New School News

React: The Feminine Mystique at 50

REACT: The Feminine Mystique at 50, a two-day symposium, and a related exhibition celebrating the anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book will take place on February 22-23 at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue.

Convening leading feminist scholars, writers and activists, the symposium will examine the feminist movement’s past and present as well as unresolved questions about domesticity, career and family, pointing to the continuing relevance of The Feminine Mystique in 2013. The keynote address will be delivered by Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports with panel appearances by’s Samhita Mukhopadhyay, author Susan Brownmiller and others.

“With The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan transformed the national conversation about the role of women in American society,” said Claire Potter, professor of History at The New School for Public Engagement, who co-organized the symposium with Laura Auricchio, associate professor of Art History, Parsons The New School for Design and chair of Humanities, The New School for Public Engagement. “From the battles over reproductive rights, to fair pay, to women’s roles in the workforce and the family, the struggles and hopes articulated by Friedan in 1963 continue to reverberate today.”

The symposium is accompanied by an exhibition of student works inspired by Friedan’s writing, curated by Parsons MA Decorative Arts and Design alumnae Natalie Balthrop and Deborah Enge and presented by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC) at Parsons. REACT, the exhibition, which runs from February 21 through March 5 in the SJDC’s Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries (66 Fifth Avenue) explores The Feminine Mystique from a contemporary lens in an effort to both honor the text and to provide critical analysis half a century after its publication. The exhibition features 25 works across a range of media – jewelry, fashion, photography, furniture, and video – each in response to Friedan.

All events are free; reservations are required for the symposium at For detailed information, visit the symposium’s blog at


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