Gallery- New York Times- Sydney Altman

Ten years following the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, she reflects on the book and its impact in an article for The New York Times. She writes about her struggles with having her initial thoughts printed in multiple different magazines because they strayed so far from what the typical housewife would write. Her thoughts questioned the lies that feminine figures were not capable of accomplishing much more meaningful tasks than what they had been given for years. This rejection was the force pushing her towards writing the novel and having her words in print to share, but the backlash she received once the book was published shocked her, as it came from mostly women. Freidman states: 

“I didn’t blame women for being scared. I was pretty scared myself, It isn’t really 

possible to make a new pattern of life all by yourself… It was easier for me to start the women’s movement which was needed to change society than to change my own personal life” (1973, par. 17). 

Were these women scared of giving up their safe lives and the comfort they found in routine? Or were they genuinely happy with the constrained lives they lived in their homes, serving their families? The bravery it took for Friedan to publish such a groundbreaking manifesto for women’s independence was unmatched for the time period, and even in today’s society holds women to high standards. In her article she explains that this movement was not to make women, as the oppressed, become the oppressors. Men and women were created equally, and to have them participate in society equally they must work together to bridge the gaps and knock down the barriers. These barriers are not just seen within the economic gaps of opportunity, but also in the suppressing of women’s sexual and emotional needs. What makes women so incredible is their strength, despite being labeled as the weaker and more vulnerable sex. Freidman writes that she used to be fearful of flying, but her own book eradicated that fear. (Freidman, 1973, par. 41). Women and men can fly across oceans and mountain ranges together, supporting each other along the way. Feminism has no impact if we ignore the problems that need to be addressed. Freidman faced these problems head on and began a positive revolution. 

Friedan, B. (1973, March 4). Up from the kitchen floor. The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from

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