Gloria Steinem (born 1934) American writer and feminist icon
Glorious Gloria Steinem—the woman who proved you can be a feminist and feminine at the same time!
To say Gloria Steinem has always lived a highly active life supporting women’s issues is a major understatement...
Gloria's life as an American feminist, journalist and social/political activist was molded by the plight of her mother, Ruth.
At 34, Ruth Steinem—an energetic, fun-loving woman, who had graduated with honours from college, worked her way up to newspaper editor, and taught a year of calculus at college—had a nervous breakdown. She became an invalid, trapped in delusional and occasionally violent fantasies. Ruth spent months in-and-out of sanatoriums for the mentally ill.
Gloria’s father, who had demanded that his wife stop working when they married, divorced Ruth after she became ill. The apathetic attitude of doctors to her mother’s condition and society’s belief that women belonged in the home—and only in the home—convinced Gloria that women badly needed equality.
Gloria’s first serious assignment as a freelance journalist, an article on contraception, got off to a rocky start. The editor made her rewrite it.
Then in 1963 Gloria worked undercover as a Playboy Bunny in New York, to write an investigative report on the treatment of Playboy women. The article caused a sensation and established Gloria as an in-demand writer.
She worked at the prestigious New York Magazine before co-founding the feminist-themed Ms Magazine in 1972. The first 300,000 test copies of Ms sold out nationwide in just eight days. And within weeks, Ms Magazine received an astonishing 26,000 subscription orders and more than 20,000 reader letters.
Boosted to the leadership of feminism by the media, Gloria became politically active. She co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus (to increase women's participation in politics, and to create a political power base to achieve equality for all women) and the Women's Action Alliance.
Choice USA, Take Our Daughters to Work Day and the Women’s Media Center also exist in the United States because of Gloria.
These Gloria Steinem quotes will let you in on the insight of this smart, intelligent woman.
Gloria Steinem quote on academics
- 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.
Gloria Steinem quotes on being authentic
- If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?
- It’s important for all of us to be authentic with each other.
- Like love and laughter, real pleasure is an emotion that can’t be compelled—and thus is an expression of the authentic self.
- Instead of defining power as domination, it is being redefined as self-determination. Instead of outstripping others, the goal is completing oneself.
- Inside each of us is a unique person resulting from millennia of environment and heredity combined in a way that could never happen again and could never have happened before.
- Each of us has an inner compass that helps us to know where to go and what to do. Its signals are interest, excitement, the joy of understanding for its own sake, and the sort of fear that is a sign of being in new territory—and therefore of growth.
Gloria Steinem quotes on change
- In order to make a choice, you need the power to see there is one.
- I’ve learned only one thing: No matter how hard it is to do it, it’s harder not to do it.
- Change is like a house—you can’t build it from the top down, only from the bottom up.
- You can’t lose old and negative ways of thinking until new and positive ones replace them.
- Whatever small change we make will be like a pebble in a pond, it will reverberate outward.
- Becoming conscious of old and unchosen patterns allows us to change them, and even so, change, no matter how much for the better, still feels cold and lonely at first.
Gloria Steinem quotes on raising children
- Violence only produces violent people.
- If children are treated badly enough for long enough, they come to believe they are bad people.
- Any form of abuse that comes from the very people who are supposed to protect us, to whom we have no choice but to make ourselves vulnerable, is the most destructive of self.
- Children who are encouraged to follow their own interests actually learn more, internalize and retain that learning better, become more creative, and have healthier and more durable self-esteem than those who are motivated by reward, punishment or competition with other children.
Gloria Steinem quotes on community
- The Internet can’t substitute for people being in the room together.
- Human beings are communal creatures. If we’re by ourselves we come to feel crazy and alone.
- We are also communal creatures who are born before our brains are fully developed, so we’re very sensitive to our environment. The question is: How to find the support and the circumstances that allow you to express what’s inside you?
Gloria Steinem quotes on emotion
- Laughter may be the only free emotion.
- Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion.
Gloria Steinem quotes on gender roles
- Women can’t be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.
- The main good news is that we understand now that women’s subordinate position is not natural.
- It’s terribly important that we always assume that men have, or should have, or could have, the same concerns about their kids that women do.
- We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.
- I’ve come to realize that the ancient cultures—the original cultures, which account for 95% of human time on Earth—were gender-balanced and balanced with nature.
- Once men realize that the gender roles are a prison for them too, then they become really valuable allies. Because they’re not just helping someone else, they’re freeing themselves.
- One of the most devastating arguments is: “Well, this is human nature, it has always been this way so it always will be.” To understand that for 95% of human history it was different is very helpful to me in believing that it can be different in the future.
Gloria Steinem quote on leadership
- The best kind of leader: one who creates independence, not dependence.
Gloria Steinem quotes on life
- Fortunately, all of us can unlearn.
- Progress lies in the direction we haven’t been.
- Imagining anything is the first step toward creating it.
- We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just rediscover it.
- Dancing has been a way of lifting the human spirit since the beginning of time.
- The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us.
- It’s important to understand what joy there is—we’re meant to use all five senses—we’re meant to be active and contribute to the world.
- Wisdom too often remains in our heads. Only experience can make it a visceral part of our daily lives by bridging the distance from head to heart.
- Perhaps we share stories in much the same spirit that explorers share maps, hoping to speed each other’s journey, but knowing that the journey we make will be our own.
- Since each individual is a literal microcosm of all the forces in the universe, it is not a long stretch to a view of human beings in all their infinite and irreducible variety as being part of and constantly influencing as well as responding to the larger universe.
- I think a lot of us feel we're waiting for life to happen, for something to make us into real adults. That's because our lives don't fit the lives we were supposed to have. As a 1950s person, I was supposed to get married and lead my husband's life, have children and later hold a regular job. I didn't want to do any of those things, but there was no alternative vision. What does adulthood look like if it doesn't look like what they told you?
Gloria Steinem quotes on the media
- The premise of most media is that only conflict is newsworthy. And that’s just not true.
- The media formula is always to have a pro and con, to say there are two sides to any issue, when in fact there may be 10 sides.
- Why are solutions not just as newsworthy as problems? The notion that hostility is necessary all the time to create interest and news is not going to help us come to agreements and solve the huge problems we have.
- The reason women’s magazines look the way they look is much less about readers than it is about advertisers. Advertisers simply won’t place ads in women’s magazines unless you write about their products.
Gloria Steinem quotes on nationalism
- Just as the point of a truly nurturing family is not to keep its members at home forever, the point of a nation is not to draw a line in the sand and keep its members behind it, but to create world citizens who are secure enough to treat others equally.
- We haven’t begun to change even in our minds our image of nationalism. It remains insular and territorial, a dangerous anachronism on this fragile and shrinking planet where neither war nor environmental dangers can be contained by national boundaries anymore.
Gloria Steinem quotes on Nature
- People come to esteem all living things, and thus themselves, through esteem for nature and the universe.
- We’re not separate from nature—it’s not “man conquering nature,” it’s people as part of nature saving ourselves.
- To think of taking our place in nature instead of conquering it is a deep change in the way we see ourselves and the world.
- The same idea of masculinity that says you have to dominate women says you have to dominate nature, and that becomes the source of evils visited on the environment.
Gloria Steinem quotes on oppression
- Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups, and into the cheap labour on which this system still depends.
- The real reasons for (female) genital mutilation can only be understood in the context of the patriarchy: men must control women's bodies as the means of production, and thus repress the independent power of women's sexuality.
Gloria Steinem quotes on pornography
- 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.
- 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.
Gloria Steinem quotes on relationships
- It’s a truism that we can’t love others until we love ourselves—but truisms are also true.
- There are many more people trying to meet the right person than to become the right person.
Gloria Steinem quotes on self-esteem
- Self-esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there’s nothing without it.
- There is a healthier self within each of us, just waiting for encouragement.
- Any one of our human capacities, if unused out of fear or shame, leaves a small hole in the fabric of our self-esteem.
- Perhaps this need to use all our senses explains why a decrease in such school “extras” as music, art, dance and gym often seems to parallel the loss of student self-esteem.
Gloria Steinem quotes on true self
- Believing in a true self is what allows a true self to be born.
- Meditation, prayer, creativity—all these are ordinary ways of freeing an inner voice.
- In the unified body-mind of the self, the movement of any molecule shifts the others.
- Without internal authority, we can't keep challenging external authority. It has to be a balance.
- There have always been rebels and visionaries who persisted in believing that each person has a centre of power and wisdom within.
- The idea of an inner authority is upsetting to those accustomed to looking outside for orders—and certainly to those accustomed to giving them.
Gloria Steinem quotes on the unconscious mind
- The unconscious is timeless.
- The most creative people seem to be those with the easiest access to their unconscious.
- The unconscious and the conscious are not separate compartments but ends of a continuum in which influence flows both ways.
- Precisely because past emotions and events are stored timelessly, we can enter that realm of the unconscious and reprocess them.
- The ability to tap the unconscious can be a great gift, for it gives us access to powers of the mind that are constant as well as timeless.
Gloria Steinem quotes on women
- I always try to say my age because I figure it’s a form of coming out.
- It will not be the year of the woman until we have half of the House and half of the Senate and a president once in a while.
- Many women feel invisible or aberrant when they are subsumed under a masculine term that is supposed to be universal; yet they are often made to feel trivial and nit-picking if they object. But look at it this way: Would a man feel included in “womankind”?