Independent Women

Categories: The Feminine Mystique

"The suburban housewife-she was the dream image of the young American women and the envy, it was said, of women all over the world....She was healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home. She had found true feminine fulfillment" (Friedan 13). Did women really have their true fulfillment? Was their purpose in life completed after accepting they were housewives? According to A Doll's House and The Feminine Mystique, society gives women expectations to follow. These expectations do not help women fulfill their true aspirations.

Since women live their lives under society's expectations, the lack of fulfillment they feel is satisfied when they define their individuality.

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In order for women to define their individuality, they have to know their role in life. Many women try to find out their role by trying different activities women should do.

"I've tried everything women are supposed to do-hobbies, gardening, pickling, canning, being very social with my neighbors, joining committees, running PTA teas.

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I can do it all, and I like it, but it doesn't leave you anything to think about-any feeling of who you are". (16)

Women try to do different things society tells them to do, to find out who they are, but it does not help. Nora's plan to find out who she was, was by forging her father's signature to save Helmer. She thought by doing that, she'd become an independent person, thus defining her own individuality. If someone finds out who they are they can then define their individuality.

Society often places women in situations when they are never recognized as themselves. "The problem is always being the children's mommy, or the minister's wife and never being myself" (23). We see how women are noticed as someone else's property but rather an individual. For example, Nora was always introduced as Helmer's wife, and never as Nora. If Nora was recognized for just being herself, it might have prevented her from forging signatures to fill her inner void. One step to true fulfillment is being known as an individual. Women desire the recognition of their own individuality which society does not offer.

Many women will not consider themselves as individuals until they acknowledge their own value. "A good education, it seems, has given this paragon among women an understanding of the value of everything except her own worth..." (20). Some women think by educating themselves they will be more independent. "Exactly as before, I was your little skylark, your doll..." (Ibsen 67). It took Nora years to realize Helmer saw her as a doll or trophy and he did not value her as much as she thought she was worth. Women cannot be individuals if they do not know how much they are worth. When Nora realized how much she was worth she was able to take action, and go somewhere where she would be valued.

Women often look for fulfillment by educating themselves or taking up hobbies society expects them to do, but this will not help satisfy their lack of fulfillment. A woman needs to know how much she is valued, so she can know that she is worthy enough to be recognized as an individual. When a woman is recognized as an individual, and does not necessarily fit society's expectations she begins to satisfy that emptiness she has. Like Nora felt when she left Helmer, soon enough she has true feminine fulfillment because she has found out for herself the kind of individual she is.

Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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Independent Women. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Independent Women essay
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