fishing villages along the Maine coast.
Sarah Orne Jewett, who wrote the book when she was 47, was largely responsible for popularizing the regionalism genre with her sketches of the fictional Maine fishing village of Dunnet Landing. Like Jewett, the narrator is a woman, a writer, unattached, genteel in demeanor, intermittently feisty and zealously protective of her time to write. The narrator removes herself from her landlady's company and writes in an empty schoolhouse, but she also continues to spend a great deal of time with Mrs. Todd, befriending her hostess and her hostess's family and friends.

Themes of The Country of Pointed Firs

Life on the land vs. Life on the sea
-Captain Littlepage's demeanor change
-Mrs. Todd's being instructed by a voice offshore, during their travels to see her mother
-nobility of the sea

Nature and the environment
-lush descriptive passages detail the surroundings
-focal point for the opening to each plot sketch

Literature and language as representative of societal status
-Mari Harris and Captain Littlepage
-low language and a lack of literary knowledge points to relative inelegance

Storytelling as an avenue for human connection

The quiet life of women


The narrator returns after a brief visit a few summers prior, to the small coastal town of Dunnet, Maine, in order to finish writing her book. Upon arriving she settles in with Mrs. Todd, a local elderly apothecary, or homeopathic "herbalist." The narrator begins to work for Mrs. Todd when Mrs. Todd goes out, but this distracts the narrator from her writing.
She rents an empty schoolhouse, so she can concentrate on her writing. After a funeral, Captain Littlepage, an 80-year-old retired sailor, comes to the schoolhouse to visit the narrator because he knows Mrs. Todd. He tells a story about his time on the sea and she is noticeably bored so he begins to leave. She sees that she has offended him with her display of boredom, so she covers her tracks by asking him to tell her more of his story. The Captain's story cannot compare to the stories that Mrs. Todd, Mrs. Todd's brother and mother, and residents of Dunnet tell of their lives in Dunnet. The narrator's friendship with Mrs. Todd strengthens over the course of the summer, and the narrator's appreciation of the Maine coastal town increases each day.



Mrs. Almira (Almiry) Todd
Initial appearance: Chapter 2; "Mrs. Todd" p. 6 - first talks to the narrator "Well, dear, I took great advantage o' your bein' here. I ain't had such a season for years, but I have never had nobody I could so trust."
Final appearance: Chapter 24; "The Backward View" p. 128-129 - when the narrator is leaving "I lost sight of her as she slowly crossed an open space on one of the higher points of land, and disappeared again behind a dark clump of juniper and the pointed firs.
Captain Littlepage
Initial appearance: Chapter 4; "At the Schoolhouse Window" p. 12 - in the midst of a funeral procession "...I recognized the one strange and unrelated person in all the company, an old man who had always been mysterious to me."
Final appearance: Chapter 10 "The Great Expedition" p. 89 - sitting behind his closed window "There was a patient look on the old man's face, as if the world were a great mistake and he had nobody with whom to speak his own language or find companionship."
Mrs. Blackett
Initial appearance: Chapter 8 "Green Island" p. 35 - on land "I looked and could see a tiny flutter in the doorway, but a quicker signal had made its way from the heart on shore to the heart on sea."



references: http://www.flashcardmachine.com/american-19th-century.html

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First-wave feminism


First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the 19th and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. It focused on de jure (officially mandated) inequalities, primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote).

The term first-wave was coined retroactively in the 1970s. The women's movement then, focusing as much on fighting de facto (unofficial) inequalities as de jure ones, acknowledged its predecessors by calling itself second-wave feminism.

Early 20th century


During the early 20th century, English women achieved civil equality, in theory. World War I saw more women go to work outside the home. In the beginning of the 20th century, women were limited to factory labor and domestic work. Women gained the right to sit in parliament, although it was only slowly that women were actually elected. Women started serving on school boards and local bodies, and numbers kept increasing after the war. This period also saw more women starting to become more educated. In 1910, "women were attending many leading medical schools, and in 1915 the American Medical Association began to admit women members."[4] Bills such as the Women's Emancipation Bill passed which aided the women's movement. Representation of the People Act 1918 had given women the right to vote if they were property holders and older than 29. In 1928, this was extended to all women over 21.[5] The Sex Disqualification (removal) Act 1919 opened professions and the Civil Service to women, and marriage was no longer seen to legally stop women from working outside the home. A Matrimonial Causes Act in 1923 gave women the right to the same grounds for divorce as men. However, the recession which started in the 1920s meant unemployment rose, which women were the first to face. Many women served in the armed forces during the war. In World War II, around 300,000 American women served in the Navy and Army performing jobs such as secretaries, typists and nurses. Many feminist writers and women's rights activists argued that it was not equality to men which they needed but a recognition of what women need to fulfil their potential of their own natures, not only within the aspect of work but society and home life too. Virginia Woolf produced her essay A Room of One's Own based on the ideas of women as writers and characters in fiction. Woolf said that a woman must have money and a room of her own to be able to write.


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United States

Woman in the Nineteenth Century by Margaret Fuller has been considered the first major feminist work in the United States and is often compared to Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.[6] Prominent leaders of the feminist movement in the United States include Lucretia Coffin Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Susan B. Anthony; Anthony and other activists such as Victoria Woodhull and Matilda Joslyn Gage made attempts to cast votes prior to their legal entitlement to do so, for which many of them faced charges. Other important leaders included several women who dissented against the law in order to have their voices heard,(Sarah and Angelina Grimké), in addition to other activists such as Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Margaret Sanger and Lucy Burns.

First-wave feminism involved a wide range of women, some belonging to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union), others such as Matilda Joslyn Gage of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) resembling the radicalism of much of second-wave feminism. The majority of first-wave feminists were more moderate and conservative than radical or revolutionary—like the members of the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) they were willing to work within the political system and they understood the clout of joining with sympathetic men in power to promote the cause of suffrage. The limited membership of the NWSA was narrowly focused on gaining a federal amendment for women's suffrage, whereas the AWSA, with ten times as many members, worked to gain suffrage on a state-by-state level as a necessary precursor to federal suffrage. The NWSA had broad goals, hoping to achieve a more equal social role for women, but the AWSA was aware of the divisive nature of many of those goals and instead chose to focus solely on suffrage. The NWSA was known for having more publicly aggressive tactics (such as picketing and hunger strikes) whereas the AWSA used more traditional strategies like lobbying, delivering speeches, applying political pressure and gathering signatures for petitions.

The first wave of feminists, in contrast to the second wave, focused very little on the subjects of abortion, birth control, and overall reproductive rights of women. Though she never married, Anthony published her views about marriage, holding that a woman should be allowed to refuse sex with her husband; the American woman had no legal recourse at that time against rape by her husband.

In 1860, New York passed a revised Married Women's Property Act which gave women shared ownership of their children, allowing them to have a say in their children's wills, wages, and granting them the right to inherit property. Further advances and setbacks were experienced in New York and other states, but with each new win the feminists were able to use it as an example to apply more leverage on unyielding legislative bodies. The end of the first wave is often linked with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. This was the major victory of the movement, which also included reforms in higher education, in the workplace and professions, and in health care.

Many white women excluded black women from their organizations and denied them the right to participate in events because they feared that the racist attitudes of Southern voters would affect their support of the women's movement. One notable instance of black exclusion was at a Washington parade in 1913, when activist Alice Paul did not allow the black feminist Ida Wells-Barnett to march with the other white women; instead, Paul told her that she could march at the back of the procession with the other black women.


References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-wave_feminism 

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