I envision a world where I can walk past fraternities without someone screaming sexual obscenities repeatedly in a high pitch as one would a pig. Where women aren’t berated for ignoring the advances of drunken strangers. Where does your entitlement come from, that you cannot see that our silence is a kindness?
That suddenly made me realize that it’s not about me, it’s about men who don’t like women getting out there, doing something new or innovative and accomplishing something. Why are we not just in the kitchen cooking?
You sold me to an old man, father.
May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.
Hamid Karzai came to Kabul
to teach our girls to dress in Dollars.
I am consistently drawn in, and consistently disappointed, by bio-novels about women made unhappy by famous men. I read The Paris Wife, about Hadley Hemingway. I read Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s mistress. I read the diaries of Sofya Tolstoy. And now I’ve read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I put each of them aside a heavy sigh when I’ve finished. I’m not disappointed in the books, but in the lives of the women. The point of these books is to tell their side of the story, but in reality, and definitely in Zelda’s case, they didn’t get their own side of the story.
"Russia’s most celebrated writers - including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn and Mandelstam - are often depicted as solitary geniuses. But many of their works were the fruits of creative partnerships with their wives. Far from being passive typists, they served as editors, researchers, translators, publishers and more.”
In most love stories, a man pursuing a woman is depicted as gallant, noble, and deeply romantic. When a woman pursues a man, we call her ‘crazy,’ ‘obsessed,’ and ‘unstable.’ Why one gender is gallant and the other nutso, I’m not sure, but one thing is clear: the female gone mad with love makes for one hell of an unconventional narrative
Not long after that, I was given Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. The book, which I had always thought of as belonging to my mother’s generation, was published in 1963, the year before I was born; it has sold more than three million copies. I had never read it. I have since done an informal poll among women I know who teach in universities, and most of them not only have not read the book, but also looked startled when I asked them about it, as if I had mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Norton is republishing the book about “the problem that has no name” in a 50th-anniversary edition this month, with a new introduction by Gail Collins and an afterword by Anna Quindlen. The edition also includes Friedan’s epilogue, written at the 10-year mark, in 1973, by which time she had, among other things, helped found the National Organization for Women. In that epilogue, Friedan recalls how, in the 1960s, before she wrote the book, women’s-magazine editors had tried to force her to rewrite her articles to cater to their advertisers’ pro-housewife line, or else they killed the pieces.
Some things have changed less than we would like.