The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban
wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night, she was afraid to ask
even of herself the silent question: ‘Is this all?’ For over fifteen years there was no word of this yearning in the millions of
words written about women, for women, in all the columns, books and articles by experts telling women their role was to seek fulfilment as wives and mothers.