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Quotes of the day: Betty Friedan

Published Wednesday, February 03, 2016 @ 7:05 PM EST
Feb 03 2016

Betty Friedan (February 4, 1921 – February 4, 2006) was an American writer, activist, and feminist. A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan co-founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which aimed to bring women "into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A girl should not expect special privileges because of her sex, but neither should she 'adjust' to prejudice and discrimination.

A woman is handicapped by her sex, and handicaps society, either by slavishly copying the pattern of man's advance in the professions, or by refusing to compete with man at all.

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

Chosen motherhood is the real liberation.

It is better for a woman to compete impersonally in society, as men do, than to compete for dominance in her own home with her husband, compete with her neighbors for empty status, and so smother her son that he cannot compete at all.

It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself.

It is perhaps beside the point to remark that bowling alleys and supermarkets have nursery facilities, while schools and colleges and scientific laboratories and government offices do not.

Just as darkness is sometimes defined as the absence of light, so age is defined as the absence of youth.

Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves.

No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.

The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.

The feminist revolution had to be fought because women quite simply were stopped at a state of evolution far short of their human capacity.

The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained.

The insult, the real reflection on our culture's definition of the role of women, is that as a nation we only noticed something was wrong with women when we saw its effects on their sons.

The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.

Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to be themselves.

Women who 'adjust' as housewives, who grow up wanting to be 'just a housewife,' are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps... they ate suffering a slow death of mind and spirit.

You can have it all, just not all at the same time.


(February 4 is also the birthday of Charles A. Lindbergh.)

Categories: Betty Friedan, Quotes of the day


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