I know that Gloria Steinem is a feminism activist who co-founded Ms. magazine, but other than that I’m not too familiar with what other f*cking awesome accomplishments she’s made. So, I decided to write about her for FAWW to learn more. Enjoy!
Gloria Steinem is a world-renowned writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She was born on March 25, 1934 (Happy belated birthday, Gloria!) in Toledo, Ohio. Since Gloria’s father worked as an antique dealer, the family took many trips around the United States in a trailer during her youth. Her mother worked as a journalist and teacher before she suffered from severe depression, which led to a mental breakdown. Gloria’s parents divorced when she was a child. She spent much of her youth struggling financially and caring for her mother.
During her senior year of high school, Gloria moved to Washington, D.C. to live with her older sister. Soon after, she attended Smith College, studying government and political affairs. After graduating from college Phi Beta Kappa, Steinem studied in India for two years on a post-graduate fellowship. This experience helped her realize how high the standard of living is in the United States, and how much suffering there is in the world.
Steinem started her journalism career writing mostly female-oriented “fluff” articles on topics such as make-up and fashion. Her breakthrough as a journalist, however, was in May of 1963 when she wrote about her experience as working in expose as a Playboy Bunny. In her article, she talked about the hard word, unfair wages, and harsh conditions that the “Bunnies” endured on the job.
A few years later, in 1968, Gloria worked for New York magazine as a political columnist and feature article writer. In 1972, she co-founded Ms., a liberal feminist magazine. It was the first of its kind to discuss topics such as gender bias, sexual harassment, and political candidates’ stances on women’s issues. Steinem remained one of the magazine’s editors for fifteen years; today she serves as a consulting editor.
In 1971, Steinem was one of the activists who founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in politics and getting women elected. She has also been involved with founding a countless number of other organizations, such as Women’s Action Alliance, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and Choice USA. As an activist, Steinem has worked with issues such as race and sex inequality, abortion rights, equal pay for women, and domestic violence.
Gloria is a breast cancer survivor; she was diagnosed in the mid-1980s but overcame the disease.
Steinem has also published a number of best-selling books, including Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem and Moving Beyond Words.
Because of her work in activism, Steinem is one of the most famous women of second-wave feminism. She has been known to refer to feminism as simple “humanism” and, likewise, a “revolution.”
“If you say, I’m for equal pay, that’s a reform. But if you say, I’m a feminist, that’s a transformation of society.” – Gloria Steinem
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” – Gloria Steinem
(I couldn’t choose just one quote this week; I loved both of these!)