Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disruptor with Rachel Shteir

Join us in the MiniBar for a discussion of Rachel Shteir's new book, Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disruptor.

"Friedan‘s legacy is complicated and sometimes contradictory, and in the first biography of Friedan in more than 20 years, Shteir tries to capture her subject in all her (often frustrating) complexity. A myopic and mercurial crusader, whose devotion was sincere and priorities warped, Friedan deserves a biography that can capture her fullness. And with her rigorous research, interviews, and archival dives, Shteir looks up to the task."

-The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2023

Friedan, born Bettye Naomi Goldstein, chafed at society’s restrictions from a young age. As a journalist she covered racism, sexism, labor, class inequality, and anti-Semitism. As a wife and mother, she struggled to balance her work and homemaking. Her malaise as a housewife and her research into the feelings of other women resulted in The Feminine Mystique (1963), which made her a celebrity.

Using her influence, Friedan cofounded the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment, universal childcare, and workplace protections for mothers, but she disagreed with the women’s liberation movement over “sexual politics.” Her volatility and public conflicts fractured key relationships.

"Rachel Shteir offers a vivid portrait of Friedan as a person—her difficult character, her immense accomplishments, her relationships with friends and family, her struggles in personal, professional and political life. The time is ripe for a reevaluation of Friedan."

-Katha Pollitt


Rachel Shteir is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of three previous books: Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show (Oxford University Press, 2004), Gypsy: The Art of the Tease (Yale University Press, 2009), and The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting (The Penguin Press, 2011). She is also the founder and current head of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. She holds a DFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama and a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago.

Event date: 
Thursday, September 21, 2023 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
1620 Orrington Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter (Jewish Lives) By Rachel Shteir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300220025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - September 12th, 2023