Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem - HERSTORY

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"I do get burned out from time to time. In the beginning I thought, Well, this is something I’ll do for a couple of years. It’s so reasonable. Certainly if we just say what’s wrong, people will put things right. So I didn’t pace myself. I just went flat out, lecturing, organizing. I felt that this was a flat-out effort for a few years and then I would stop doing it and do something else. Since then I’ve realized that it’s something that will take a lifetime. It’s not just a year or two, it’s our whole lives. So that helps you to pace yourself. You realize you can’t be flat-out active all the time, that you need time to think and read. You’ve got to be active in cycles." Gloria Steinem -- Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times, by Lynn Gilbert.

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

 

Gloria Steinem - On Women in Society

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

""In later years, if I’m remembered at all it will be for inventing a phrase like “reproductive freedom” because before that we talked about “population control,” which meant that someone else was going to make the decision, not us. It meant minority groups were understandably fearful that they were going to be controlled more than others. It wasn’t a feminist phrase because it implied control elsewhere instead of by us as individuals. So “reproductive freedom” as a phrase includes the freedom to have children or not to have children, both. So it made it possible for us to make a coalition. I think the revolutionary role of a writer is to make language that makes coalition possible, language that makes us see things in a new way." Gloria Steinem

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

 

Gloria Steinem - On Feminism

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"The kind of writing I’d like to do has to do with both theory and reporting. Thesetwo things have to be hooked up. I think that’s what feminism has to contribute to the world at large; that you can’t just write theory out of no reality, that you have to start as we started, in consciousness-raising groups, and say, Here’s the real situation and here’s the theoretical conclusions that the real situation leads to. The separation between experience and theory is part of the whole split between the intellectual and emotional that’s such a problem. I mean, it just doesn’t exist. It’s part of the male/ female split in our culture that has caused us to cut off qualities in ourselves. It’s not that there aren’t two sides to some things. I’m sure there are, but there aren’t two sides to everything. There are eleven, or a hundred and fourteen or one, and it’s a gross distortion of reality to say there are two sides or to say there has to be a winner or a loser. Reality is much more diverse and interesting than that, and all the splits of intellect and emotion and body and mind should be mended. Feminism is the belief that women are full human beings. It’s simple justice." Gloria Steinem

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

 

Gloria Steinem - HERSTORY

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"I think the fact that I’ve become a symbol for the women’s movement is somewhat accidental. A woman member of Congress, for example, might be identified as a member of Congress; it doesn’t mean she’s any less of a feminist but she’s identified by her nearest male analog. Well, I don’t have a male analog so the press has to identify me with the movement. I suppose I could be referred to as a journalist, but because Ms. is part of a movement and not just a typical magazine, I’m more likely to be identified with the movement. There’s no other slot to put me in." Gloria Steinem

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

 

Gloria Steinem - On Women in Society

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"We’ve gotten where we are today, I think, mainly through individual women telling the truth. I mean, the consciousness-raising group is still the cell of the women’s movement. That means that one woman dared to say that she thought it was unfair that she had to both have a job and take care of the kids while her husband only had a job, and she said this unsayable thing that all of Ladies’ Home Journal was devoted to keep her from saying. And then ten other women said, “Oh, you feel like that? I thought only I felt like that.” And we began to realize that was political, there was a reason why that was true. Or one of us, or a few of us, spoke out about having an abortion and what it meant to have to get an abortion and risk your life. As more and more people spoke out, we began to realize that one out of three or four adult women has had an abortion, so we began to see the politics behind that, that we’re the means of reproduction and that patriarchy was the basic reason for our being in the trouble we were in the first place. " Gloria Steinem

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

 

Gloria Steinem - On Women in Society

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"I’ve been attacked viciously on a personal level for my ideas. It makes you want to go home and cry and never do anything ever again. The attacks are sort of inevitable. It’s hard to be opposed by men and/or women who feel women are inferior. That’s hard. They do a lot of things to you. They’re always attacking you sexually or saying you’re abnormal as a woman, that’s the most prevalent kind of attack, 98 percent. But I think what’s harder for all of us to take is attacks by other women who appear to believe the same things we do. It’s a tiny percentage of the attacks but it’s much more painful. It isn’t as if women had a choice. We’re all damaged people in some way. If you’re a woman who hasn’t been able to do what you want and need to do as a human being, and you see some other woman who is apparently more successful, then you want to say, “How dare she, she’s just another woman like me.” It’s self-hatred. It’s something that happens in the black movement. It happens in every group that’s been told systematically that it’s inferior. Ultimately, you believe it. You believe that your group is inferior, then it makes you angry at the other members of it and it makes you devalue them. There’s no solution for it, I don’t think, except to make a world in which women can be whole people. I only speak about it because it hurts the most."

– Gloria Steinem, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women's Rights

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"What my male colleagues meant by revolution was taking over the army and the radio stations. I mean, that’s nothing. That’s very small potatoes. What we mean by revolution is changing much more than that, not just on the top. It means changing the way we think, the way we relate to each other, what we think divides us or doesn’t divide us, what we think our power relationships are in our daily life."

– Gloria Steinem, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women's Rights

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"It wasn’t until the late sixties, early seventies, that real feminist statements began to be made. It wasn’t just some women who were in trouble, but all women. Radical feminists began to talk about patriarchy and about sexual caste and women as a group. That set off all kinds of recognition in my head, as in millions of other women’s heads, because I think many of us, especially those of us who were in the civil rights movement and the old left, had identified with all other “out” groups, all other powerless groups, without understanding why we felt such a strong sense of identification. Women were not “serious” enough to be an out group ourselves. I think that this understanding is what has made this last decade so mind-blowing and exciting and angering, because we have realized we are living in a sexual caste system and it’s unjust, as is the racial caste system. We’ve begun to question and challenge and discard all of those arguments that say biology is destiny and that we were meant to be supportive, secondary creatures. So if you can generalize, which is awfully hard to do, I guess this decade has been about consciousness-raising and building a majority movement and getting majority support for the kind of basic issues of justice for women, whether it’s reproductive freedom or equal pay or equal parenthood."

— Gloria Steinem, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped our Times, by Lynn Gilbert.

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women in the Workforce

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"You’ve got the hope that parenting can be equal and certainly you’ve got lots of women who are not having children until that’s true. They’re on kind of an unconscious baby strike. If we have to have two jobs while men have one, well, forget it. But we don’t have the structural change to make it happen. We don’t have parental leave instead of maternity leave. We don’t have shorter work days or work weeks for parents of young children, men and women. So I think we’re in a very uncomfortable period now because we’ve got lots of hopes and aspirations and changed ideas of what our lives could be, but not the structural change that would make it possible for most people."

— Gloria Steinem, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times.

Read the oral interview of Gloria Steinem from the late 1970s, available at at Amazon and Apple.

THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment
 Sandro Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' c. 1486

Sandro Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' c. 1486

The Birth of Venus, the goddess emerging from the sea, as a fully grown woman represents rebirth, just as "springtime" represents rebirth and renewal.

Venus, the goddess of beauty, is divine love in the form of a nude Venus. Like the Eve, who tempts Adam, both are about love and desire. Through centuries the representation of woman has evolved into fashion icon of the “moment,” to please and attract men, but in the 20th century a woman becomes a person, whose mind is as important as how she looks.

Gloria Steinem one of those rare individuals who possessed beauty and brains, transformed herself from a woman that men could ogle at the Playboy Club into the trailblazer who wrote, spoke, organized women all over the country to enable them to live rich and productive lives.

But like springtime, you need a period of renewal: “You can't be flat-out active all the time... you need time to think and read.” — Gloria Steinem from “Particular Passions: Talks With Women who Have Shaped Our Times.”

Read the brief chapter and oral biography of Gloria Steinem at Amazon or Apple for just $0.99.

"One of those rare, rare books that pick your life up, turn it around and point it in the right direction." — K.T. Maclay.