#Empowered ~ Betty Friedan
“When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.”
Betty Friedan is perhaps one of the most iconic feminist of all times. She is mostly known for her controversial book “The Feminine Mystique”, which raised a lot of eyebrows in the ‘60s!
Her book was a revolutionary work for the time. It encouraged women to seek new opportunities for themselves, breaking away from the tradition of being a stay-at-home mom.
The message of the book was so powerful it inspired a whole generation of women to be more, so much that it is said to have inspired the second wave of feminism in the US.
Altogether with writing about abolishing gender stereotypes, Friedan had also an active role in bringing about political change.
In 1966, Betty co-founded the National Organization for Women, which fought for women’s rights, gender equality and spoke about political issues. She also fought for abortion rights in the US, establishing the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now, NARAL Pro-Choice America). Furthermore, she worked with other leading feminists like Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug to create the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.
What some might not know is that Betty graduated from Smith College in 1942 with a major in Psychology! Her research while she was working as a freelance for numerous magazines lead to a reflection on women’s life satisfaction, and eventually became a foundation for “The Feminine Mystique”.
Her psychology background is evident in her later publications, especially her last work “The Fountain of Age” (1993). Here, Betty addresses the psychology of old age, concentrating on changing the mainstream view of aging.
Here’s a link to one of Betty’s articles, “The Quality of Life”! It’s worth a read, and it opens a different perspective on women’s role in the 1960s.