Sunday, February 05, 2006

Goodbye to Betty Friedan

Can I just say how disappointed I am that right now on the death of "Grandpa Munster" and the breakup of Sheryl Crow and Lance Armstrong are lead stories on the home page, but Betty Friedan's death is not? She died yesterday and yet this pioneer's passing wasn't counted as a headline even 24 hours later. Depressing.

Over at The Christian Science Monitor I learned that it was futurist Alvin Toffler who said that Friedan's 1964 best-seller The Feminine Mystique "pulled the trigger on history" as her work sparked a new women's movement.

The Feminine Mystique was the first feminist book I ever read (after a steady diet of my Mom's back issues of Ms. Magazine). It frightens me a bit that after 40 years of the women's movement, I still find her work and perspective to be incredibly relevant? Here's a quote as posted on "A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, `Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children," Friedan said.

Friedan is one of my heroes in part because she grew up in Peoria, IL and went to the same high school as my grandmother, about 4 years behind. From our family stories, I know what a stifling environment that was for housewives and it must have taken a great deal of courage to break the china mold of domesticity.


Blogger MojoMom said...

Another interesting Friedan link posts the first chapter of Betty Friedan and the Making of the "Feminine Mystique' by Daniel Horowitz. Lots of details about growing up in Peoria "with the triple burden of being intelligent, unattractive and Jewish." (Horowitz quoting writer Amy Stone.) Friedan left Peoria in 1938 to attend Smith College and later Berkeley.

One more fact that struck me like a blow: The Feminine Mystique was based on a survey of former Smith classmates 15 years after graduation. This is exactly where I am now as I work on extending Mojo Mom.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I heard of her death on Sunday on WBEZ (public radio) Chicago

9:31 PM  

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