Neptune, Mars and The Feminine Mystique

For those of us with mid-mutables, the beginning of this week might have felt like trying to run while dreaming. Mars square Neptune can be this tricky combo of feeling useless with a chaser of anxiety served on a coaster of diminished confidence. The desire for productivity is bullied around by heavy-hitting procrastination and listlessness resulting in general bleh.

Mars square Neptune showed up at a talk on Betty Freidan I went to tonight. Freidan was the imposing force that wrote The Feminine Mystique. When Freidan first tried to publish her writing in the women’s magazines of the day, nobody would touch it. Everyone believed women were happy and fulfilled taking care of their children, husbands, and home. Yet in her interviews with housewives and research, Freidan found that many women felt empty, depressed, and suffered from a deep sense of ennui and frustration. Freidan found a publisher for her writing and it became the best selling nonfiction book in 1964 and sold nearly 3 million copies in its first three years in print.

This is where Mars square Neptune comes in: “The problem that has no name”—this feeling of unhappiness Friedan wrote of was tied to losing one’s identity when one’s entire existence was relegated to the role of housewife. I thought these housewives felt the numbing and bypassing of anger that Mars square Neptune can express as. MsN can also manifest as feelings of constriction of self esteem and willpower, like the interviewees reported.

Please note: things are different now, thank god. Women have choices. And if a woman chooses to stay home and take care of her family: that’s wonderful. I don’t want to offend anyone who does this. But in Freidan’s time, there was no choice which created a malaise for women who felt their identity atrophy because they would have selected to find meaning and fulfillment outside the home. I bring up the malaise here as it exemplifies one way that Mars square Neptune plays out.