Betty Friedan died Saturday February 3, 2006
Her 85th birthday.
My daughter said, "Didn't you know her."
"yes, and no."
Like millions of women I read The Feminine Mystique when it was first
published. I was a young mother at home with her three children. Reading her book gave me words for the restlessness I felt. That book gave me ideas - that I might do more and be more.
I never dreamed that the paths I took -
to a small Catholic women's college
to a NOW consciousness raising group-
to becoming an activist-lobbyist on behalf of women artists-
to my first REAL job as ERA Campaign Director for the League of Women Voters-
would bring me close to the woman who prompted me to open the first door.
As an artist-activist I was an eye-witness and minor player to many things of that era -
Marches for ERA, IWY Houston, United Nations Conference on Women,
ERA brought people who were working to pass it together. I talked with many people I would never have dreamed I would meet much less strategize with. One was Betty Friedan. We had several phone conversations; I sat with a group in her New York apartment. And one morning when she called me at the League on ERA business I thanked her for her book that took the hook out of women's cheeks.
"You are the only one who could do it - if anyone else wrote questioning the roles of women and men it would seem they were attacking you."
So, did I know her. Not really. Did I respect and appreciate her - absolutely. She was a forward looking, strong woman - with the courage to stand up and take risks...and that's what women needed.
Was she always right? I doubt it. But she started the movement that opened doors and gave women choices. I am most grateful for that - for me, my daughters and my grand-daughters.
Posted by ELLOUISESTORY