They were thinking of all of the things that women could not do and the clear double standard that gave men advantage over women. There was no language to describe the kind of treatment women were subject to in the home and on the job. Attractiveness, narrowly defined, was the only metric used to value women.
They reference the play, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen. It is about the dissolution of a marriage because of the inequality between the husband and wife. The woman is a “doll”—a mere plaything subject to the whims of her father, and then her husband.
Here is a link to the full text of the play if anyone is interested.
The documentary talks about Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer, both of whom wrote seminal works in feminism. Freidan wrote The Feminine Mystique and Greer, The Female Eunuch. Below are links to articles on both that will give you an idea of where these seminal works fit in the second wave of feminism. Friedan’s argument was that women needed more than husbands and children for fulfillment. Her work seems to address only the problems of white, middle- lass women. Greer advanced the argument that becoming a homemaker was the equivalent to the surgical emasculation of men. Women could also be made “eunuchs”—robbed of the ability to fully realize their sexuality because of the nature of the suburban, nuclear family, consumerist family.
“4 Problems with The Feminine Mystique,” by Ashley Fetters
“What Germaine Greer and the Female Eunuch Mean to Me”
A Summary of The Female Eunuch
Judy Chicago talks about “being fathered.” What does that mean for her? How did her father’s experiences give him a particular outlook on raising his daughter? What does that have to do with feminism?
In the second wave of feminism, girls were required to take “Home Economics” in high school. These courses taught basics of cooking, cleaning, and diapering babies. It was formalized socialization for becoming a wife and mother. Women’s work is the work of service and sacrifice. What is the problem with this kind of training? In my mind, it is that the high school boys didn’t have to take them, too. It was also a problem that there were not materials on finances—what it really costs to live and feed even one child. No explanations of banking, loans, credit, or compound interest.
Some things to think about: How much do looks matter today? Are women still focused on establishing families and being taught to be “sweet,” “good girls,” and “young ladies”?