Usable performance feminism for our time: Reconsidering Betty Friedan

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This essay uses Betty Friedan's writing and persona as touchstones to consider how her ideas - and by extension second-wave feminism - have remained relevant to theatre practitioners and performance analysts with feminist goals. Styles in the acceptable "presentation of self in everyday life" as well as tropes in the portrayal of feminism in mainstream theatre paralleled both Friedan's concerns in her six books and also, ironically, her increasing marginalization within the evolving feminist movement. Friedan was schooled in leftist unionism and also believed in the power of theatre to convey social ideology. It is worth examining these ideas in order to ask how the goals this essay situates as still radical can be addressed by theatre and performance. Much about the (feminine) mystique of stardom still remains at odds with whatever dramaturgical or topical inroads a playwright might make. The essay suggests that "third-wave theatre" (if there is such a thing) and present-day feminist performativity can no more afford to jettison second-wave ideals than can third-wave politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-364
Number of pages24
JournalTheatre Journal
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

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