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Los Angeles Times Interview

Betty Friedan

Feminist Keeps a Sharp Eye on Her Movement and Her Mystique

June 04, 2000|Elaine Woo

A: Well, yeah, as far as it goes. . . . I think that the task is by no means finished. I don't want to make a new mystique of women's difference from men, but I think women have a closer, a more concrete sense of the values of life. There is some research that came out of Rutgers . . . that said the addition of as few as two women to a state legislature began to change the agenda, and not just in the direction of women's rights but in the direction of the priorities of life for the young, for the old, for children. So I think that as women more and more begin to define our purposes and policies and programs, that there will be a more vivid focus on the qualities of life.

Q: Recent polls show that Texas Gov. George W. Bush has the edge over Vice President Al Gore among women. What do you make of that?

A: Isn't that awful?

Q: Do you think that Gore is suffering from some fallout over the Monica Lewinsky scandal?

A: What is that? I can't stand the way you media people just trivialize everything. It's the campaign for the president of the United States. . . . What is your concern with some little twerp named Monica? What has she got to do with the presidential election? That just disgusts me.

Q: Hillary Clinton, in her New York Senate race, also has a problem with support among women, according to recent polls.

A: In the beginning, [women] might have resented her . . . superiority in a lot of things. She had a brilliant career of her own, and she certainly threw her weight as first lady. But up to now she's been supporting her husband's career. I think it's marvelous that she's striking out on her own. I think women will identify with her. Men, too.

Q: Do you think we're getting closer to having a woman president?

A: I hope it happens in my lifetime. *

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