Quotes by Betty Friedan

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Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan (born February 4, 1921) is an American feminist, social activist and writer. more

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

Strange new problems are being reported in the growing generations of children whose mothers were always there, driving them around, helping them with their homework --an inability to endure pain or discipline or pursue any self-sustained goal of any sort, a devastating boredom with life.
Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim.
The problem lay buried, unspoken for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban housewife 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?
The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.
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.
Instead of fulfilling the promise of infinite orgasmic bliss, sex in the America of the feminine mystique is becoming a strangely joyless national compulsion, if not a contemptuous mockery.
The suburban housewife -- she was the dream image of the young American women and the envy, it was said, of women all over the world. The American housewife -- freed by science and labor-saving appliances from the drudgery, the dangers of childbirth, and the illnesses of her grandmother had found true feminine fulfillment.
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.
I hereby affirm my own right as a Jewish American feminist to make chicken soup, even though I sometimes take it out of a can.
If we face now the reality, at sixty-five or seventy, seventy-five, eighty, ninety, that we will indeed, sooner or later, die, then the only big question is how are we going to live the years we have left, however many or few they may be? What adventures can we now set out on to make sure we'll be alive when we die? Can age itself be such an adventure?
… there is something dangerous about being a housewife.
I discovered when I began to look into the whole question of retirement, our society exactly pinpoints the onset of that decline at age sixty-five. No one would presume to date so precisely the onset of childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, and reward--or punish--those who don't arrive or depart on time.
It comes as a surprise, even at first almost a feeling of guilt: after a long time of being afraid, of not wanting to think about it, of pretending everything's the same, the delight, the sheer excitement of coming into a new place after sixty, after it's all supposed to be over. And it may not have come easily.
Without my twenty to forty years of clutter, the lightness I feel here in this new home is good. Come to think of it, this move liberated me. It refreshed and energized me somehow, knowing I had to make new friends here, start new projects, plant my roots anew in journalist, political, feminist, and writers' groups (the interests of my past)--even try something truly new for me.

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