Cindy Carpenter writes for My Voice in the latest Quarterly

My Voice: 50 Years After The Feminine Mystique, Have Women’s Choices Changed?

I first read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique in college. It was the early ’80s, and when I came home for winter break, I mentioned to my mother that I had found the book interesting. Her response: “That book changed my life.” I found out later that it had probably changed my life as well.

I was two when Friedan’s book was published in 1963. My mom—Mary Lou Judd Carpenter ’55—was at home with her small children while my father, an attorney, worked. I grew up in the world Friedan described: well-educated, competent women who married well-educated, professional men and found themselves at home with their children. I didn’t experience my mother as unfulfilled, but I do know the message my sister and I received was very clear: You are to have a career. You are to go the places I did not. You are to look at traditionally male endeavors as opportunities open to you. Read the full version here.