Each suburban wife struggles 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?

— Betty Friedan

The most stunning Betty Friedan quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

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.

80

I was at a meeting two years ago in Beijing, and I passed a bunch of women who were marching in a protest. Their signs were probably saying something I wouldn't have agreed with at all. But I was so glad to see women marching. And it's happening all over the world.

73

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

64

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

59

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

52

No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.

47

A good woman is one who loves passionately, has guts, seriousness and passionate convictions, takes responsibility, and shapes society.

46

Some people think I'm saying, 'Women of the world unite -- you have nothing to lose but your men. It's not true. You have nothing to lose but your vacuum cleaners.

46

When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.

44

Men, also, have in them enormous capacities that they have to repress and fear in themselves, living up to this obsolete and brutal man-eating, bear-killing, Ernest Hemingway, crewcut Prussian sadistic, napalm all the children in Vietnam, bang-bang you're dead, image of masculinity, the image of all powerful masculine superiority that is absolute.

31

We need a new political movement of women and men toward a new society.

28

The problem that has no name-which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities-is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.

25

About Betty Friedan

Quotes 110 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Activist
Birthday October 16

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

24

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

23

If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don't blame the women's movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based.

23

By now, abortion should be obsolete. And I - and probably a lot of other feminists - wish it were obsolete, because abortion, in itself, is not a value - it is simply the right to chose, which is an essential value.

19

I never set out to write a book to change women's lives, to change history.

It's like, 'Who, me?' Yes, me. I did it. And I'm not that different from other women. Maybe my power and glory was that I could speak my truth as a woman and it was the truth of every woman.

17

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.

16

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.

15

Economic equity is an enormous empowerment of women.

Having jobs that provide income means that women can be a more effective force, a more equal force, in the political process. Women with income take themselves more seriously and they are taken more seriously.

14

Today the problem that has no name is how to juggle work, love, home and children.

14

Men weren't really the enemy - they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.

14

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

13

The key to the trap is, of course, education.

The feminine mystique has made higher education for women seem suspect, unnecessary and even dangerous. But I think that education, and only education, has saved, and can continue to save, American women from the greater dangers of the feminine mystique.

13

Regardless of your age, you will always have adventures, unexpected joys and unexpected sorrows.

9

There is absolutely no evidence that it is harmful to children if their mother's health, well-being and autonomy and control of her own destiny is maximized by work outside the home.

9

Women, because they are not generally the principal breadwinners, can be perhaps most useful as the trail blazers, working along the bypaths, doing the unusual job that men cannot afford to gamble on.

9

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

7

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.

7

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

6

When one begins to think about it, America depends rather heavily on women's passive dependence, their femininity. Femininity, if one still wants to call it that, makes American women a target and a victim of the sexual sell.

6

I can't point to any major episodes of sexual discrimination in my early life.

But I was so aware of the crime, the shame that there was no use of my mother's ability and energy.

6

We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: 'I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.'

5

Each woman is made to feel it is her own cross to bear if she can't be the perfect clone of the male superman and the perfect clone of the feminine mystique.

5

life lived only for oneself does not truly satisfy men or women.

There is a hunger in Americans today for larger purposes beyond the self. That is the reason for the religious revival and the new resonance of 'family.

4

Chosen motherhood is the real liberation.

The choice to have a child makes the whole experience of motherhood different, and the choice to be generative in other ways can at last be made, and is being made by many women now, without guilt.

4

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.

3

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.

3

I wouldn't be satisfied with a life lived solely on the barricades.

I reserve my right to be frivolous.

3

If women’s role in life is limited solely to housewife/mother, it clearly ends when she can no longer bear more children and the children she has borne leave home.

3

Most of the people in the workforce today will spend some years when they also have children and family responsibilities.

3

I realized that what I was saying was threatening, somehow, to the editors of women's magazines. That it threatened the very world they were trying to paint, what I then called the "feminine mystique."

3

Dominance is a burden. Most men who are honest will admit that.

2

Neither woman nor man lives by work, or love, alone .

.. The human self defines itself and grows through love and work: All psychology before and after Freud boils down to that.

2

...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.

2

You have to say no to the old ways before you can begin to find the new yes you need.

2

Certain signs, some of them visible to the layman as well as the scientist, indicate that we have been watching an ice age approach for some time without realizing what we are seeing... Scientists predict that it will cause great snows which the world has not seen since the last ice age thousands of years ago.

2

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.

2

This idea that the employment of women, the movement of women outside the home into the work world, and their demand for equality is somehow responsible for increasing juvenile delinquency or the increase in divorce rate, is just so much bullshit.

1
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