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Chapter 3: The Crisis in Woman’s Identity

March 27, 2011 | Catherine


Last year, in a presentation I attended, best-selling author, rabbinic scholar, and the host of his own radio show in San Francisco, Rabbi Daniel Lapin argued that there is a kind of “magic alchemy” when humans are together creating a family, a community, or a city. He explains that we were each created with creative independent capacity. While alone, you might have just one good idea per hour, however, when placed with other people in a meeting for an hour, together, you all will produce hundreds of thousands of ideas. Thus, whenever you are on a team, achievement is multiplied exponentially.

This ability for exponential achievement when people come together for one purpose is unique and is exactly what Betty Friedan tries to devalue in Chapter 3 of The Feminine Mystique.

Friedan specifically sets forth the idea that since many women do not always know what they want to do after college, they get married out of default, and then never fully develop into their full human potential. They never fully evolve their desires, according to Friedan, and this is a “crisis.”

But Friedan is wrong. Doing is secondary to being. One must know first who they are and once they know this – they will know what they want to do – whether it is big or small, specific or general.

What is the crisis, is Friedan devaluing of the “magic alchemy” of when two people come together to form a family – saying that when a woman marries and decides to become a wife and mother she is giving up who she is.

However, this is absurd.

Would Friedan say a woman is losing her identity when she signs on to be a Creative Specialist, a Senior Editor, a Media Director, or a Vice President of Marketing because she gives so much for her team?

Of course not!

Friedan’s sense of human value is based on one’s environment. And this is dangerous footing.

For a woman to desire a creative opportunity to form a family and giver her full effort and energy for this “team” is a high end and destiny, as Rabbi Lapin said. Humans coming together to create a team is an exceptional purpose, whether in the family or career sector – not one to be demonized.

Friedan closes the chapter with declaring that:

“Anatomy is woman’s destiny. . .But is it? More and more woman are asking themselves this question. As if they were waking from a coma. . . For the first time in their history, women are becoming aware of an identity crisis in their own lives.”

So, now, dear readers, let me ask you, is anatomy (woman’s or man’s), in fact destiny? Or is this even a question that needs to be asked? Does it matter?

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