Feminist Pioneer Betty Friedan Dies
In her words and her actions, Friedan dared to take a radical stand at a time when America was still taking cues from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Donna Reed Show as to what constituted a "normal" family.
"A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children," wrote Friedan.
As the first president of the National Organization for Women in 1966, Friedan staked out positions that seemed extreme at the time on such issues as abortion, sex-neutral help-wanted ads, equal pay, promotion opportunities and maternity leave.
But at the same time, Friedan insisted that the women's movement had to remain in the American mainstream, that men had to be accepted as allies and that the family should not be rejected. "Don't get into the bra-burning, anti-man, politics-of-orgasm school," Friedan told a college audience in 1970.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaking to the Associated Press this weekend, saluted Friedan's activism and writing for having "opened doors and minds, breaking down barriers for women and enlarging opportunities for women and men for generations to come. We are all the beneficiaries of her vision."
Friedan lived in New York City and Washington and had a summer house in Sag Harbor, N.Y. She's survived by two sons, a daughter, nine grandchildren, a sister and a brother. Her husband, Carl Friedan, died last December, according to a family member.
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