Left Eye on Books

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Betty Friedan

The New York Times obituary for Betty Friedan graciously includes this quote from its original review of The Feminine Mystique:

Writing in The New York Times Book Review in April 1963, Lucy Freeman
called "The Feminine Mystique" a "highly readable, provocative book," but went
on to question its basic premise, writing, of Ms. Friedan:
generalities, in which this book necessarily abounds, may hold a certain amount
of truth but often obscure the deeper issues. It is superficial to blame the
'culture' and its handmaidens, the women's magazines, as she does. What is to
stop a woman who is interested in national and international affairs from
reading magazines that deal with those subjects? To paraphrase a famous line,
'The fault, dear Mrs. Friedan, is not in our culture, but in ourselves.' "

If a collection were made of Times reviews of the important works of the last hundred years, you'd find the Times missed the boat about 85% of the time.


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