Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of Betty Friedan Quotes and sayings on choices, discrimination, feminism, divorce, diversity etc.

56 Betty Friedan Quotes That Are Worth Knowing

Famous As: Feminist, Writer
Born On: February 4, 1921
Died On: February 4, 2004
Born In: Peoria, Illinois
Founder / Co Founder: National Organization for Women (NOW)
Died At Age: 83

Betty Friedan was an iconic American writer, activist and feminist, who was the creator of The Feminine Mystique, which led to the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. One of the most prominent figures in the women's movement in the United States, she was the co-founder and first president of the National Organization for Women. The idea of this organization was to empower women into the mainstream of the society, bringing them at par with the opposite gender. Her other notable works include Beyond Gender, It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement and The Second Stage. This National Women's Hall of Fame inductee was presented with honorary doctorate of humane letter from Smith College, State University at Stony Brook, Columbia University and Bradley University. The Glamour magazine registered Friedan in the list of "The 75 Most Important Women of the Past 75 Years". Here are some of the famous quotes from this champion of feminism.

Listed In:

Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

Betty Friedan

No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.

Betty Friedan

Protectiveness has often muffled the sound of doors closing against women.

Betty Friedan

All year there have been these cover stories that the women's movement is dead and about the death of feminism and the post-feminist generation of young women who don't identify with feminism - and then we have the biggest march ever of women in Washington. More people than had ever marched for anything - not only more women, but more people.

Betty Friedan

I wouldn't be satisfied with a life lived solely on the barricades. I reserve my right to be frivolous.

Betty Friedan

He's a male chauvinistic piglet.

Betty Friedan

Each woman is made to feel it is her own cross to bear if she can't be the perfect clone of the male superman and the perfect clone of the feminine mystique.

Betty Friedan

There is absolutely no evidence that it is harmful to children if their mother's health, well-being and autonomy and control of her own destiny is maximized by work outside the home.

Betty Friedan

I have discovered that there is a crucial difference between society's image of old people and 'us' as we know and feel ourselves to be.

Betty Friedan

I was at a meeting two years ago in Beijing, and I passed a bunch of women who were marching in a protest. Their signs were probably saying something I wouldn't have agreed with at all. But I was so glad to see women marching. And it's happening all over the world.

Betty Friedan

It is easier to live life through someone else than to become complete yourself.

Betty Friedan

Certain signs, some of them visible to the layman as well as the scientist, indicate that we have been watching an ice age approach for some time without realizing what we are seeing... Scientists predict that it will cause great snows which the world has not seen since the last ice age thousands of years ago.

Betty Friedan

Neither woman nor man lives by work, or love, alone ... The human self defines itself and grows through love and work: All psychology before and after Freud boils down to that.

Betty Friedan

Economic equity is an enormous empowerment of women. Having jobs that provide income means that women can be a more effective force, a more equal force, in the political process. Women with income take themselves more seriously and they are taken more seriously.

Betty Friedan

A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children.

Betty Friedan

Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves?

Betty Friedan

A good woman is one who loves passionately, has guts, seriousness and passionate convictions, takes responsibility, and shapes society.

Betty Friedan

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

Betty Friedan

Today the problem that has no name is how to juggle work, love, home and children.

Betty Friedan

Some people think I'm saying, 'Women of the world unite -- you have nothing to lose but your men. It's not true. You have nothing to lose but your vacuum cleaners.

Betty Friedan

It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question 'who am I' except the voice inside herself.

Betty Friedan

When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.

Betty Friedan

We need a new political movement of women and men toward a new society.

Betty Friedan

If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don't blame the women's movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based.

Betty Friedan

It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question 'who am I' except the voice inside herself.

Betty Friedan

By now, abortion should be obsolete. And I - and probably a lot of other feminists - wish it were obsolete, because abortion, in itself, is not a value - it is simply the right to chose, which is an essential value.

Betty Friedan

Just as darkness is sometimes defined as the absence of light, so age is defined as the absence of youth.

Betty Friedan

Over and over again, stories in women's magazines insist that women can know fulfillment only at the moment of giving birth to a child. They deny the years when she can no longer look forward to giving birth, even if she repeats the act over and over again. In the feminine mystique, there is no other way for a woman to dream of creation or of the future. There is no other way she can even dream about herself, except as her children's mother, her husband's wife.

Betty Friedan

Men, also, have in them enormous capacities that they have to repress and fear in themselves, living up to this obsolete and brutal man-eating, bear-killing, Ernest Hemingway, crewcut Prussian sadistic, napalm all the children in Vietnam, bang-bang you're dead, image of masculinity, the image of all powerful masculine superiority that is absolute.

Betty Friedan

The only kind of work which permits an able woman to realize her abilities fully, to achieve identity in society in a life plan that can encompass marriage and motherhood, is the kind that was forbidden by the feminine mystique, the lifelong commitment to an art or science, to politics or profession. If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don't blame the women's movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based.

Betty Friedan

The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.

Betty Friedan

We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: 'I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.'

Betty Friedan

The situation of women and men is not comparable to worker-boss or black and white.

Betty Friedan

[Feminist:] One who believes in the liberation of that which has been suppressed as female in a man.

Betty Friedan

Advice? I don't offer advice. Not my business. Your life is what you make it.

Betty Friedan

The key to the trap is, of course, education. The feminine mystique has made higher education for women seem suspect, unnecessary and even dangerous. But I think that education, and only education, has saved, and can continue to save, American women from the greater dangers of the feminine mystique.

Betty Friedan

We need to see men and women as equal partners, but its hard to think of movies that do that. When I talk to people, they think of movies of forty-five years ago! Hepburn and Tracy!

Betty Friedan

Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question-- 'Is this all?

Betty Friedan

I understood somehow my mother's frustration. And that it was no good not only for her, but for her children or her husband, that she didn't have a real use of her ability.

Betty Friedan

I can't point to any major episodes of sexual discrimination in my early life. But I was so aware of the crime, the shame that there was no use of my mother's ability and energy.

Betty Friedan

I never set out to write a book to change women's lives, to change history. It's like, 'Who, me?' Yes, me. I did it. And I'm not that different from other women. Maybe my power and glory was that I could speak my truth as a woman and it was the truth of every woman.

Betty Friedan

Aging will create the music of the coming century.

Betty Friedan

Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves.

Betty Friedan

The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.

Betty Friedan

The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning [that is, a longing] that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban [house]wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries ... she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question - 'Is this all?

Betty Friedan

You can have it all, just not all at the same time.

Betty Friedan

Life lived only for oneself does not truly satisfy men or women. There is a hunger in Americans today for larger purposes beyond the self. That is the reason for the religious revival and the new resonance of 'family.

Betty Friedan

It is perhaps beside the point to remark that bowling alleys and supermarkets have nursery facilities, while schools and colleges and scientific laboratories and government offices do not.

Betty Friedan

The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained.

Betty Friedan

Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves.

Betty Friedan

Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves? Who knows what women's intelligence will contribute when it can be nourished without denying love?

Betty Friedan

The feminist revolution had to be fought because women quite simply were stopped at a state of evolution far short of their human capacity.

Betty Friedan

It is wrong to keep spelling out unnecessary choices that make women unconsciously resist either commitment or motherhood--and that hold back recognition of the needed social changes.

Betty Friedan

Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to be themselves.

Betty Friedan

Men weren't really the enemy - they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.

Betty Friedan

The insult, the real reflection on our culture's definition of the role of women, is that as a nation we only noticed something was wrong with women when we saw its effects on their sons.

Betty Friedan