The second-wave feminist movement in the United States was a powerful one. Many strong women contributed to the movement, especially a woman named Betty Friedan. Betty was born on February 4th, 1921. She was an activist, author, and dedicated feminist. Betty wrote a book in 1963 called The Feminine Mystique, which is said to have sparked the feminist movement. Friedan accomplished many goals including women’s rights, like establishing the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966, as well as being the first president in it. After stepping down from that position, Friedan was still not done. She organized the national Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. She constantly advocated for the proposed “Equal Rights Amendment” that was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Betty remained in politics for the rest of her life and wrote six books. She continued to influence women of all ages nationwide with her spirit and her advocacy. She passed away on her 85th birthday in 2006. She left a large imprint of feminist beliefs in our history, one that will be acknowledged for centuries to come.
Betty Friedan is a very special woman to me. She makes me think about what I could do as an adolescent to help women’s rights, and feminism altogether. It’s important to be educated on problems like rape culture and misogyny the younger you are, so you can grow up being cautious of your actions. Also, we need to teach our children how to act and speak and know what it right and wrong. Betty Friedan helped with that because I think my generation is considerably more educated on topics like this than my parents, and her advocating for women’s rights was a step in that ladder of getting to where we are now. Young girls all over the world need to know when they are being treated wrong, and young boys need to know when they are doing the bad treatment. Girl negativity is a growing problem in our society, and remembering the roots of early feminism could help us understand that we all need to work together to gain equal treatment in the world.
Title from “Big Toe” by The Growlers.