The Feminine Mystique Revisited

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON— Este año se celebra el 45 aniversario de la publicación del libro The Feminine Mystique (La mística femenina) escrito por Betty Friedan. Actualmente, quienes mantienen una postura conservadora en temas sociales siguen culpando a Friedan y al feminismo por inducir a las mujeres a abandonar sus hogares para entrar al mercado laboral y consiguientemente por desestabilizar a la familia y poner en riesgo a sus hijos.

Sin embargo, el feminismo fue una consecuencia y no una causa de que las mujeres entraran a la fuerza laboral. En Europa Occidental y en los Estados Unidos, el capitalismo incipiente atrajo un gran número de mujeres jóvenes y solteras hacia las industrias –las textiles por ejemplo. A menudo, los dueños de las fábricas instalaban dormitorios para hospedar a las jóvenes trabajadoras. Muchas de esas trabajadoras se convirtieron en las primeras defensoras del movimiento por los derechos de las mujeres y de la abolición de la esclavitud; por otro lado, las mujeres de clase media se inspiraron en las mujeres trabajadoras que participaban vigorosamente en la escena pública (a las que algunas veces envidiaban).

Cuando se publicó el libro de Friedan en 1963, el capitalismo ya estaba atrayendo a mujeres casadas hacia los sectores de los servicios, administrativos y de la información que iban en expansión. Las ideas de Friedan fueron bien recibidas en una generación de mujeres que empezaban a concebir el trabajo remunerado no sólo como algo temporal entre la adolescencia y el matrimonio; que se sentían frustradas por la insistencia de la sociedad en afirmar que el único significado de sus vidas radicaba en su papel como amas de casa.

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