Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times

The oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues to work toward equal rights for women around the globe.

“I have my scars... I’ve been divorced ten years; I’m lonely at times. It was much easier for me to go “Rah! Rah!” with the movement than it was to change my own life personally... I have put myself into the situation... willy-nilly, of being the Joan of Arc of the women’s movement. That’s a little threatening for a man. So in that sense I’ve paid some price.

On the other hand... my public life... has been exciting... My frivolous life has been fun too... And my three kids are great. They may think I would have been a better mother if it hadn’t been for the women’s movement, but I don’t think so.

The way... you can have children now, when you’ve already started on your work, and know what you can do, you are not subject to the guilts. That was the worst, the guilts, the conflicts... That put negative valences on one’s own enjoyment of motherhood. It’s such a short period. I wish I’d felt free to concentrate on them more.

But when you’re under the aegis of the feminine mystique... to do anything at all, you’re going against the stream of society and you have your own guilts about what you’re doing... look at your own experience and other people’s... spell your own name... test it with experience... if it doesn’t fit the image, the image is wrong.

You’re never finished.”

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