Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 71: The Sociology of Femininity
LINDA KALOF & LORI BARALT
The sociology of femininity The sociology of femininity's contemporary terrain is rooted in the eighteenth-century writings of the radical thinker, Mary Wollstonecraft (1792). Her Vindication of the Rights of Woman criticized the sacrifice of women's potential to “libertine notions of beauty,” the acquisition of power through charm and weakness, and perpetual dependence in marriage. Two hundred years later, things were much the same when Simone de Beauvoir (1953) published The Second Sex again drawing attention to oppressive feminine beauty standards that were an integral part of the subordination of women. In 1963, Betty Friedan addressed similar worrisome themes in The Feminine Mystique , an analysis of a “problem with no name,” or the expectation that women “could desire no greater destiny than to glory in their own femininity” and that happiness came with devoting oneself to finding a husband and having children (Friedan  2001:15). A few years later, Jessie ...