Fifty years ago, Betty Friedan started a movement to liberate women with her book,
"The Feminine Mystique"
Most of you weren't even born then, but some of us remember what life was like before women were granted equal status.
I recently read a column by Syndicated Columnist, Kathleen Parker with her views on this.
I was deeply appalled.
The very difference between Kathleen Parker and women of Betty Friedan's day was one thing;
A small word with a big impact.
Please read this column if you get the chance;
She wrote that "women like her (Friedan) - well-to-do, well-educated and stifled by domestic bliss - wanted and deserved more."
What Kathleen Parker never experienced was the prevailing attitudes of those days.
If you have ever watched the television series, 'Mad Men', you see a very accurate portrayal.
Women were considered second class citizens and there were few opportunities for women, especially if they chose to get married and have children.
Sexual Harassment in the work place was the rule not the exception.
Here are a few actual ads from those wonderful times.
This really was the prevailing attitude back then. Oh, I have more....
Yea. This is no joke.
I think it's more than housework putting this woman in a rage.
These men were lucky they didn't actually get close to a ledge with a real woman.
Obviously they never dreamed of Danica Patrick!
This particular attitude seems to have lingered well past it's prime.
This ad needs no words.
Every boss' fantasy back in the day. But not too far from reality.
A woman boss was just not even thought of.
Amazing! Obviously men dominated the advertising agencies.
Oh yea, - Mother's little helpers. If they're not happy being treated like a servant, they must need drugs.
I particularly love this one.
Don't you love this 'diet' ad?
Don't know what to say about this one.
It does make me want to cry, though.
Do we care what most men ask?
Aprons are making a comeback. Let's hope it's just a phase.
Thank goodness for perma-press.
And a couple of classics.
So there you go. This is the reason that women threw off those aprons and took to the streets.
It wasn't because they didn't love their families or love taking care of their children.
It was because of these prevailing attitudes that allowed mistreatment, discrimination, limited choice and opportunities.
It was legal to beat a woman as long as the 'rule of thumb' was applied.
The stick couldn't be any bigger than a man's thumb in diameter.
I'm not kidding.
Women couldn't divorce or she would be thrown into poverty.
She also needed a valid reason.
Domestic violence was not one of them.
Abandonment was usually the only reason.
Once she was divorced, she could work as a waitress, secretary, or if she had skills, a nurse or teacher.
But divorced women were shunned.
And forget about the poor woman who became pregnant outside of marriage.
Society shunned her completely.
Even her family shunned her.
So, ladies, if you think that the women's movement was something thought up by bored, well-to-do, well-educated and stifled by 'domestic bliss' women, think again.
Just read these ads again. And think about this. If these were just advertisements of the day, imagine the daily discrimination and disrespect women had to suffer each and every day.
We were considered the lesser class. The 'weaker sex', stupid, child like, subordinate to men.
And it has only been a very short time since these attitudes flourished.
Around the world, women are still living in the dark ages.
Every 9 seconds a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten.
Around the world, at least 1 in every 3 women has suffered violence, most often the abuser is a member of her own family.
Every day in the US, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
So, Kathleen Parker, there really is a reason to celebrate Betty Friedan's 50 year anniversary of her society changing book.
And these are the reasons why.