A Strange Stirring

February 16th, 2011

Many think of the late 1960’s and early 70’s as the source of the great cultural shifts from the post WWII traditions, to the more individualistic world of today. In fact, for woman those changes happened long before. The approval of the birth control pill in 1959 and the publication of Betty Fridan's "Feminine Mystique" in 1963 were the real watersheds. Certainly we've seen in the fictional lives of April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road and Betty Draper in Mad Men, the essence of the stirrings of that time.

Friedan was certainly not the first feminist of her time, nor did she provide a manifesto for change. Rather, she gave voice the the feelings and ideas of a whole generation of middle class woman. Those ideas would reshape the fabric of our social landscape for years to come and are arguably the antecedents of some of the issues we're still grappling with today. Best selling author and Professor Stephanie Coontz takes us back to the time of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s. My conversation with Stephanie Coontz: