Thursday, February 09, 2006

Feminism Pioneer Betty Friedan Dies at 85

Betty Friedan, whose manifesto "The Feminine Mystique" helped shatter the cozy suburban ideal of the post-World War II era and laid the groundwork for the modern feminist movement, died Saturday, her birthday. She was 85.

Friedan died at her Washington, D.C., home of congestive heart failure, according to a cousin, Emily Bazelon.

Few books have so profoundly changed so many lives as did Friedan's 1963 best seller. Her assertion that a woman needed more than a husband and children was a radical break from the Eisenhower era, when the very idea of a wife doing any work outside of house work was fodder for gag writers, like an episode out of "I Love Lucy."

Independence for women was no joke, Friedan wrote. The feminine mystique was a phony deal sold to women that left them unfulfilled, suffering from "the problem that has no name" and seeking a solution in tranquilizers and psychoanalysis. Full Story

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