Untold Stories

Untold Stories

Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique:
The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism
by Daniel Horowitz
The University of Massachusetts Press, 1998
352 pp $29.95

In 1967, when I first became immersed in the women’s movement, I began searching for our origins in history. Surely, we had not invented the wheel. I kept having the inchoate thought that something was missing, buried, just out of our sight. A naive pioneer in the field of women’s history, I knew that there had to be more than Kennedy liberalism, the civil rights movement, and the student and antiwar movements.

New Left men had links with the Old Left, even when they defied or infuriated their radical elders. Where was our generational continuity to women of the past? True, the Old Left had always raised “the Woman Question” and condemned “male chauvinism.” But the only direct connections between women of the Old and New Left that I clearly recognized was that which yoked red-diaper daughters to their mothers.