February 6, 2006
Who Was Betty Friedan?
The 1963 bestseller The Feminine Mystique is credited with starting the Second Wave of feminism that transformed the relations between men and women in the second half of the twentieth century. On Saturday February 4, her 85th birthday, its author Betty Friedan died of congestive heart failure. Writes Margalit Fox in The New York Times about the 1963 plea of this educated suburban housewife from Rockland County, NY: With its impassioned analysis of the issues that affected women's lives in the decades after World War II — including enforced domesticity, limited career prospects and, as chronicled in later editions, the campaign for legalized abortion — 'The Feminine Mystique' is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century... Ms. Friedan charted the gradual metamorphosis of the American woman from the independent, career—minded New Woman of the 1920s and '30s into the vacant, aproned housewife of the postwar...(Read Full Article)