IT CHANGED MY LIFE: Writings on the Women's Movement by Betty Friedan

IT CHANGED MY LIFE: Writings on the Women's Movement

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is much more than just a collection of Betty Friedan's short writings over the years since she burst open women's minds with The Feminine Mystique (1963). The retrospective commentaries and narratives with which Friedan has interlaced her pieces knit them into a vigorous and revealing whole: an urgently reasoned manifesto for human liberation through social innovation; a close-up chronicle of the women's movement in all its political, economic, religious, and familial resonances; and a chart of rising consciousness plotted over more than a decade of political activity, conflict, and personal change. After the writing of that milestone book (an activity Friedan hid like secret drinking from her suburban neighbors) came the burdensome responsibility for marshalling the surprising force of women's discontent towards substantial social gains: the founding of NOW, the victories over employment discrimination, the battles for legal abortion and the ERA. Then, the formation of the National Women's Political Caucus and the fragmentation of the Movement by both sexual separatists and female power brokers (""Gloria and Bella""), whom Friedan lambastes in all fairness but in no uncertain terms. Finally, Mexico City and the flattering but terrifying discovery that powerful governments considered the Movement worthy of infiltration by agents provocateurs. Friedan stakes out her turf squarely in the center of the real Revolution and in the middle of the road; she manages both to justify her claim to the former and to convince one that the latter may, when the shouting dies down, be the soundest position from which to effect real change for women and men. Her book--repetitive, healthily egotistical, honest, reverberating with clear rhetoric and humor--may be contested and mocked by her rivals, but it establishes her beyond question as an American revolutionary in the best tradition of impassioned reasonableness.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1976
Publisher: Random House