Gloria Steinem: Feminist Activist | MAKERS.com



the predominant reaction to the women's movement was ridicule it took us a long time to be taken seriously enough to be opposed when it came to assignments as a freelance writer I was assigned things about fashion and food and makeup and babies or the low point of my life textured stockings when I delivered that articles to my editor at the Sunday Times Magazine he generally gave me a choice like either I could go to a hotel room with him in the afternoon or mail his letters on the way out needless to say I mailed the letters but I just assumed you had to put up with this I don't think I understood the need for a movement until I went to cover an abortion hearing I had had an abortion when I first graduated from college and had never told anyone you are murdering us and I listened to women testify about all that they had to go through the injury the danger the infection the sexual humiliation to get an illegal abortion and I began to understand that my experience was not just mine but an almost universal female experience and that meant that only if you got together with other women was it going to be affected in any way I only want to remind you tonight that what we are talking about is a revolution and not a reform wherever we went there would be these huge crowds than people would stay for hours afterwards and talk and form groups because women were so relieved to hear someone describing what actually happened to them that it was just like wildfire it grew into an idea for a magazine you we were terrified we were going to embarrass the movement by creating something that wasn't successful but it was supposed to be on the newsstands for a couple of months and it was just a little over a week and it sold out it just walked off the newsstands we were shocked it was heady and exciting and naive you know because we thought these in justices are so great surely if we just explain them to people they will want to fix them one great tribute to the success of the women's movement is the degree of the backlash against it among the multitude of causes in this cause ridden aged one that has not to me at least made its case is women's live you know in my heart I think the only alternative to being a feminist is being a masochist before this wave of feminism came along the majority of people probably thought that male and female roles were due to biology or nature or God or Freud or something that you couldn't change now the majority of people in this country know that if there is inequality it's wrong it's unjust that we're all human beings and the point is our individual talents that's a huge change huge huge change you