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Chapter 12: Progressive Dehumanization: The Comfortable Concentration Camp

June 2, 2011 | Annemarie

Chapter 12 contains no new information, simply the same point viewed from a different angle. It’s as if Friedan was stuck, she had her thesis but no branching out points. In this chapter, Fridan makes the point that being a stay-at-home mother is eventually dehumanizing and likened it to a German concentration camp:

All this seems terribly remote from the easy life of the American suburban housewife. But is her house in reality a comfortable concentration camp? Have not women who live in the image of the feminine mystique trapped themselves within the narrow walls of their homes? They have learned to ‘adjust’ to their biological role. They have become dependent, passive, childlike; they have given up their adult frame of reference to live at the lower human level of food and things. The work they do does not require adult capabilities; it is endless, monotonous, unrewarding. American women are not, of course, being readied for mass extermination, but they are suffering a slow death of mind and spirit.

As a reader it is exhausting to read another chapter on how awful it is to be a stay-at-home mother. Though it is obvious by her lack of data and reliable research that her conclusions are erroneous, it is mentally trying to be bored by the same point simply put another way.

I would like to ask out readers for feedback on whether or not you think being a stay-at-home mom is in any way dehumanizing? I think not, and have real life stories to prove it.

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