Betty Friedan

American housewives have not had their brains shot away, nor are they schizophrenic in the clinical sense. But if … the fundamental human drive is not the urge for pleasure or the satisfaction of biological needs, but the need to grow and to realize one’s full potential, their comfortable, empty, purposeless days are indeed cause for a nameless terror.

There needs to be bolder thinking, … on how to measure the quality of life of men and women in the work force. Currently, success is measured by material advancements. We need to readjust the definition of success to account for time outside of work and satisfaction of life, not just the dollars-and-cents bottom line.

What had really caused the women’s movement was the additional years of human life. At the turn of the century women’s life expectancy was forty-six; now it was nearly eighty. Our groping sense that we couldn’t live all those years in terms of motherhood alone was “the problem that had no name.” Realizing that it was not some freakish personal fault but our common problem as women had enabled us to take the first steps to change our lives.

Having expressed the rage against the laws and conditions that oppressed them – maybe even excess anger in the beginning was directed at men they came in contact with, because it had been pent up too long – women now come from a new position of easier, more comfortable self-affirmation and empowerment. Women are given to tolerance and are more able to love. I hope it happens also to men.

The man who is extremely and dangerously hungry has no other interest but food. Capacities not useful for the satisfying of hunger are pushed into the background. ‘But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of food and his belly in chronically filled? At once, other (and higher) needs emerge and these, rather than the psychological hungers, dominate the organism.

I’m against suppression of pornography. If you suppress guns – yes; if you want to suppress poverty – yes. These are the obscenities, the real brutalization of people. I am almost more outraged by ads for blue jeans or cars that sort of blatantly depict women not only as sex objects, but women that look younger than the age of consent, looking like they’ve just been raped or asking to be raped-utterly passive sex objects.

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