But The Feminine Mystique was only the first of many contributions that Friedan has made to the women's movement. In 1966 she founded the National Organization for Women (NOW), which today has more than 70,000 members and is by far the most effective feminist group in the world. She has written a second book, It Changed My Life, made countless appearances on radio and television, and become one of the most sought-after lecturers in the country. Despite her public image as a hard core activist, Betty Friedan at 58 is a charming, decidedly feminine woman who enjoys wearing makeup and colorful dresses. In an interview at her brightly decorated apartment high above Lincoln Center, she reveals that these two aspects of her personality are not at all contradictory.
"I could have made, over the years, a hell of a lot more money than I have, simply by doing more commercial work and cashing in on my reputation. But that doesn't interest me," he reflects, puffing on his ever present cigar. "I mean, money interests me, but I'd just see my life being wasted."
My subjects probably found me somewhat of a rube. I didn't dress well, I had little knowledge of New York, I asked some very simplistic questions, and until 1979 I didn't use a tape recorder. So perhaps some of the stars were put off their guard and revealed more of themselves than they would have to a more professional interviewer. I was struck by how single-minded they were for success. Probing their brains was like getting a second college education. Their main message was: Don't waste your life and don't do anything just for money.
EASTSIDER JEAN MARSH
WESTSIDER BOBBY SHORT
We all grow up thinking we're in an era of progress, because we have had so much technological progress. But it simply doesn't work that way in art and literature. We're living in an era â€” to use Mencken's phrase â€” of the "Sahara of the beaux arts."