I heard Gloria Steinem muse about Hilary Clinton on CBC radio last week, and I was thinking about how many of my peers don't know who she is. Then I read a Globe and Mail editorial called "It's official: Feminism is out of style" by Karen von Hahn on Saturday. Here is a snippet that struck a chord:
The revelation that I should be stuffed and put on display in some sort of museum of women's liberation came to me while playing a board game over the holidays with my 26-year-old niece and 18-year-old daughter. The game is called Hoopla: You pick a card and act out the person, place or thing named on it for the group to guess. After drawing her card, my hip and literate niece asked whether she could choose another. "I don't have any idea who this is," she said, passing the card to my daughter. "Me neither," shrugged my well-informed Sophie. They passed it to me. The woman on the card was Gloria Steinem.
A couple of years ago I found Gloria Steinem's book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983) in a free book pile at the UVic library. I knew her name because I'm an avid fan of Bust Magazine, so I grabbed the book and read most of it before passing it onto my sister. It was so good that it made me sad. I wish I had read it sooner! I wish it was required reading in high school! I was especially struck by her thoughts on women changing their last names when they marry (because this is a debate that I constantly bring up with anyone who will engage me) and of course, there's her once famous article that exposes the experience of Playboy Bunnies (it's only ok to aspire to this occupation if you are Stephin Merrit of Magnetic Fields).
Gloria Steinem is a feminist icon and founder of Ms. Magazine, but one of the things that I like best about her is that she is comfortable changing her mind; after denouncing marriage for years, she married David Bale - Christian Bale's father - in 2000.
Even if you don't identify with second wave feminism like I do, I hope that you agree that Gloria Steinem is an important name to remember.
I tried to find a clip from last week's CBC interview to include with this post, but I found a crazy video clip instead. Watch it for the cantaloupe shot alone. It's from 1968 interview with CBC, and you can see the whole interview here. Tell me what you think!
Update: I just watched the whole interview. It's really strange in quite a few ways. What's up with the ironing? And the comments about her looks? Not a hateful looker? Really? I do like what she says about what she wants to be when she grows up: "free and old and a little mean."