Betty Friedan 1921-2006

// 7 February 2006

Betty Friedan, credited with kick-starting second wave feminism, died last weekend on her 85th birthday.

She was best know for her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, which challenged the ‘Stepford Wives’ mentality of the American middle classes and said that not all women were satisfied being wives and mothers:

The problem that has no name – which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities – is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease. If we continue to produce millions of young mothers who stop their growth and education short of identity, without a strong core of human values to pass on to their children, we are committing, quite simply, genocide, starting with the mass burial of American women and ending with the progressive dehumanisation of their sons and daughters.

She also founded the American National Organisation for Women (NOW) and was its first president.

Germaine Greer writes (not especially kindly!) about "The Betty I Knew" in today\x92s Guardian, whilst assorted feminists pay tribute here.

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