Betty Friedan Feminist

Introduction to Betty Friedan's Life

Betty Friedan was a feminist during the 1950's and 1960's. However she was most active in the 1960's. When Friedan was born, doctors told her mother she would never live a normal life, she was very tiny and her lungs did not work very well. However that did not stop Friedan, at a young age she knew what she wanted and she was very determined. Betty Friedan became a feminist because at a young age she observe her mother, Miriam Goldstein, and how she would act during her childhood. Friedan's mother would stay at home and take care of all her children, Betty, Amy, Henry Golstein, knew that their mother wanted to be an actress. Friedan's mother would do all the cooking and cleaning

Due to Friedan's mother's actions and feelings, Friedan at the age of 20 decided to take a stand and fight for women's rights because she felt women were being taken for granted. Even though her mother influenced her to fight for her rights and women's rights Betty Friedan also struggled with how men treated her.

Betty Friedan changed many people's lives especially women who were being treated unfair and unequally by men and society. Many people started to idolize her and think very highly of her because of how she encouraged many women to take a stand. Women became doctors and lawyers because of Betty Friedan. With the help of Friedan women got things done with their lives instead of being stay at home mothers. Friedan was also the co-founder of National Organization for Women.

Historical Context

During the 1960's there was a lot of new culture and traditions that people wanted to try put during this time period. Although there was negative events that happened during this time period. There was also war going on during the 60's and many people were upset, they did not want war to break off. There was a lot of movements and acts being passed, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Women's Rights Movement. In the 1960's women were being treated unfair and unequally than men during this time period. Many women during the 1960's did not work because society taught men that in order to be masculine women had to stay at home and do all the cooking and cleaning. Due to this not many women got an education nor did they try to achieve getting their bachelors. As a result of this more and more women became stay at home mothers. Before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy he gave a speech and in that speech he included on talking about the topic on giving more rights based on sex, color and religion, later on known as the Civil Rights Act. President JFK included women (sex) in this and this gave hope to most women because they wanted to be treated just as how men were treated, with respect.

This graph shows the audience how before the 1960's not a lot of women worked and how after women began to get the courage to start to work and get a career. The rates of working women increased after Betty Friedan helped many young women by spreading the word out.

Sex Discrimination During the 1960's

Sex discrimination was big problem that occurred during the 1960's. Betty Friedan fought for women's rights and tried to stop sex discrimination against women. Society taught men to treat women as if they are not important and to treat them as if they should not be included in anything. Society also taught men to think that women should get married at an early age and do women tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. Friedan wanted to help women to make them feel that they weren't just a waste of space and can actually become doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. Friedan wanted to give women the opportunity to show themselves that they should not be okay with how society and men treat them. Friedan also wanted for women to know that they should get an education and take a stand and fight gender norms.

As an example of how this problem was relevant to Betty Friedan was at work she would be shut out of meetings that should have included her because it had to do with her part of position at her job, but since the meeting only consisted of men they did not include her because they thought that she did not understand most of the things that they were saying. Men did not think women could be wise enough to get an education or even have a career. Men would not take it so lightly when women would try and take men jobs, men felt threatened by women so they would try to knock them down. For example some men authors would write articles, offending women and asking if education is wasted on them and why can't they just marry at a young age to train themselves to do those women tasks. This would upset many women. Another example is when Friedan was pregnant with her second child, about to give birth, the doctor asked her husband for permission to do a caesarean section instead of asking Friedan. This addresses the idea of how men did not think women could think for themselves and could not make decisions on their own and they need a man to decide for them.

Betty Friedan made this problem her priority because she wanted to be a leader who actually made change and stuck to her word and fight for rights. Also Friedan made this her priority because she did not want to end up like her mother, who would stay at home all the time and never achieved her dreams. Which is why Friedan made this her priority and wanted to spread the word about this problem. Friedan also did not want other women to think like this as well. Friedan wanted to stop this inhuman way of living and wanted women to stop thinking so lowly of themselves. Betty Friedan wanted love not war, she wanted women to know real love and true friendship instead of the masks men would wear to knock down women. Friedan made this her priority because she cared enough to put a stop to this because she went through this cruel problem and did not want more women to go through the same thing as she did.

This video is an example of how Betty Friedan expands on the idea of how in her country, Persia, many boys would rebel and reverse gender norms. This video also goes into depth about how she saw the way these boys rebelling as a symbol.

Betty Friedan's Contributions with NOW

Betty Friedan was co-founder of National Organization for Women also known as NOW. This organization also helped many women by bringing attention to the problem, sex discrimination. Betty made it her priority as co-founder to spread out the word about this problem so there can be a stop to his inhumane way of living. The men and women including Betty Friedan in this organization made a lot of changes for women and fought for their rights. Many women thanked Friedan for helping them achieve so much with their life.

This video is about National Organization for Women and how it helped many women and what the organization did to prevent sex discrimination.

Leadership Characteristics of Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan had lots of leadership characteristics because even though she was rude and aggressive, she was caring. Betty Friedan cared about what other people wanted. She wanted people, especially women to strive and get something done with their life. Friedan also had a lot of passion for what she was fighting for. Betty Friedan did not stop at all with any solution she had to stop sex discrimination. Friedan was passion enough of being a feminist that even though she had accomplished so much, she wanted to accomplish more, Friedan kept on writing book to encourage and inspire women to accomplish their goals. Betty Friedan was so afraid of becoming her mother that she tried to prevent so much and tried to motivate others to want to do something with their lives as well. Another leadership characteristic that Betty Friedan had was focus nothing stopped her from getting her work done. Friedan also had confidence, when she was younger many people would try to knock her down and say rude things such as calling her ugly and rude. However that did not stop Betty Friedan, that gave her confidence because she knew people were threatened by her.


Created with images by cliff1066™ - "Betty Friedan, 1995 by Alice Matzkin, Acrylic on canvas"

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