FEBRUARY 21 – MARCH 5: AN EXHIBITION COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE | FEBRUARY 22-23: SYMPOSIUM
React: The Feminine Mystique at 50, will mark the anniversary of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking text by extracting examples from the book to be used as the basis for student response. The curators have selected specific quotes, objects, advertisements and articles referenced in Friedan’s text to demonstrate Friedan’s perspective. Her reaction to the world of 1950s America – through material and societal culture – built the foundation for her argument against the patriarchal society in which she lived.
This exhibition seeks to explore Friedan’s text from a contemporary lens in an effort to both honor the text – argued by many to be the catalyst of second-wave feminism in America – and to provide critical analysis half a century after its publication. The legacy of The Feminine Mystique still impacts the lives of women today, and yet fewer people know of this text while others take for granted the breakthroughs it generated. Reading this pioneering work, one is faced with the question, how far have we come? The political climate around the recent election with phrases such as “legitimate rape” and “binders full of women” demonstrates that despite immense progress, there is still rampant sexism, making this text more relevant than we might have thought. Revisiting The Feminine Mystique we are confronted with the question: what is the state of feminism today?
This exhibition developed in Laura Auricchio’s graduate class at Parsons, The New School for Design. Though curators, Natalie and Deborah, have graduated from Parsons, they are excited to curate an exhibition at their alma mater. They are interested to see how the topic of Betty Friedan (and perhaps broader feminism) resonates with students in the twenty-first century.
The exhibition will be on view in Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries at 66 5th Avenue from February 21-March 5, 2013.