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It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement Paperback – 7 May 1998


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Betty Friedan has been and remains a bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, and an ardent advocate of harmony and human values. -- Marilyn French Esquire It Changed My Life is a series of essays amounting to a thoughtful first-person history of the nascent feminist movement in the 1950s and '60s...[It is] perfect for mothers to give to daughters who 'don't get' feminism. -- H. J. Kirchhoff Globe and Mail [Toronto]

About the Author

Betty Friedan was a founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, and convener of the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Abortion Rights Action League. She is author of The Feminine Mystique, The Second Stage, and The Fountain of Age. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Cornell.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional collection of "Second Wave" writings 8 Jun. 2000
By Pamela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Betty Friedan was a pivotal figure in the "second wave" women's movement of the 1960s and 70s. The publication of her book, _The Feminine Mystique_ in 1963 catapulted her into international celebrity. The book was a catalyst of change. Fueled by an economic boom in which a single wage-earner could provide a satisfactory standard of living for an entire family, post World War II women had been pressured to abandon the workplace in order to bury their identities in housekeeping and motherhood.
Many middle class women felt stifled by the false feminine ideals and enforced domesticity of this era, and it was their frustration and anger to which Friedan's writing resonated. She was an educated Jewish woman with three children, a journalist, who had lived the suburban lifestyle, but who was propelled by her sense of injustice to speak to the larger world.
_It Changed My Life_ is a compilation of old and new writings, interviews, magazine articles, and recollections ten years after Friedan and a handful of other women founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in a Washington hotel room. This book was published in 1976, at a time when the original energy of the "second wave" women's movement had been submerged in pro-lesbian, anti-family rhetoric, and the futile struggle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) had many people questioning whether feminism was dead.
Her exceptional and powerful writings prove Friedan to be an outspoken radical, a true leader of our times. She is a spokeswoman for the heterosexual woman who loves her children, but who also wants to be valued by the human race. Friedan spoke out against social and economic powerlessness for women, as well as false standards of "machismo" for men. Her goal was cooperation, not separatism.
For instance, here is Friedan's interesting definition of feminism:
"My definition of feminism is simply that women are people, in the fullest sense of the word, who must be free to move in society with all the privileges and opportunities and responsibilities that are their human and American right. This does not mean class warfare against men, nor does it mean the elimination of children, which denies our human future.
"It seems to me that _all_ the women's movement ever was, or needs to be, is a stage in the whole human rights movement - bringing another group, a majority this time, into the mainstream of human society, with all the perils and promises and human risks this involves. No more, no less. " (p. 317, paperback)
Some of the most compelling writing in this book comes from a column originally published in _McCall's_ magazine between 1970-73. "Betty Friedan's Notebook" is a readable, page-turning narrative of Friedan's travels around the globe to spread the world of the women's movement. She was a busy speaker, much in demand, a dynamic personality in the lecture hall. The accounts of the public's response to her message in places like Brazil and Italy is absolutely absorbing. And we get to see the "at home" side of Betty as well, as she integrates her experiences as a woman and mother into her public vision for change.
In conclusion, _It Changed My Life_ is an optimistic collection of journalistic writings calling for real dialogue between the sexes. Betty Friedan is a pivotal figure in the history of the Women's Movement in America, and her exceptional ideas merit consideration by anyone interested in women's issues. This book is a *must read.*
Five Stars 18 Feb. 2015
By LaShanda - Published on Amazon.com
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