Goodbye to Betty Friedan
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 CNN.com "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.