The recent publication of two biographies of Betty Friedan, and the media attention the books have drawn, make this an apt moment to reflect on the myths about the women’s movement that some on the political left as well as the right have accepted for the past thirty years.
As an activist, scholar, and writer focused on the dynamics of sexism, and an associate of Betty Friedan’s for three decades, I must confront one of the most serious of these myths: the view that the women’s movement was created by white, middle-class women, led by white, middle-class women, to defend the interests of white, middle-class women. This view is now so commonly accepted that feminist activists routinely cry mea culpa for neglecting women of color and of the working class. The accusations and the apologies are ill-placed....
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