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Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Overview
Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, journalist
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, and social and political activist
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

 in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Steinem has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. She was a columnist for New York
New York (magazine)
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New...

magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine.
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Quotations

As the little boy said when asked if he wanted to be a lawyer like his mother, "Oh no, that's women's work." (Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions)

Encyclopedia
Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, journalist
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, and social and political activist
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

 in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Steinem has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. She was a columnist for New York
New York (magazine)
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New...

magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine. In 1969, she published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader. In 2005, Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

 and Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan is a former child actor turned American radical feminist activist, writer, poet, and editor of Sisterhood is Powerful and Ms. Magazine....

 to co-found the Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center is a 5013 nonprofit women’s organization in the United States founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem...

, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. Steinem currently serves on the board of the organization. She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms and publishing books and articles.

Early life


Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

. Her mother, Ruth (née Nuneviller), was a Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 of Scottish and German descent, and her father, Leo Steinem, was the son of Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 immigrants from Germany and Poland. The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.
Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, journalist
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, and social and political activist
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

 in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Steinem has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. She was a columnist for New York
New York (magazine)
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New...

magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine. In 1969, she published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader. In 2005, Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

 and Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan is a former child actor turned American radical feminist activist, writer, poet, and editor of Sisterhood is Powerful and Ms. Magazine....

 to co-found the Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center is a 5013 nonprofit women’s organization in the United States founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem...

, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. Steinem currently serves on the board of the organization. She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms and publishing books and articles.

Early life


Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

. Her mother, Ruth (née Nuneviller), was a Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 of Scottish and German descent, and her father, Leo Steinem, was the son of Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 immigrants from Germany and Poland.Gloria Steinem, Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2010-06-01Ancestry of Gloria Steinem The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.
Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, journalist
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, and social and political activist
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....

 in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Steinem has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. She was a columnist for New York
New York (magazine)
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New...

magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine. In 1969, she published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader. In 2005, Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

 and Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan is a former child actor turned American radical feminist activist, writer, poet, and editor of Sisterhood is Powerful and Ms. Magazine....

 to co-found the Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center is a 5013 nonprofit women’s organization in the United States founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem...

, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. Steinem currently serves on the board of the organization. She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms and publishing books and articles.

Early life


Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

. Her mother, Ruth (née Nuneviller), was a Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 of Scottish and German descent, and her father, Leo Steinem, was the son of Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 immigrants from Germany and Poland.Gloria Steinem, Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2010-06-01Ancestry of Gloria Steinem The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/steinem-gloria

When Steinem was only a few years old, her mother Ruth, then aged 34, had a "nervous breakdown" that left her an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies that occasionally turned violent. She changed "from an energetic, fun-loving, book-loving" woman into "someone who was afraid to be alone, who could not hang on to reality long enough to hold a job, and who could rarely concentrate enough to read a book." Ruth spent long periods in and out of sanatoriums for the mentally disabled. Steinem was only ten years old when her parents finally separated in 1944. Her father went to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 to find work, while she and her mother continued to live together in Toledo.

While her parents divorced as a result of her mother's illness, it was not a result of chauvinism on the father's part, and Steinem claims to have "understood and never blamed him for the breakup."Marcello, Patricia. Gloria Steinem: A Biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004. p. 20. Nevertheless, the impact of these events had a formative effect on her personality: while her father, a traveling salesman, had never provided much financial stability to the family, his exit aggravated their situation. Steinem interpreted her mother's inability to hold on to a job as evidence of general hostility towards working women. She also interpreted the general apathy of doctors towards her mother as emerging from a similar anti-woman animus. Years later, Steinem described her mother's experiences as having been pivotal to her understanding of social injustices. These perspectives convinced Steinem that women lacked social
Social equality
Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the...

 and political equality
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

.

Steinem attended Waite High School
Waite High School (Toledo, Ohio)
Morrison R. Waite High School is a public high school located in east Toledo, Ohio that opened in 1914. It is part of the Toledo Public Schools. It is named after Morrison R. Waite, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who is famous for overseeing the Alabama Claims case...

 in Toledo and Western High School in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, from where she graduated. She then attended Smith College
Smith College
Smith College is a private, independent women's liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is the largest member of the Seven Sisters...

, an institution with which she continues to remain engaged. In the late 1950s, Steinem spent two years in India as a Chester Bowles Asian Fellow. After returning to the U.S., she served as director of the secretly CIA-funded Independent Research Service, and worked to send non-communist American students to the 1959 World Youth Festival. In 1960, she was hired by Warren Publishing
Warren Publishing
Warren Publishing was an American magazine company founded by James Warren, who published his first magazines in 1957 and continued in the business for decades...

 as the first employee of Help!
Help! (magazine)
Help! was an American magazine published by James Warren. It wasHarvey Kurtzman's longest-running magazine project after leaving Mad and EC Publications, and during its five years of operation it was always chronically underfunded, yet innovative...

magazine.

Journalism career


Esquire
Esquire (magazine)
Esquire is a men's magazine, published in the U.S. by the Hearst Corporation. Founded in 1932, it flourished during the Great Depression under the guidance of founder and editor Arnold Gingrich.-History:...

magazine features editor Clay Felker
Clay Felker
Clay Schuette Felker was an American magazine editor and journalist who founded New York Magazine in 1968. He was known for bringing large numbers of journalists into the profession...

 gave freelance writer Steinem what she later called her first "serious assignment," regarding contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

; he didn't like her first draft and had her re-write the article. Her resulting 1962 article about the way in which women are forced to choose between a career and marriage preceded Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan was an American writer, activist, and feminist.A leading figure in the Women's Movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the "second wave" of American feminism in the twentieth century...

's book The Feminine Mystique
The Feminine Mystique
The Feminine Mystique, published February 19, 1963, by W.W. Norton and Co., is a nonfiction book written by Betty Friedan. It is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States....

by one year.

In 1963, working on an article for Huntington Hartford
Huntington Hartford
George Huntington Hartford II was an American businessman, philanthropist, filmmaker, and art collector. The heir to the A&P supermarket fortune, he owned Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and had numerous other business and real estate interests over his lifetime including the Oil Shale Corporation...

's Show magazine, Steinem was employed as a Playboy Bunny
Playboy Bunny
A Playboy Bunny is a waitress at the Playboy Club. The Playboy Clubs were originally open from 1960 to 1988. The Club re-opened in one location in The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas in 2006...

 at the New York Playboy Club
Playboy Club
The Playboy Club initially was a chain of nightclubs and resorts owned and operated by Playboy Enterprises. The first club opened at 116 E. Walton Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, United States, on February 29, 1960. Each club generally featured a Living Room, a Playmate Bar, a Dining Room...

. The article featured a photo of Steinem in Bunny uniform and detailed how women were treated at those clubs. Steinem's experience as a Playboy Bunny was later made into the 1985 movie A Bunny's Tale
A Bunny's Tale
A Bunny's Tale is a 1985 television film based on American feminist icon and journalist Gloria Steinem's experiences working as a Playboy Bunny in 1963. It stars Kirstie Alley as Steinem.-Plot Summary:...

. For a brief period after the article was published, Steinem was unable to land other assignments, but that situation did not last long;Minnesota Public Radio interview, June 15, at 32:40 indeed, Steinem landed a job at Felker's newly founded New York
New York (magazine)
New York is a weekly magazine principally concerned with the life, culture, politics, and style of New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite than that magazine, and established itself as a cradle of New...

magazine in 1968.
In 1972, she co-founded the feminist-themed Ms. magazine
Ms. magazine
Ms. is an American feminist magazine co-founded by American feminist and activist Gloria Steinem and founding editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin together with founding editors Patricia Carbine, Joanne Edgar, Nina Finkelstein, and Mary Peacock, that first appeared in 1971 as an insert in New York magazine...

. It began as a special edition of New York, and Felker funded the first issue. When the first regular issue hit the news stands in July 1972, its 300,000 "one-shot" test copies sold out nationwide in three days. She even labeled it Spring Issue 1972 for that sole reason. It generated an astonishing 26,000 subscription orders and over 20,000 reader letters within weeks. Steinem would continue to write for the magazine until it was sold in 1987. The magazine changed hands again in 2001, to the Feminist Majority Foundation
Feminist Majority Foundation
The Feminist Majority Foundation is a non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to Women's Equality, Reproductive Health and Non-Violence, headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia. The name Feminist Majority comes from a 1986 Newsweek/Gallup public opinion poll in which 56 percent...

; Steinem remains on the masthead as one of six founding editors and serves on the advisory board.Ms. Magazine History

Political awakening and activism


Steinem actively campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

, in addition to other laws and social reforms that promoted equality between women and men, helping to strike down many long-standing sex discriminatory laws, such as those that gave men superior rights in marriage and denied women equal economic opportunities. She also founded and co-founded many groups, including the Women's Action Alliance
Women's Action Alliance
The Women's Action Alliance was a feminist organization in the United States, founded during the Women's Movmement of the 1960s and 1970s. It was founded by Gloria Steinem, the noted journalist, activist, and feminist leader...

, on which she served as chair of the board throughout the 1970s, the NWPC, the Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition of Labor Union Women
The Coalition of Labor Union Women is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of trade union women affiliated with the AFL-CIO.CLUW has four goals:*Promoting affirmative action in the workplace*Strengthening the role of women in unions...

, the Ms. Foundation for Women
Ms. Foundation for Women
The Ms. Foundation for Women, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1973 by Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Marlo Thomas. Established at the height of the feminist movement, the Ms...

, Choice USA
Choice USA
Choice USA is a reproductive rights non-profit organization in the United States based in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, California. It is youth-led, with a focus on pro-choice movements....

, and Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center
Women's Media Center is a 5013 nonprofit women’s organization in the United States founded in 2005 by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem...

.

In 1968, she signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.“Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” January 30, 1968 New York Post

After conducting a series of celebrity interviews, Steinem eventually got a political assignment covering George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

's presidential campaign. In 1969, she published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader. Steinem brought other notable feminists to the fore and toured the country with lawyer Florynce Rae "Flo" Kennedy
Florynce Kennedy
Florynce "Flo" Kennedy , was a U.S. lawyer, activist, civil rights advocate, and feminist.- Early life :...

. In 1970 Gloria Steinem established herself as a leader of the Women's Movement with her impassioned Senate testimony in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

 and her essay on a utopia of equality, "What It Would Be Like If Women Win", in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine. While Steinem would clash with both the older generation of women's rights leaders, most prominently Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan was an American writer, activist, and feminist.A leading figure in the Women's Movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the "second wave" of American feminism in the twentieth century...

, as well as the younger, more militant Women's Liberation activists, she would gain a large, diverse, and multi-partisan following and become, alongside Friedan, the Women's Rights Movement's most prominent and influential spokesperson and leader. In 1970 she led the New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 march of the nation-wide Women's Strike for Equality
Women's Strike for Equality
The Women’s Strike for Equality was a strike which took place in the United States on August 26, 1970. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which effectively gave American women the right to vote. The rally was sponsored by the National Organization for...

 alongside Friedan and then-Congressional candidate Bella Abzug
Bella Abzug
Bella Savitsky Abzug was an American lawyer, Congresswoman, social activist and a leader of the Women's Movement. In 1971, Abzug joined other leading feminists such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan to found the National Women's Political Caucus...

. As the postergirl of the Feminist Movement, Steinem frequently appeared on news shows, television talk shows and specials, and on the covers of newspapers and magazines such as Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, Time, McCall's
McCall's
McCall's was a monthly American women's magazine that enjoyed great popularity through much of the 20th century, peaking at a readership of 8.4 million in the early 1960s. It was established as a small-format magazine called The Queen in 1873...

, People
People (magazine)
In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens called Teen People. However, on July 27, 2006, the company announced it would shut down publication of Teen People immediately. The last issue to be released was scheduled for September 2006. Subscribers to this magazine received...

, New Woman
New Woman
The New Woman was a feminist ideal that emerged in the late 19th century. The New Woman pushed the limits set by male-dominated society, especially as modeled in the plays of Norwegian Henrik Ibsen . "The New Woman sprang fully armed from Ibsen's brain," according to a joke by Max Beerbohm...

, Ms., and Parade
Parade (magazine)
Parade is an American nationwide Sunday newspaper magazine, distributed in more than 500 newspapers in the United States. It was founded in 1941 and is owned by Advance Publications. The most widely read magazine in the U.S., Parade has a circulation of 32.2 million and a readership of nearly 70...

.

On July 10, 1971, Steinem, along with other feminist leaders (including Betty Friedan, Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting rights activist and civil rights leader....

, Myrlie Evers
Myrlie Evers-Williams
SynopsisEarly LifeLife with MedgarMedgar Evers MurderLife After Medgar'NAACP/ HonorsAccomplishmentsWhoopi Goldberg played her in Ghosts of Mississippi...

, and several U.S. Representatives, including Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress...

 and Bella Abzug) founded the National Women's Political Caucus
National Women's Political Caucus
The National Women's Political Caucus is a national bipartisan grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting women who seek elected and appointed offices....

 (NWPC). An influential co-convener of the Caucus, she delivered her memorable "Address to the Women of America
Address to the Women of America
On July 10, 1971, at the founding of the National Women's Political Caucus, co-founder Gloria Steinem delivered an Address to the Women of America, which would become one of the era's most memorable speeches...

":

The next year Steinem became the founding editor and publisher of Ms. magazine, which speedily became a success, bringing feminist issues to the forefront of society and the media, quickly becoming the movement's most influential publication. In 1972, she also played a prominent role at the Democratic National Convention where she supported Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress...

's candidacy. That year Steinem and the NWPC had successfully organized bipartisan efforts to increase the representation of women at both major party conventions. In the early 1970s Steinem became the first woman to address the National Press Club.

In May 1975, Redstockings
Redstockings
Redstockings, also known as Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, is a radical feminist group that was founded in January of 1969...

, a radical feminist group, raised the question of whether Steinem had continuing ties with the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA)."Gloria Steinem and the CIA" NameBase.Org ReportDocument obtained through Freedom of Information Act and published by Redstockings, re. Steinem reporting on Vienna Youth Festival activists. Redstockings' 1975 Report Though she admitted to having worked for a CIA-financed foundation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Steinem denied any continuing involvement.Harrington, Stephanie (July 4, 1976). "It Changed My Life". The New York Times. Steinem was also a member of Democratic Socialists of America
Democratic Socialists of America
Democratic Socialists of America is a social-democratic organization in the United States and the U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, an international federation of social-democratic,democratic socialist and labor political parties and organizations.DSA was formed in 1982 by a merger of...

.
In 1984 Steinem was arrested along with a number of members of Congress and civil rights activists for disorderly conduct outside the South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n embassy while protesting against the South African apartheid system.

Steinem co-founded the Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition of Labor Union Women
The Coalition of Labor Union Women is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of trade union women affiliated with the AFL-CIO.CLUW has four goals:*Promoting affirmative action in the workplace*Strengthening the role of women in unions...

 in 1974, and participated in the National Conference of Women in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 in 1977. She became Ms. magazine's consulting editor when it was revived in 1991, and she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame
National Women's Hall of Fame
The National Women's Hall of Fame is an American institution. It was created in 1969 by a group of people in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention...

 in 1993.Women's of the Hall.

Steinem played a variety of roles within the Women's Action Alliance
Women's Action Alliance
The Women's Action Alliance was a feminist organization in the United States, founded during the Women's Movmement of the 1960s and 1970s. It was founded by Gloria Steinem, the noted journalist, activist, and feminist leader...

, whose initial mission was "to stimulate and assist women at the local level to organize around specific action projects aimed at eliminating concrete manifestations of economic and social discrimination.". She chaired the board from 1971-1978.

Steinem was active in working for civil rights for African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities, working alongside civil rights leaders like Coretta Scott King and César Chávez
César Chávez
César Estrada Chávez was an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers ....

, and took a public stance in opposition to the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 and in favor of gay rights.

In later years, Steinem became an outspoken supporter of animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

, writing letters to the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health urging the office director to end the "cruelty, fraud, and waste" of NIH-funded experiments on animals purportedly conducted in the name of advancing women’s health.Steinem to NIH: Stop ‘Triple Injustice’ of ‘Cruelty, Fraud, and Waste’!. She also became involved in international women's issues such as the campaign against female genital mutilation
Genital mutilation
Genital mutilation can refer to:*Clitoridectomy*Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision*Genital modification and mutilation*Infibulation...

 in Eastern countries and human trafficking
Human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

.

Contrary to popular belief, Steinem did not coin the feminist slogan "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." The phrase is actually attributable to Irina Dunn
Irina Dunn
Patricia Irene Dunn is an Australian writer who served in the Australian Senate between 1988 and 1990.-Background:Dunn was born in Shanghai, China around the time of the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War, and her family, associated with Chiang Kai-Shek, fled to Hong Kong...

.
Indeed, she once dated publisher and real-estate developer Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Benjamin "Mort" Zuckerman is a Canadian-born American business magnate with interests primarily in magazines, publishing, and real estate. He is now a naturalized citizen of the United States....

. http://wrmea.org/component/content/article/253/4734-mortimer-zuckerman-two-voices-but-both-talking-about-himself.html

Later life


In the 1980s and 1990s, Steinem had to deal with a number of personal setbacks, including the diagnosis of breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 in 1986 and trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia , tic douloureux is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. It has been described as among the most painful conditions known...

 in 1994.Mother Jones. Gloria

In 1992, Steinem co-founded Choice USA
Choice USA
Choice USA is a reproductive rights non-profit organization in the United States based in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, California. It is youth-led, with a focus on pro-choice movements....

, a non-profit organization that mobilizes and provides ongoing support to a younger generation that lobbies for reproductive choice.Choice USA Her book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem published that year was criticized for misrepresenting statistics regarding the incidence and lethality of anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Although commonly called "anorexia", that term on its own denotes any symptomatic loss of appetite and is not strictly accurate...

.




At the outset of the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, Steinem, along with prominent feminists Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan is a former child actor turned American radical feminist activist, writer, poet, and editor of Sisterhood is Powerful and Ms. Magazine....

 and Kate Millett
Kate Millett
Kate Millett is an American lesbian feminist writer and activist. A seminal influence on second-wave feminism, Millet is best known for her 1970 book Sexual Politics.-Career:...

, publicly opposed an incursion into the Middle East and asserted that ostensible goal of "defending democracy" was a pretense.

During the Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

 sexual harassment scandal, Steinem voiced strong support for Anita Hill
Anita Hill
Anita Faye Hill is an American attorney and academic—presently a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She became a national figure in 1991 when she alleged that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had...

 and suggested that one day Hill herself would sit on the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

.
According to two Frontline features (aired in 1995) and Ms. magazine, Steinem became an advocate for children she believed had been sexually abused by caretakers in day care centers (such as the McMartin preschool case).
In a 1998 press interview, Steinem weighed in on the Clinton impeachment hearings when asked whether President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 should be impeached for lying under oath, she was quoted as saying, "Clinton should be censured for lying under oath about Lewinsky in the Paula Jones deposition, perhaps also for stupidity in answering at all." The same year, Steinem defended Clinton against allegations of sexual impropriety that had been made by White House volunteer Kathleen Willey
Kathleen Willey
Kathleen Willey was a White House volunteer aide who, on March 15, 1998, alleged on the TV news program 60 Minutes that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her on November 29, 1993, during his first term as President...

.

On September 3, 2000, at age 66, Steinem married David Bale
David Bale
David Charles Howard Bale was a South African-born entrepreneur and an environmentalist animal rights activist, perhaps best known as the husband of journalist, political and social activist, and Women's Movement leader Gloria Steinem and the father of actor Christian Bale.Bale grew up in England,...

, father of actor Christian Bale
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale is an English actor. Best known for his roles in American films, Bale has starred in both big budget Hollywood films and the smaller projects from independent producers and art houses....

. The wedding was performed at the home of her friend Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Pearl Mankiller was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served as principal chief for ten years from 1985 to 1995.-Early life:...

, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Steinem and Bale were married for only three years before he died of brain lymphoma
Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer in the lymphatic cells of the immune system. Typically, lymphomas present as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Treatment might involve chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation, and can be curable depending on the histology, type, and stage...

 on December 30, 2003, at age 62.

Involvement in political campaigns


Steinem has been an influential figure in politics since the 1960s. Her involvement in presidential campaigns stretches back to her support of Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

.Lazo, Caroine. Gloria Steinem: Feminist Extraordinaire. New York: Lerner Publications, 1998. pp. 28.

1968 election


A proponent of civil rights and fierce critic of the Vietnam War
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

, Steinem was initially drawn to Senator Eugene McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy was an American politician, poet, and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy was the first...

 because of his "admirable record" on those issues. But in meeting and hearing him speak, she found him "cautious, uninspired, and dry." Interviewing him for New York Magazine, she called his answers a "fiasco," noting that he gave "not one spontaneous reply." As the campaign progressed, Steinem became baffled at "personally vicious" attacks that McCarthy leveled against his primary opponent Robert Kennedy, even as "his real opponent, Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

, went free."

On a late-night radio show, Steinem garnered attention for declaring, "George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

 is the real Eugene McCarthy."Miroff, Bruce. The Liberals' Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party. University Press of Kansas, 2007. pp. 206 Steinem had met McGovern in 1963 on the way to an economic conference organized by John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

 and had been impressed by his unpretentious manner and genuine consideration of her opinions. Five years later in 1968, Steinem was chosen to pitch the arguments to McGovern as to why he should enter the presidential race that year. He agreed, and Steinem "consecutively or simultaneously served as pamphlet writer, advance "man", fund raiser, lobbyist of delegates, errand runner, and press secretary."

McGovern lost the nomination in the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention
1968 Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to...

 in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. Steinem gave McGovern credit for standing on the platform with Humphrey in a show of unity after Humphrey had clinched the nomination, whereas McCarthy refused the same gesture. She later wrote of her astonishment at Humphrey's "refusal even to suggest to Chicago Mayor
Mayor of Chicago
The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of Chicago, Illinois, the third largest city in the United States. He or she is charged with directing city departments and agencies, and with the advice and consent of the Chicago City Council, appoints department and agency leaders.-Appointment...

 Richard J. Daley
Richard J. Daley
Richard Joseph Daley served for 21 years as the mayor and undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago and is considered by historians to be the "last of the big city bosses." He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F...

 that he control the rampaging police and the bloodshed in the streets."

1972 election


By the 1972 election, the Women's Movement was rapidly expanding its political power. Steinem, along with National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women
The National Organization for Women is the largest feminist organization in the United States. It was founded in 1966 and has a membership of 500,000 contributing members. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S...

 founder Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan was an American writer, activist, and feminist.A leading figure in the Women's Movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the "second wave" of American feminism in the twentieth century...

, Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress...

 and Bella Abzug
Bella Abzug
Bella Savitsky Abzug was an American lawyer, Congresswoman, social activist and a leader of the Women's Movement. In 1971, Abzug joined other leading feminists such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan to found the National Women's Political Caucus...

, and others, had founded the National Women's Political Caucus
National Women's Political Caucus
The National Women's Political Caucus is a national bipartisan grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting women who seek elected and appointed offices....

 in July 1971.Miroff. pp. 205. Steinem attempted to run as a national delegate in support of Chisholm's presidential campaign.

Nevertheless, Steinem was reluctant to re-join the McGovern campaign. Though she had brought in McGovern's single largest campaign contributor in 1968, she "still had been treated like a frivolous pariah by much of McGovern's campaign staff." In April 1972, Steinem remarked that he "still doesn't understand the Women's Movement."

McGovern ultimately excised the abortion issue from the party's platform. (Recent publications show McGovern was deeply conflicted on the issue.Miroff. pp. 207.) Actress and activist Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine is an American film and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author, well-known for her beliefs in new age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs as well as her Hollywood career...

, though privately supporting abortion rights, urged the delegates to vote against the plank. Steinem later wrote this description of the events:
Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer is an Australian writer, academic, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the later 20th century....

 flatly contradicted Steinem's account. Having recently gained public notoriety for her feminist manifesto The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch is a book first published in 1970 that became an international bestseller and an important text in the feminist movement. The author, Germaine Greer, became well known in broadcast media of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and her home of Australia...

and sparring with Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer
Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S...

, Greer was commissioned to cover the convention for Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine is a monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, with a generally left-wing perspective. It is the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S. . The current editor is Ellen Rosenbush, who replaced Roger Hodge in January 2010...

.
Greer criticized Steinem's "controlled jubilation" that 38% of the delegates were women, ignoring the fact that "many delegations had merely stacked themselves with token females... The McGovern machine had already pulled the rug out from under them."

Greer leveled her most searing critique on Steinem for her capitulation on abortion rights. Greer reported, "Jacqui Ceballos called from the crowd to demand abortion rights on the Democratic platform, but Bella [Abzug] and Gloria stared glassily out into the room," thus killing the abortion rights platform. Greer asks, "Why had Bella and Gloria not helped Jacqui to nail him on abortion? What reticence, what loserism had afflicted them?" Steinem later recalled that the 1972 Convention was the only time Greer and Steinem ever met.Wow, April 16, 2009. "Gloria Steinem: Still Committing 'Outrageous Acts' at 75"

The cover of Harper's that month read, "Womanlike, they did not want to get tough with their man, and so, womanlike, they got screwed."Harper's Magazine Archives

2004 election


In the run-up to the 2004 election, Steinem voiced fierce criticism of the Bush administration, asserting, "There has never been an administration that has been more hostile to women’s equality, to reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right, and has acted on that hostility." She went on to claim, "If he is elected in 2004, abortion will be criminalized in this country."Buzzflash Interview At a Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Federation of America , commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The...

 event in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Steinem declared Bush "a danger to health and safety," citing his antagonism to the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that...

, reproductive freedom, sex education, and AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 relief.Feminist Pioneer Gloria Steinem: "Bush is a Danger to Our Health and Safety"

2008 election



Steinem was an active participant in the 2008 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

. She praised both the Democratic front-runners, commenting,
Nevertheless, Steinem endorsed Senator Clinton, citing her broader experience, saying that the nation was in such bad shape it may require two terms of Clinton and two of Obama to fix it.


She made headlines for a New York Times op-ed in which she cited gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 and not race "probably the most restricting force in American life". She elaborated, "Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women."Steinem, Gloria. New York Times: Women are Never the Front-runners This was attacked, however, from critics saying that white women were given the vote unabridged in 1920, whereas many blacks, female or male, could not vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and some were lynched for trying, and that many white women advanced in the business and political worlds before black women and men.

Steinem again drew attention for, according to the New York Observer
New York Observer
The New York Observer is a weekly newspaper first published in New York City on September 22, 1987, by Arthur L. Carter, a very successful former investment banker with publishing interests. The Observer focuses on the city's culture, real estate, the media, politics and the entertainment and...

, seeming "to denigrate the importance of John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam". Steinem's broader argument "was that the media and the political world are too admiring of militarism in all its guises."The New York Observer. Stumping for Clinton, Steinem Says McCain's POW Cred Is Overrated

Steinem was vocal in criticising the media treatment of the Clinton campaign as sexist. Following McCain's selection of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 as his running mate, Steinem penned an op-ed in which she labeled Palin an "unqualified woman" who "opposes everything most other women want and need." Steinem described her nomination speech as "divisive and deceptive", called for a more inclusive Republican Party and concluded that Palin resembled "Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis McAlpin Stewart Schlafly is a Constitutional lawyer and an American politically conservative activist and author who founded the Eagle Forum. She is known for her opposition to modern feminism ideas and for her campaign against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment...

, only younger.""Palin: wrong woman, wrong message"

Feminist positions


Steinem's social and political views overlap into multiple schools of feminism. This problem is compounded by the evolution of her views over five decades of activism. Although most frequently considered a liberal feminist, Steinem has repeatedly characterized herself as a radical feminist.Marianne Schnall Interview More importantly, she has repudiated categorization within feminism as "nonconstructive to specific problems. "I've turned up in every category. So it makes it harder for me to take the divisions with great seriousness."Interviewed By Cynthia Gorney: Mother Jones Nevertheless, on concrete issues, Steinem has staked firm positions.

Abortion


Steinem is a staunch advocate of reproductive freedom, a term she herself coined and helped popularize. She credits the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 , was a United States Supreme Court decision on July 3, 1989 upholding a Missouri law that imposed restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities, and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling on abortions...

hearings she covered
for New York Magazine as the event that turned her into an activist. At the time, abortions were widely illegal and risky. In 2005, Steinem appeared in the documentary film I Had an Abortion by Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich. In the film, Steinem described the abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 she had as a young woman in London, where she lived briefly before studying in India. In the documentary My Feminism, Steinem characterized her abortion as a "pivotal and constructive experience."

Pornography


Along with Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller is an American feminist, journalist, author, and activist. She is best known for her pioneering work on the politics of rape in her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Brownmiller argues that rape had been hitherto defined by men rather than women; and that men use,...

 and Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine Alice MacKinnon is an American feminist, scholar, lawyer, teacher and activist.- Biography :MacKinnon was born in Minnesota. Her mother is Elizabeth Valentine Davis; her father, George E. MacKinnon was a lawyer, congressman , and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...

, Steinem has been a vehement critic of pornography
Pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

, which she distinguishes from erotica
Erotica
Erotica are works of art, including literature, photography, film, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing descriptions...

: "Erotica is as different from pornography as love is from rape, as dignity is from humiliation, as partnership is from slavery, as pleasure is from pain." Steinem's argument hinges on the distinction between reciprocity versus domination. She writes, "Blatant or subtle, pornography involves no equal power or mutuality. In fact, much of the tension and drama comes from the clear idea that one person is dominating the other." On the issue of same-sex pornography, Steinem asserts, "Whatever the gender of the participants, all pornography is an imitation of the male-female, conqueror-victim paradigm, and almost all of it actually portrays or implies enslaved women and master." Steinem also cites "snuff films" as a serious threat to women.Erotica and Pornography: A Clear and Present Difference. Ms. Magazine. November 1978, pp. 53. & Pornography--Not Sex but the Obscene Use of Power. Ms. Magazine. August 1977, 43.

Genital mutilation


Steinem wrote the definitive article on female genital mutilation that brought the practice into the American public's consciousness."The International Crime of Female Genital Mutilation." Ms. Magazine, March 1979, pp. 65. The article reports on the "75 million women suffering with the results of genital mutilation." According to Steinem, "The real reasons for genital mutilation can only be understood in the context of the patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

: men must control women's bodies as the means of production, and thus repress the independent power of women's sexuality." Steinem's article contains the basic arguments that would be developed by philosopher Martha Nussbaum
Martha Nussbaum
Martha Nussbaum , is an American philosopher with a particular interest in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, political philosophy and ethics....

.Nussbaum, Martha C. Sex & Social Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. pp. 118-129.

On male circumcision
Circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

, she commented, "These patriarchal controls limit men’s sexuality too... That’s why men are asked symbolically to submit the sexual part of themselves and their sons to patriarchal authority, which seems to be the origin of male circumcision, a practice that, even as advocates admit, is medically unnecessary 90% of the time. Speaking for myself, I stand with many brothers in eliminating that practice too."What have FGC opponents said publicly about male genital cutting?

Same-sex marriage


Steinem has expressed support for same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, stating "The idea that sexuality is only okay if it ends in reproduction oppresses women—whose health depends on separating sexuality from reproduction—as well as gay men and lesbians." Steinem is also a signatory of the manifesto, "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships", which advocates for extending legal rights and privileges to a wide range of relationships, households, and families.

Transsexualism


Steinem has questioned transsexualism
Transsexualism
Transsexualism is an individual's identification with a gender inconsistent or not culturally associated with their biological sex. Simply put, it defines a person whose biological birth sex conflicts with their psychological gender...

. In 1977, she expressed disapproval that the heavily publicized sex-role change of tennis player Renée Richards
Renee Richards
Renée Richards is an American ophthalmologist, author and former professional tennis player. In 1975, Richards underwent sex reassignment surgery. She is known for initially being denied entry into the 1976 US Open by the United States Tennis Association, citing an unprecedented women-born-women...

 had been characterized as "a frightening instance of what feminism could lead to" or as "living proof that feminism isn't necessary." Steinem wrote, "At a minimum, it was a diversion from the widespread problems of sexual inequality." She writes that, while she supports the right of individuals to identify as they choose, she claims that, in many cases, transsexuals "surgically mutilate their own bodies" in order to conform to a gender role that is inexorably tied to physical body parts. She concludes that "feminists are right to feel uncomfortable about the need for and uses of transsexualism." The article concluded with what became one of Steinem's most famous quotes: "If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?" Although clearly meant in the context of transsexuality, the quote is frequently mistaken as a general statement about feminism.

Prominent feminists including Judith Butler
Judith Butler
Judith Butler is an American post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. She is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.Butler received her Ph.D...

, Eve Sedgwick, and Donna Haraway
Donna Haraway
Donna J. Haraway is currently a Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States...

 have rejected Steinem's argument, embracing ideas of "queerness" and "the abject other" as vital to the destabilization and subversion of normative constraints.



In August 2008, Steinem responded to claims that she "condemned transsexualism", saying that is something she "absolutely had never done."

Feminist theory


Steinem has repeatedly voiced her disapproval of the obscurantism
Obscurantism
Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known. There are two, common, historical and intellectual, denotations: 1) restricting knowledge—opposition to the spread of knowledge, a policy of withholding knowledge from the...

 and abstractions prevalent in feminist academic theorizing
Feminist theory
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical discourse, it aims to understand the nature of gender inequality...

. She said, "Nobody cares about feminist academic writing. That's careerism. These poor women in academia have to talk this silly language that nobody can understand in order to be accepted...But I recognize the fact that we have this ridiculous system of tenure, that the whole thrust of academia is one that values education, in my opinion, in inverse ratio to its usefulness—and what you write in inverse relationship to its understandability."Mother Jones. "Gloria Steinem" Steinem later singled out deconstructionists like Judith Butler
Judith Butler
Judith Butler is an American post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. She is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.Butler received her Ph.D...

 for criticism: "I always wanted to put a sign up on the road to Yale saying, 'Beware: Deconstruction Ahead'. Academics are forced to write in language no one can understand so that they get tenure. They have to say 'discourse', not 'talk'. Knowledge that is not accessible is not helpful. It becomes aerialised."

List of works

  • The Thousand Indias (1957)
  • The Beach Book (1963)
  • Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983)
  • Marilyn: Norma Jean (1986)
  • Revolution from Within (1992)
  • Moving beyond Words (1993)
  • Doing Sixty & Seventy (2006)

Biographies

  • The Education of A Woman: The Life and Times of Gloria Steinem by Carolyn Heilbrun (1995)
  • Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique by Sydney Ladenshon Stern (1997)

Documentaries about Gloria Steinem


Gloria: In Her Own Words, a documentary first aired on HBO in 2011 http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/15/entertainment/la-et-gloria-20110815

External links