Betty Friedan (1921-2006) Author of the Feminist Manifesto

By Brannon S. Howse

If “tolerance” is the core value of political correctness, feminism is its most cherished cause, and the implications of our cultural devotion to feminism are monstrous. Feminism is not about equal rights for women but about the feminization of the American male, an ideology that is anti-family and anti-father—and virtually guaranteed to bring about the wholesale destruction of the American family.

The Frankfurt School staff (Chapter 23) knew that "...Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change." 

Dr. Gerald L. Atkinson, CDR, USN (Ret.) describes the attack on the American male through the propaganda of the Frankfurt School: 


[quote] The Frankfurt school studied the “authoritarian personality” which became synonymous with the male, the patriarchal head of the American family.  A modern utopia would be constructed by these idealistic intellectuals by “turning Western civilization” upside down.  This utopia would be a product of their imagination, a product not susceptible to criticism on the basis of the examination of evidence.  This “revolution” would be accomplished by fomenting a very quiet, subtle and slowly spreading “cultural Marxism” which would apply to culture the principles of Karl Marx bolstered by the modern psychological tools of Sigmund Freud.  Thus, “cultural Marxism” became a marriage of Marx and Freud aimed at producing a “quiet” revolution in the United States of America.  This “quiet revolution has occurred in America over the past 30 years.  While America slept! “The Authoritarian personality,” studied by the Frankfurt School in the 1940s and 1950s in America, prepared the way for the subsequent warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Herbert Marcuse and his band of social revolutionaries under the guise of “women's liberation” and the New Left movement in the 1960s. The evidence that psychological techniques for changing personality is intended to mean emasculation of the American male is provided by Abraham Maslow, founder of Third Force Humanist Psychology and a promoter of the psychotherapeutic classroom, who wrote that, “...the next step in personal evolution is a transcendence of both masculinity and femininity to general humanness.”  The Marxist revolutionaries knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it.  They have succeeded in accomplishing much of their agenda. [end quote] 

Among the champions of feminism have been Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and, most assuredly, Betty Friedan. Friedan was also co-founder of the National Organization of Women (NOW), one of America's most radical feminist organizations. 


Friedan's book, The Feminine Mystique, could be described as the Feminist Manifesto. Released in 1963, it was a major force behind the 1970s explosion of the radical feminist agenda. Like many of the people in this book, Friedan was an atheist who embraced Marxism. As Benjamin Wicker points out:

[quote] Before she published The Feminine Mystique, Friedan had spent years in Marxist-inspired agitation on behalf of mistreated lower-class workers—and the abstractness of her analysis is fundamentally Marxist. She had been a Marxist since her college days at Smith in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the years after, she belonged to, worked for, or wrote positively about a string of leftist organizations and publications—like the Popular Front, the Federated Press, UE News, Congress of American Women, Jewish Life—that had significant Communist membership or Soviet sympathies. Knowing that the call to revolution in The Feminine Mystique would be damaged if it was associated with the call to revolution in the Communist Manifesto, she hid her radical past. [end quote]

Benjamin Wicker believes Friedan's book is much longer than needed to convey her belief that "women who are only wives and mothers are secretly or openly miserable because they cannot venture outside the home and cheerfully maximize their potential as human beings in meaningful work, just as men do." In critiquing her obsessive work, he asks an obvious and telling question: What makes Friedan think it is a guaranteed fact that men just can't wait to get up each morning to drive a truck, build a house, pave a road, paint a house, manage a store, fill out people's tax forms, write their wills, or work in a laboratory? Countless men rise dutifully each morning to do jobs they really don’t enjoy and, in many cases, jobs they detest. But they do it for love of their families and for the purpose of providing for them. Many men long for the day they can retire and leave behind a job they long since stopped enjoying.  

Just because Friedan doesn’t want to acknowledge the self-sacrifice of such men does not mean they’re not fulfilling a God-given role of protector, defender, and provider.  Most women (my wife among them) are happy to have husbands who willingly and eagerly embrace this role so they can pursue their God-given role and passion of being wives and mothers.

When Melissa and I were married, we agreed it would be ideal to be married five years before having children. This would allow my wife to finish college and spend a few years pursuing her interest in being a hospital-based medical social worker in a large American city. Long before our five- year anniversary, though, my sweet wife—still in her mid- twenties—was eager to quit her job and have a family. A year after our first child was born, she returned to the hospital two days a week so we could keep our health insurance. (I’ve always been self-employed, and as those of you who are self-employed know, purchasing your own health insurance is rather expensive.)  So, I cared for our son while she was at work. This lasted only a few months because I was not a good mother. While I aspire to be the best father in history, that’s a different calling. Motherhood wasn’t in my bones. 

Melissa did not aim to be a working mother but a full-time, stay-at-home mom, despite Freidan's claim that women would rather be in the workforce than at home raising children and caring for their husbands. But what about that expensive health insurance that we would have to purchase if she quit? It was up to me.  I had to take on more speaking engagements, which meant I had to do one of the things I hate more than anything in the world: I had to travel on airplanes. “Fear of flying” doesn’t even begin to describe my attitude. It also meant leaving my wife and child behind more weekends when everyone else was having fun together, going to ball games and social functions. But Friedan would not understand that men often do what they don’t want to do in order to provide for their families. To her, men live the dream life while women are stuck at home living a nightmare. I’m not sure what planet Friedan was on when she did her research.

Now after almost 20 years of marriage, my wife often thanks me for working hard enough to allow her to do what God has called her to do—and what she loves.  She’s thankful to have the choice to be a full-time mother, unlike some families where the husband is passive, unmotivated, and content to stay in a low-paying job that forces the wife back into the work force. In some cases, the wife makes a large salary while her boy-husband enjoys the toys and entertainment her money affords him, despite her real desire to be a full-time mother. 

Thanks largely to Betty Friedan, feminists claim women do not like strong-willed men who have convictions and the courage of those convictions to lead their families. Reality suggests otherwise, however. Most women want exactly that. 

One time, early in our marriage, my wife and I disagreed vehemently over something she wanted to do. I explained that I did not think traveling by herself several hundred miles to see her family and attend a family birthday party was safe. I added that, in a few weekends, I would be off the road and free to drive her. This went over like a ton of bricks, but I didn’t back down. I love my wife and view her protection and security as one of my responsibilities. After a few hours’ reflection, my wife agreed that I was correct, and she thanked me for not giving in to her. When I asked what she meant by that, she said, "One of the qualities that attracted me to you in the first place was that you are not a panty waist I could push around."

Now don’t misunderstand me: I know I’m not always right. She’s a smart woman and has her share of “right” times. What my story means is that wives want a husband who will lovingly lead, defend, protect, and provide for them—and not back down on vital issues of principle and protection. One consequence of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden was that the woman will challenge the man for leadership (Genesis 3:16). This does not mean that women really want it—even if they think they do—because if a woman takes the leadership position, she ultimately doesn’t find it satisfying and usually ends up discontent with her man. What women really want in a marriage is the protection, provision, and servant leadership of a loving husband. 

Whether people admit it or not, it is evident that there are God-ordained roles for men and for women—each complementing the other. This is what makes a great marriage great—the different and sometimes opposite but complementary gifts, abilities, insight, and interests of each spouse.   


The feminist agenda is simply that Friedan and friends do not want women to find fulfillment in being wives and mothers. My friend and staunch conservative Phyllis Schlafly explains that feminists are really dictators who want to leave women no choice but to follow a humanist, politically correct lifestyle:  

[quote] The feminists whine endlessly using their favorite word "choice" in matters of abortion, but they reject choice in gender roles. The Big Mama of feminist studies, Simone de Beauvoir, said, "We don't believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children . . . precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." 

The feminists have carried on a long-running campaign to make husbands and fathers unnecessary and irrelevant. Most divorces are initiated by women, and more women than men request same-sex marriage licenses in Massachusetts so that, with two affirmative-action jobs plus in vitro fertilization, they can create a "family" without husbands or fathers. 

Despite the false messages of the colleges and the media, most American women are smart enough to reject the label feminist, and only 20 percent of mothers say they want full-time work in the labor force. I suggest that women suffering from unhappiness should look into how women are treated in the rest of the world, and then maybe American women would realize they are the most fortunate people on earth. [end quote] 

Schlafly, a Washington University Law School educated lawyer, also describes in an article, “The Feminists Continue Their War Against Men,” how feminist leaders feel about motherhood:

[quote] In 1970, Gloria Steinem told the Senate Judiciary Committee it is a “myth” to believe “that children must have full-time mothers. . . . The truth is that most American children seem to be suffering from too much mother, and too little father. Part of the program of Women’s Liberation is a return of fathers to their children. If laws permit women equal work and pay opportunities, men will then be relieved of their role as sole breadwinner.” 

Articulating vintage feminism in the 1974 Harvard Educational Review, Hillary Clinton wrote disparagingly about wives who are in “a dependency relationship” which, she said, is akin to “slavery and the Indian reservation system.” [end quote] 

Schafly expands on this feminist notion of marriage and motherhood as slavery: 

[quote] Then-ACLU attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her 1977 book Sex Bias in the U.S. Code that “all legislation based on the breadwinning-husband, dependent-homemaking-wife pattern” must be eliminated “to reflect the equality principle” because “a scheme built upon the breadwinning husband [and] dependent homemaking wife concept inevitably treats the woman’s efforts or aspirations in the economic sector as less important than the man’s.” Feminist literature is filled with putdowns of the role of housewife and mother. This ideology led directly to feminist insistence that the taxpayers provide (in Ginsburg’s words) “a comprehensive program of government-supported child care.”

The icon of college women’s studies courses, Simone de Beauvoir, opined that “marriage is an obscene bourgeois institution.” Easy divorce became a primary goal of the feminist liberation movement. Robin Morgan, one of the founders of Ms. Magazine, said that marriage is “a slavery-like practice” and that “we can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” Three-fourths of divorces are now unilaterally initiated by wives without any requirement to allege that the cast-off husband committed any fault. [end quote] 

In a political bait-and-switch that would make Karl Marx proud, once feminists achieved one of their goals of easy-divorce, they did a complete turnaround on the importance of mothers raising their children. Again, Schlafly reports:

[quote] As divorces became easy to get, the feminists suddenly did a total about-face in their demand that fathers share equally in child care. Upon divorce, mothers demand total legal and physical custody and control of their children, arguing that only a mother is capable of providing their proper care and upbringing, and a father’s only function is to provide a paycheck. Gone are the demands that the father change diapers or tend to a sick child. Feminists want the father out of sight except maybe for a few hours a month of visitation at her discretion.

Suddenly, the ex-husband is targeted as a totally essential breadwinner, and the ex-wife is eager to proclaim her dependency on him. Feminists assert that, after divorce, child care should be almost solely the mother’s job, dependency is desirable, and providing financial support should be almost solely the father’s job.  What’s behind this feminist reversal about motherhood? As Freud famously asked, “What does a woman want?” The explanation appears to be the maxim, Follow the money. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the feminists used their political clout to get Congress to pass draconian post-divorce support-enforcement laws that use the full power of government to give the divorced mother cash income proportional to the percentage of custody time she persuades the court to award, but unrelated to what she spends for the children or to her willingness to allow the father to see his children. Since the father typically has higher income than the mother, giving near-total custody to the mother enables the states to maximize transfer payments and thereby collect bigger cash bonuses from the federal government. When fathers appeal to family courts for equal time with their children, they are opposed by a large industry of lawyers, psychologists, custody evaluators, domestic-violence agitators, and government bureaucrats who make their living out of denying fathers their fundamental rights. [end quote] 

In another article, “Understanding Feminists and Their Fantasies,” Schalfy describes what today's feminists are up to with their millions of dollars: 

  • The National Organization for Women (NOW) lobbies for feminist and pro-abortion legislation, organizes protest rallies, initiates lawsuits, and always backs Democratic Party candidates and proposals. The NOW agenda supports all abortion rights including partial-birth abortion, gay and lesbian rights, worldwide legalization of prostitution, and unrestricted access to pornography in libraries. According to the guide, "NOW revels in attacking Christianity and traditional values, conservative ideas and men." 
  • The League of Women Voters abandoned its former credibility and became a federally funded lobby to expand the size of government so that it can accommodate expensive feminist programs. The League, which spent $4,620,246 in 2000, supports gun control, abortion access, universal health care, more environmental regulation, and increased power for the United Nations.
  • The feminists use the YWCA to teach radical feminism to the next generation. The Girl Scouts went feminist after they took Betty Friedan on their board; they dropped "loyalty" from the oath, began a condom-friendly sex-ed program, and made belief in God optional.
  • Most of the activist feminist organizations have 501(c) (3) sister groups with interlocking directors. They pursue the same agenda, including government-funded daycare, paid entitlements for family leave, unrestricted access to abortion, comparable worth, lesbian rights, affirmative action, universal health insurance, and anti-male implementation of Title IX. As the Guide states, "It's hard to see where NOW political lobbying ends and NOW Foundation education activity begins."

The feminist agenda has made great headway. According to an article in the Desert News posted July 4, 2009: 

[quote] A recent survey by Babytalk Magazine found that many married ladies feel it might sometimes be easier to go the mommy route alone. Of these women, 76 percent liked the idea of not fighting with a partner over the best way to raise a child. Other pros to being single were not having the chore of keeping up a healthy marriage (69 percent), and not dealing with in-laws (30 percent). And single moms agree. Almost two-thirds of the unmarried moms felt that it would be harder to be a parent if there was a man in the house. Of the single ladies, 55 percent said that they feel relieved to not have to worry about working on a marriage too, and 38 percent said they feel freer to follow their own dreams. [end quote] 

The bottom line is that feminism has been a tool of the humanists to destroy the family. Leading humanist Paul Kurtz said, "Humanism and feminism are inextricably interwoven." Humanists and Communists have sought the destruction of the American family because they know that, for America, the family has been the instrument for passing on Christian values and a Biblical worldview—the source and foundation of our freedoms and Constitutional Republic. 

Founding Father Jedediah Morse reveals the deep connection between our form of government and the Biblical institution of marriage:

"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys…Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican form of government, and all blessings which flow from them must fall with them."

With the help of the feminist movement in the late 1960s, as I’ve pointed out, divorce laws were liberalized. The resulting drastic increase in divorce began to break down the strength, respect, and permanency of the marriage covenant in the civil arena. No-fault divorce made separation fast and allowed couples to split up without admitting fault or accepting responsibility.  


In the 1972 Stanley v. Illinois case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that custody laws that distinguished between married and unmarried fathers was “constitutionally repugnant.” Fathers would be given the same rights and face no consequences for fathering a child outside of the covenant and contract of marriage. Thus, one of the main reasons for entering into the religious and civil covenant and contract of marriage was removed. Those who were married and those who were not married were given the same respect and legal standing. 


Divorce and illegitimacy has undercut the institution of the family. What was to be the incubator for creating and nurturing self-governed offspring who would safeguard the republic is now relatively in shambles. 


The postmodern belief that “freedom” is the right to do whatever works for you and makes you happy has actually destroyed our country. Our founders saw freedom and the right to life, liberty, and property as a by-product of fulfilling one’s responsibility to Divine laws. They did not believe in rights without responsibility. 


To be fair, we cannot lay all of this trouble at the feet of the humanists or Betty Friedan and her radical gang of gals. The American people must own some of the responsibility. With the rise of divorce and illegitimacy among heterosexuals—even within the church—we have weakened the commitment that marriage is about producing offspring. To that extent, we have played right into the hands of the homosexual community that uses the high divorce and illegitimacy rate to say marriage has nothing to do with children and so homosexual marriages should be legally recognized. 


Friedan and the cultural Marxists have used the civil law, courts, and the media to destroy the family, fathers, and make possible the rise of the welfare-nanny state. The break-up of the family has been the leading cause of generational poverty and the permanent underclass. This chaos is used by the radical left to convince the American people that we need more government and more intrusion into the institution of the family. Read on to see how little the Church is doing to stop it.

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