Feminist Leader Betty Friedan Dies at 85
"When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman."
"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, whose 1963 book "The Feminine Mystique" helped inspire the modern feminist movement and who co-founded the National Organization For Women, died on Saturday on her 85th birthday, a relative said.
Friedan died at her home in Washington of congestive heart failure, just before 3 p.m. EST, her cousin Emily Bazelon told Reuters. "For Betty, feminism was an aspect of humanism. And one of her sons said this morning that she demonstrated that sheer intelligence could trump lack of intelligence," Bazelon said.
"The Feminine Mystique" emerged from an article about a survey she conducted of fellow graduates at Smith and focused on the restrictions on women of the role of full-time homemaker. It became a best-seller and helped invigorate the women's movement and U.S. feminism.
Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women, with Pauli Murray, the first African-American female Episcopal priest and served as the women's advocacy group's first president from 1966 to 1970. She also helped found NARAL, originally the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.
Current NOW President Kim Gandy said Friedan's "Feminine Mystique" book "opened women's eyes. "Betty recognized a longing in the women of her generation, a longing for something more -- opportunity, recognition, fulfillment, success, a chance to live their own dreams beyond the narrow definition of 'womanhood' that had limited their lives."