Book: It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women’s Movement
Author: Betty Friedan
Published: 1976 (collection; Random House)
It’s a little worrying how relevant these writings still seem today in this space-age year of 2012. We still have wage issues, and dammit-they’re-our-own-bodies issues, and nobody’s even come close to working out how to put together a strong career and raising kids without compromising severe amounts of sleep.
Considering all that, these are smart writings by the lady who started it all. She tells you exactly how she started it all, and exactly where it started to get away from her, and at some point when she was discussing how the movement is (was, in 1975) fracturing, I wanted to tell her, “Lady, lesbians have feelings too.”
She puts these essays, news reports, NOW meeting notes, and interviews in rough chronological order, which is logical, but they’re each written for a slightly different audience, so there’s a lot of overlap.
Especially when she gets to her McCall’s columns; those were written for a mass audience who didn’t know what feminism was actually meant to mean, so she tends to condescend and sentimentalize so Mrs. Still-a-Housewife won’t keep thinking that “equal rights for women” equals “bra-burning ladynazis who don’t need men.” She’s superadiment about still liking men, y’all, and I agree with her insistence on bringing men on board and making everybody equal instead of insisting that women are more awesome than men, but by the end she’s focusing way too much on why the new NOW leadership is too radical than what’s the next thing she can do about breaking the glass ceiling.
With intros sometimes as long as a piece itself, these writings get repetitive when read straight through. (My boyfriend says The Feminine Mystique is like that too. I wonder what she would think about that, about how equally we’ve shared the work of reading her writings.) BUT it’s an excellent collection with a piece for every audience, so it will go on my bookshelf.
Y’all, I’m trying to remember where I got this book. I honestly have no idea. It was free, though, and as such was worth it and more.