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B etty Friedan, the feminist crusader and author whose first book, The Feminine Mystique , ignited the contemporary women’s movement in 1963, died in February 2006, on her 85th birthday.
Bettye Naomi Goldstein was born on February 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois. Her father, Harry, was an immigrant from Russia who parlayed a street-corner collar-button business into a prosperous downtown jewelry store. Her mother, Miriam, had been the editor of the women’s page of the local newspaper before giving up her job for marriage and children.
Betty received her bachelor’s degree in 1942—by that time she had dropped the final “e”—and accepted a fellowship to the University of California, Berkeley, for graduate work in psychology. At Berkeley, she studied with psychologist Erik Erikson, among others. She won a second fellowship that would allow her to continue studying for a doctorate. After finishing her studies, she moved to Greenwich Village in New York city.
There, Friedan worked as an editor at the Federated Press, a small news service that provided stories to labor newspapers nationwide. In 1946, she took a job as a reporter with UE News , the weekly publication of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
In 1947 she married Carl Friedan. They started a family and moved to Rockland County, New York.
In 1966 Friedan helped found the National Organization for Women (NOW), serving as its first president. In 1969 she co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America. With Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and others, she founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.
Though in later years, some feminists dismissed Friedan’s work as outmoded, a great many aspects of modern life that seem routine today—from unisex help wanted ads to women in politics, medicine, the clergy, and the military—are the direct result of the hard-won advances she helped women attain.
Friedan trained as a psychologist, but never pursued a career in the field. When she wrote The Feminine Mystique , she was a suburban housewife and mother who supplemented her husband’s income by writing freelance articles for women’s magazines.
The Feminine Mystique began as a survey Friedan conducted in 1957 for the 15th reunion of her graduating class at Smith. It was intended to refute a prevailing postwar myth: that higher education kept women from adapting to their roles as wives and mothers. Judging from her own capable life, Friedan expected her classmates to describe theirs as similarly well adjusted. But what she discovered in the women’s responses was something far more complex and more troubling—a “nameless, aching dissatisfaction” that she would famously call “the problem that has no name.”
Drawing on history, psychology, sociology, and economics, Friedan charted a gradual metamorphosis of the American woman from the independent, career-minded “new woman” of the 1920s and 1930s into the vacant, aproned housewife of the postwar years
With its impassioned analysis of the issues that affected women’s lives in the decades after World War II—including enforced domesticity, limited career prospects, and the campaign for legalized abortion— The Feminine Mystique is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. Friedan’s other books include It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women’s Movement (Random House, 1976); The Second Stage (Summit, 1981); and The Fountain of Age (Simon & Schuster, 1993).
The recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, she has been a visiting professor at universities around the country, among them Columbia, Temple, and the University of Southern California. In recent years, Friedan was associated with the Institute for Women and Work at Cornell University.
The new society Friedan proposed, founded on the notion that men and women were created equal, represented such a drastic upending of prevailing norms that over the years, she would be forced to explain her position again and again. “Some people think I’m saying, ‘Women of the world unite—you have nothing to lose but your men,’” she told Life magazine in 1963. “It’s not true. You have nothing to lose but your vacuum cleaners.”
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.