Read the excerpt below and answer the question. In the fifteen years after World War II, this mystique of feminine fulfillment b
ecame the cherished and self-perpetuating core of contemporary American culture. ... For over fifteen years, the words written for women, and the words women used when they talked to each other, while their husbands sat on the other side of the room and talked shop or politics or septic tanks, were about problems with their children, or how to keep their husbands happy, or improve their children's school, or cook chicken or make slipcovers. Using context clues, choose the best synonym for the word perpetuating as it is used in this excerpt from Friedan's "The Problem That Has No Name." achieving emphasizing preserving stopping
Through context and also the definition of the word perpetuate, we may conclude that the best synonym would be: preserving.
Self-perpetuating is something that has the ability of continuing (preserving) its own existence without any external interference. It's something that creates the conditions for its own continuity. Another possible definition of self-perpetuating is something that prevents change and innovation by constantly creating the same old conditions - in other words, by preserving the same conditions.
In the excerpt, the cherished and self-perpetuating problem referring to the American culture was how women were taught to think, what they were told to talk about. It was a self-preserving problem since women themselves, for over fifteen years, did nothing or little to change such topics or expectations: children, house chores, happy husbands... The problem didn't need any external motivation, it was perpetuated from the inside.