Historian Joanne Meyerowitz argues (in "Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958," Journal of American History 79, March 1993) that many of the contemporary magazines and articles of the period did not place women solely in the home, as Friedan stated, but in fact supported the notions of full- or part-time jobs for women seeking to follow a career path rather than being a housewife.
Daniel Horowitz, a Professor of American Studies at Smith College points out that although Friedan presented herself as a typical suburban housewife, she was involved with radical politics and labor journalism in her youth, and during the time she wrote The Feminine Mystique she worked as a freelance journalist for women's magazines and as a community organizer.
In addition, Friedan has been criticized for focusing solely on the plight of middle-class white women, and not giving enough attention to the differing situations encountered by women in less stable economic situations, or women of other races. Despite being written during the Civil Rights Movement, Friedan's text "barely mentions African-American women."  She has also been criticized for prejudice against homosexuality.