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Nickel and Dimed

             In my senior philosophy class, I read a book called the Feminine Mystique by Betty Freidan. This book, written in the late 50's, identified the "mysterious problem" that was infecting many women. The problem was that the women were becoming bored and they wanted to be able to work. As a result of this book, many middle class white women felt that their "problems" had finally been brought into the open. Many women's activist groups were launched. However, the book also created many controversial opinions. One prominent critic was Belle Hooks. She criticized Freidan's belief that her problem spoke for every woman's problem. She felt that Freidan did not take in the views of the lower-class woman's struggles. She said that some women always had been in the working class, and maybe some who were forced to work would rather sit at home and watch their kids grow up. What Hooks failed to acknowledge was that the book needed to be written to address female inequalities in society. .
             The reaction from the Feminine Mystique closely paralleled some people's reactions to the book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Many felt that Ehrenreich was judgmental and should not have written the book. They felt that the author did not have a "true" low-wage working experience. I agree that Ehrenreich could have done certain things differently. Her seemingly stereotypical attitude certainly rubbed me the wrong way several times. She is a cranky, middle aged woman, and it made it hard for me to stick with the book. On the other hand, she raised awareness of low-wage and poverty-stricken people's lives. She did something that many people would never even consider doing. She gave up her comforts of her life and got her hands dirty attempting to live a low-wage workers life. I feel that this book needed to be written. Despite her sarcasm and human errors the book she wrote raised the awareness on the misunderstood class and proved that her book needed to be written.

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