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Goodbye Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan, one of the founders of American feminism, died yesterday on her 85th birthday. Her 1963 book The Feminiine Mystique focused on the dissatisfaction of stay-at-home wives and mothers. She called it "the problem that has no name." The New York Times has an excerptfrom the book (free registration required); here's a bit:
Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — "Is this all?"
In 1966 she founded the National Organization for Women. She was, at times, considered radical, conservative, regressive, brilliant, misleading, reactionary. She wasn't always easy to get along with; she once called herself "a bad-tempered bitch." But she was undeniably instrumental in changing how modern American women think about their roles in society.
We're just glad she didn't pass on Superbowl Sunday. She would have had to rise from the dead in protest.