Cold War influences on Women’s Rights and Sexual Liberation
In the article “Sex, Gender, and the Cold War Language of Reform”, author Joanne Meyerwitz discusses how social movements, such as women’s rights and the sexual freedom movement were affected by the post-war world. The environment that was created as a result of the Cold War had a vast impact on the women’s rights and sexual freedom movements. During this time, there was a paradox between “suburbia” America, promoting a strong sense of status quo, and political, social, and economic reform. While many Americans embraced the idea of conformity and valued a society in which predictability brought peace of mind, others craved transformation; this was a time to prove what America was capable of and display the uniqueness and freedom that our democratic system allowed us to eloquent. Women’s rights advocates found a window of opportunity in the post war world. In a world that called for women to solely be housewives and mothers, many women were left dissatisfied. “…the problem that has no name stirring in the minds of so many American women today is not a matter of loss off femininity or too much education, or the demands of domesticity. It is far more important than anyone recognizes. It is the key to these other new and old problems…It may well be the key to our future as a nation and a culture. We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than my husband and my children and my home’” This excerpt from The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan shows the discontent that many women were faced with in “suburbia” life. This environment played a role in advocating women’s rights; they did not want be left with the question “is this all?” (Friedan 1963) While some women were perfectly content with their cookie cutter lifestyle that many American families enjoyed, there were countless that were ready for a revolution. Meyerwitz states in her work...
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