12:45 PM EST, February 16, 2013
Fifty years ago this month there was a knock on our apartment door. With a baby on my hip, I greeted my downstairs neighbor: "You've got to read this!" she said, pushing a book toward me. "It will change your life!"
That was my introduction to The Feminine Mystique. It was a pleasant change from Dr. Spock. Although I was part of Betty Friedan's target audience –- a white, middle class, college-educated woman relegated to changing diapers and keeping house while her husband enjoyed a fulfilling career — The Feminine Mystique did not speak to me.
It was a powerful, revolutionary book that should have made me mad as hell, but this then 25-year-old, happily married wife and mother felt blessed every day to be able to stay at home, care for her baby and keep house for an appreciative husband. Even if it meant ironing shirts and defrosting the refrigerator.
Of course, I would eventually be among the millions to benefit from the women's movement. Thanks to those angry, passionate pioneers like Ms. Friedan, my daughters-in-law and granddaughters enjoy unprecedented rights, such as equal opportunity in the workplace as well as at home.
I thought about Ms. Friedan during halftime at the Super Bowl. I'm glad that Beyoncé, a beautiful, talented woman, had the freedom to stand before millions of people around the world and get paid top dollar to gyrate like a showgirl in a men's pleasure club. Really! I am!
Even though I felt that bumps and grinds were inappropriate, considering the millions of children who were watching the game. But then that may have something to do with the fact that I've been around for three-quarters of a century. Perhaps I'm a little set in my ways.
Peggy Rowe, Perry Hall
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