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It Changed My Life / Edition 1

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Overview

"It Changed My Life." That's what Betty Friedan heard over and over from women throughout the United States, after the publication of her radical best-seller, The Feminine Mystique, sparked the beginning of contemporary feminism. The first stirring and uncertain years of the women's movement helped many women put a name to the sense of invisibility, powerlessness, and depression that Friedan famously called "the problem that has no name."

First published in 1976, "It Changed My Life" is a compellingly readable collection of reports from the front, back in the days less than a generation ago when women were routinely shut out of the professions and higher education, underpaid, condescended to, and harassed without consequences to the harassers. The book describes the political campaigns for equal pay and job opportunities, for the outlawing of sex discrimination, for the Equal Rights Amendment, and for legalized abortion, the creation of National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and the National Women's Political Caucus, and analyzes the antifeminist backlashes. Encounters with Simone de Beauvoir and Indira Gandhi are juxtaposed with moving and vivid personal struggles of many ordinary women. Among those women was Friedan herself, who frankly recorded her astonishment, gratification, and anger as the movement she helped create grew beyond all her hopes, and then raced beyond her control into a sexual politics she found disturbing.

A classic of modern feminism, "It Changed My Life" brings back years of struggle for those who were there, and recreates the past for the readers of today who were not yet born during these struggles for the opportunities and respect to which women can now feel entitled. In changing women's lives, the women's movement has changed everything.

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Editorial Reviews

Esquire

Betty Friedan has been and remains a bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, and an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.
— Marilyn French

Globe and Mail [Toronto]

It Changed My Life is a series of essays amounting to a thoughtful first-person history of the nascent feminist movement in the 1950s and '60s...[It is] perfect for mothers to give to daughters who 'don't get' feminism.
— H. J. Kirchhoff

Esquire - Marilyn French
Betty Friedan has been and remains a bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, and an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.
Globe and Mail [Toronto] - H. J. Kirchhoff
It Changed My Life is a series of essays amounting to a thoughtful first-person history of the nascent feminist movement in the 1950s and '60s...[It is] perfect for mothers to give to daughters who 'don't get' feminism.
Esquire
Betty Friedan has been and remains a bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, and an ardent advocate of harmony and human values.
— Marilyn French
Globe and Mail [Toronto]
It Changed My Life is a series of essays amounting to a thoughtful first-person history of the nascent feminist movement in the 1950s and '60s...[It is] perfect for mothers to give to daughters who 'don't get' feminism.
— H. J. Kirchhoff
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674468856
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 530
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Friedan was a founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, and convener of the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Abortion Rights Action League. She is author of The Feminine Mystique, The Second Stage, and The Fountain of Age. She is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Cornell.
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Table of Contents

Introduction, 1998

Introduction

Consciousness

Breaking Through the Feminine Mystique

The Way We Were—1949 (1974)

Angry Letters, Relieved Letters (1963)

Woman: The Fourth Dimension (1964)

Television and the Feminine Mystique (1964)

The Crisis in Women's Identity (1964)

The Actions

Organizing the Women's Movement for Equality

NOW Statement of Purpose (1966)

"The First Year": The President's Report to NOW 1967

"Our Revolution Is Unique": Excerpt from the President's Report to NOW, 1968

"Tokenism and the Pseudo-Radical Copout" (1969)

Abortion: A Woman's Civil Right (1969)

Judge Carswell and the "Sex Plus" Doctrine (1970)

Call to Women's Strike for Equality (1970)

Strike Day, August 26th, 1970

Critique of Sexual Politics (1970)

"The Next Step": The National Women's Political Caucus (1971)

Betty Friedan's Notebook

Struggling for Personal Truth (1971-1973)

Transcending Polarities

New Power in the World

Madame Prime Minister (1966)

A Visit with Pope Paul (1974)

A Dialogue with Simone de Beauvoir (1975)

The Crises of Divorce (1974)

An Open Letter to True Men (1974)

Scary Doings in Mexico City (1975)

An Open Letter to the Women's Movement—1976

Afterwords

Afterword to "The National Women's Political Caucus"

Afterword to "Madame Prime Minister"

Afterword to "A Visit with Pope Paul"

Afterword to "Scary Doings in Mexico City"

Afterword to "An Open Letter to the Women's Movement—1976"

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