Week 5 Day 1 Discussion Question 3

Drawing on popular media and social scientific studies, Susan Faludi identifies a persistent message that feminist-inspired women who pursued careers and sexual independence were ultimately depressed and unfulfilled because they had forfeited marriage and motherhood. Does this rhetorical backlash remind you of earlier texts that we read, such as Marynia Farnham and Ferdinand Lundberg’s Modern Woman: The Lost Sex?  How is the backlash that Faludi describes similar to and/or different from the misogynistic texts we read from the post-World War II period?

2 thoughts on “Week 5 Day 1 Discussion Question 3

  • March 9, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    The backlash described by Faludi reminds me of the sentiments expressed by Morgan and Bryant in the articles we read during Week 3. Both authors promote the idea that women belong in the home, and that any woman who neglects her domestic responsibilities is committing a sin against God. “Man and woman, although equal in status, are different in function. God ordained man to be the head of the family, its president, and his wife to be the executive vice-president… There is no way you can alter or improve this arrangement,” Morgan writes on page 70. Although she never touches on parenthood specifically, we can safely assume Morgan would assert that child-rearing is a woman’s domain. I find it interesting that such individuals never acknowledge the mutual responsibility of mother and father in the conception of a child, not to mention the impact that a father’s presence (or lack thereof) can have on a child’s psychological development. This issue is touched on by Pollitt, who writes, “Although duty of care theorists would impose upon women a virtually limitless obligation to put the fetus first, they impose that responsibility *only* on women… But what about Dad? It’s his kid too, after all” (295). I found myself following a related train of thought while watching Imitation of Life. In the film, there was absolutely zero acknowledgment of the trauma Lora must have endured after being widowed and left with a young child to care for by herself. She was expected to pick up the pieces and seamlessly transition into single motherhood, which surely was not what she thought she was signing up for when she decided to have a child alongside her husband. Thus, she was deemed a “bad mother” because she was unwillingly to relinquish her personal aspirations, which she probably would have been able to pursue with much less detriment to her daughter had her husband still been around to share the burden of parenthood.

  • March 8, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    Faludi discusses that feminist-inspired women were unfulfilled because of the loss of marriage and motherhood- the perceived penultimate goal for women. Farnham and Lundberg have the same opinions as they talk about the modern women being lost due to the presence of jobs and opportunities for women that allow them to be more dominant. They argue that because of the “masculinization in women… they develop characteristics of aggressions, dominance, independence and power” (107), all of which distract them from their “actual” duties which are to proper wives and mothers. The concept of mother blaming and female hatred especially against second wave feminists that is discussed by Dworkins is also apparent in Faludi’s paper.

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