In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2006 / 11 Shevat, 5766

A ‘radical’ who wasn't completely wrong

By Suzanne Fields

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Reconsidering Betty Friedan

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Like it or not, we live in a world riven by polarities: black/white, red/blue, left/right. Our emotional responses to subjects that demand reasonable debate but show us to be blinded by rigid points of view can even be measured by the latest technology of brain imaging. We cheat both the record and ourselves when we overlook the hard truths embedded in the ideas of people we dislike (or think we should dislike).

There was considerable gnashing of teeth among some conservatives the other day on the occasion of the death of Betty Friedan. When certain of her critics paused to consider her legacy, they focused only on what they didn't like about the revolution she midwifed.

There was, to be sure, lots not to like. Betty Friedan was one tough mother. She overstated her case about the boredom of the 1950s American housewife, and she indulged in vicious and damaging hyperbole, describing the suburban housewife as living in a "comfortable concentration camp." But she transformed certain female realities that would benefit generations that came later, whether pleasing to liberal or angering to conservative.

Before she wrote "The Feminine Mystique" in 1963, many women who aspired to work in certain trades or pursue careers in the professions were consigned to the closets of their suburban homes, both literally and figuratively. She blazed a way out into a world of expanded opportunities that young women today expect as their natural due. It's important not to confuse Betty Friedan, the mother of modern feminism, with all that came after her. When she saw the damage wrought by radical feminists, she challenged the movement she founded, confronting the lesbian conspirators who would ignore the emotional wants and needs of women who yearned to be full-time mothers, or who wanted to mix family with work. She was denounced by some of the sisters as "bourgeois."

In her 1981 book, "The Second Stage," she examined some of the not-so-good changes her revolution had wrought. She told of the "executive assistant" she met in the office of a Los Angeles television producer. The woman, in her late 20s, beautiful, accomplished and "dressed for success," liked her work and saw it as a rung on the ladder to greater opportunity. "I know I'm lucky to have this job," she told Betty, "but you people who fought for these things had your families. You already had your men and your children. What are we supposed to do?"

Like most revolutions, feminism pushed the culture a few inches too far, ignoring the iron law of unintended consequences. Women who put their careers above all often found themselves listening to the remorseless ticking of their biological clocks without a man to love or child to nurture. Feminists had ignored Mother Nature, and Nature is the toughest mother of all.

The number of childless women in their early 40s doubled over two decades. One study found that 42 percent of successful women in corporate America were childless after 40. The numbers grew in other professions as well, as women became workaholics like the men they had railed against. By the 1970s, Betty Friedan's famous "feminine mystique" had hardened into conventions that deprived women of the warmth and caring that had marked their sex as la difference .

Betty Friedan made the mistake of imagining that all women were alike. She underestimated the passion of the conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly, who almost single-handedly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. In one debate, Ms. Friedan screamed at Mrs. Schlafly: "I'd like to burn you at the stake." Phyllis, who never loses her cucumber-like cool, replied: "I'm glad you said that, because it just shows the intemperate nature of proponents of ERA."

Betty Friedan and Phyllis Schlafly clarified the issues for women, issues that still teeter on the seesaw of public opinion. Betty had the media with her, but Phyllis had a grass-roots movement of her creation that's still alive and well. John Kerry won the majority of single women in 2004, but George W. won the overwhelming majority of married women, who figured he would be more likely to keep the home fires ablaze.

Betty Friedan was contemptuous of the radical feminists who set women against men, women again women, feminists against family. She warned young women of the peril of distorting the priorities of women and starting a war nobody could win. She was right about that, too.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Suzanne Fields, Creators Syndicate