Sunday, February 05, 2006

We Owe Her!

"Betty Friedan, the feminist crusader and author whose searing first book, "The Feminine Mystique," ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world, died yesterday, her 85th birthday, at her home in Washington. The cause was congestive heart failure." (NY Times, photo by Sophie Bassouls/Corbis Sygma)

That book was published the year I graduated from high school and did change the horizon for women. She was the one who asserted that having a husband and babies was not everything and that women should aspire to having their own separate identities as individuals. To not feel guilty about asking "Who am I, and what do I want out of life?"

I was too close to it at the time and way too young but I saw with my own eyes the inklings of change in our society towards how we view women. Besides the effect of women's right to vote from the generation before mine (my mom's!), this was the beginning of another emancipation that is still in progress: improving the status of women and women's lives around the world. And doing this while remaining in the mainstream, with men accepted as allies and the family not rejected.

What a legacy, Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan! You are our philosopher and voice of "modern-day feminism." We salute you. We thank you.


  1. We should never forget her and others who helped pave the way. We're seeing college women in the current generation take for granted the pioneering that was done for them. How sad!

  2. Lisa: Indeed!

    Ruth: Yes, how sad. That's why we "oldies but goodies" need to keep the flame alive!