Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories on important women in American history, in celebration of March as National Women’s History Month. Information was provided by members of the Kaua‘i County Committee on the Status of Women. For more information, or to inquire about joining the committee, call Pat Hunter-Williams, 639-0888, or the Office of the Mayor, 241-6300.
Betty Friedan, whose book “The Feminine Mystique” became a best seller in the 1960s and laid the groundwork for the modern feminist movement, died last month, on her birthday. She was 85.
Friedan died at her home of congestive heart failure.
Friedan’s assertion in her 1963 best seller that having a husband and babies was not everything, and that women should aspire to separate identities as individuals, was highly unusual, if not revolutionary, just after the baby and suburban booms of the Eisenhower era.
The feminine mystique, she said, was a phony bill of goods society sold to women that left them unfulfilled, suffering from “the problem that has no name,” and seeking a solution in tranquilizers and psychoanalysis.
“A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, ‘Who am I, and what do I want out of life?’ She mustn’t feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children,” Friedan said.