Carol Platt Liebau: Betty Friedan Dead at 85

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Betty Friedan Dead at 85

Betty Friedan, author of The Feminist Mystique, has died. She was 85.

She is best known for convincing women that they had been "sold a bill of goods" and that they should rebel against becoming wives and mothers at the expense of seeking "a separate identity," i.e. entering the workforce.

Certainly everyone believes there should be equal opportunities for men and women, along with equal pay. But all these years later, it's worth wondering whether women like Betty Friedan -- and her ideological sisters-in-arms -- have sold women their own bill of goods. Increasingly, women are deciding that they can't "do it all"; many are choosing either to leave the workforce temporarily or permanently after they have children, and they joyfully embrace the life that Friedan so long ago characterized as stifling and unfulfilling.

Given the number of friends who have confronted the heartbreak and financial stress of infertility because they heeded the siren song of establishing careers at the expense of having children, it's hard not to conclude that the feminists established a mystique every bit as destructive as the order against which they rebelled. The stories of friends who were children during the "divorce revolution" of the '70's leads to the same discomforting conclusion. It turns out that women need men much more than fish need bicycles (to borrow from Gloria Steinem) -- and children need their fathers.

The "rethinking" of the social order precipitated by The Feminist Mystique may, in some ways, have been necessary. But so is a rethinking of the "new" social order it helped to establish.


Blogger stackja1945 said...

My late mother saw red when she was called Ms.

1:53 AM  

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