Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times

Betty Friedan - Herstory in a chapter

Betty FriedanLynn Gilbert1 Comment

"There was the great first movement for women’s rights beginning with Mary Wollstonecraft, and the early suffragettes in England and America who fought for the vote, and the early rights; but that movement came to a standstill with the winning of the vote in the United States in 1920, before I was born. It didn’t change the lives of women because the rights, while necessary, didn’t lead to the kind of changes that are happening now. The movement was aborted, or it was asleep. There was a backlash, which I then gave a name to: the 'feminine mystique.' We had to break through the whole image of woman and we had to define ourselves as people; and then we had to begin a process that’s still not finished, of restructuring institutions so that women could be people. The essence of the modern woman’s movement is equality and the personhood of woman. That’s what it is and that’s all it is. All the rest of it—all the images of women’s lib, the bra-burning, the man-hating, down with marriage, down with motherhood—was  an expression of anger based on an ideological mistake. It is not essential. It is not a part of the whole change. The anger was real enough, but sexual politics was not what it was really all about."

— Betty Friedan, in Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times.

Read the oral interview of Betty Friedan from the late 1970s - available at Apple and Amazon for 99 cents.