Steinem, Gloria

(redirected from Gloria Steinem)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Steinem, Gloria

Gloria Steinem is one of the most important feminist writers and organizers of the late twentieth century. Since the 1960s, Steinem has been a political activist and organizer who has urged equal opportunity for women and the breaking down of gender roles. As a writer she has produced influential essays about the need for social and cultural change.

Steinem was born on March 25, 1934, in Toledo, Ohio. Her parents divorced when she was 11 years old. Steinem enrolled at Smith College in 1952 and graduated in 1956. After graduation she went to India to study at the universities of Delhi and Calcutta. It was there that she began publishing freelance articles in newspapers.

In the 1960s, Steinem continued to pursue a writing career, working first for a political satire magazine in New York. Her breakthrough came in 1963 with the publication of her article "I Was a Playboy Bunny," which retold her experiences working in the Manhattan Playboy Club. For the next few years, her articles appeared in many national women's magazines. Steinem also wrote comedy scripts for a weekly political satire television show, That Was the Week That Was.

Her attention shifted to politics in 1968 when Steinem began writing a column for New York magazine. During the late 1960s, the "women's liberation movement" began and Steinem soon became a leading supporter of the movement. In 1971 she, along with betty friedan, bella abzug, and shirley chisholm, founded the National Women's Political Caucus. The mission of the caucus was to identify and encourage women to run for political office.

In 1972, Steinem founded and served as editor of Ms. magazine. Ms. addressed feminist issues, including reproductive rights, employment discrimination, sexuality, and gender roles. The magazine presented Steinem with a platform to air her views about the contemporary social scene. That same year Steinem was one of the cofounders of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a nonprofit organization that pioneered the concept of giving money to programs that addressed the specific concerns of women. At that time less than one percent of foundation grants were given to programs that supported women's issues such as Domestic Violence, female-friendly legislation, and economic disparities.

Since the 1970s, Steinem has been a spokesperson for many feminist causes. She has sought to protect Abortion rights, establish rape crisis centers, and guarantee work environments free from sexual discrimination. Steinem has distinguished between "erotica" and Pornography, believing that nonviolent sexual material is acceptable but pornography should be banned. More radical feminists have criticized Steinem for these and other positions, arguing that she seeks legal changes that falsely promise equal opportunity and fair treatment.

Despite these criticisms, Steinem has remained a popular public figure, traveling across the United States and worldwide, and lecturing to packed audiences. In addition, she is a prolific writer, regularly contributing articles to magazines and newspapers; she also provides political commentary on television, radio, and the Internet. A collection of her articles and essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, was published in 1983. In 1986, she published Marilyn, a biography of film star Marilyn Monroe retold from a feminist perspective. In Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem (1992), Steinem looked inward, discussing ways that women could empower themselves. And, in 1994, she wrote Moving Beyond Words, a collection of essays on the politics of gender.

In addition to her numerous awards and honorary degrees, in 1993, Steinem was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. In 2000, she astonished observers by getting married at the age of 66 to an entrepreneur she had met at a "Economic systems are not value-free columns of numbers based on rules of reason, but ways of expressing what varying societies believe is important."
—Gloria Steinem

Voters for Choice (VFC) fundraiser in 1999. Steinem is president of VFC, which is a bipartisan Political Action Committee that supports candidates working for reproductive freedom. In May 2002, Steinem and her supporters celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Ms. magazine.

Further readings

Davis, Flora. 1999. Moving the Mountain: The Women's Movement in America Since 1960. Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press.

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. 1995. The Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem. New York: Dial Press.

Marcello, Patricia Cronin. 2004. Gloria Steinem: A Biography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press

Stern, Sydney Ladensohn. 1997. Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group.

Cross-references

Dworkin, Andrea; Feminist Jurisprudence; Ireland, Patricia; MacKinnon, Catharine Alice; Millett, Katherine Murray; Sex Discrimination; Women's Rights.

References in periodicals archive ?
Indian feminism might have shed the belief that womanhood is dependent upon men, celebrated feminist Gloria Steinem told a rapt audience at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday, but it is still coming to terms with independence -- while interdependence is a far- off dream.
Which congresswoman founded the National Women's Political Caucus with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem?
I was fortunate enough to be the student guide and host for a speaker spending a few days on campus, the writer and activist Gloria Steinem.
Kanfinan's textual selections--some pedigreed quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, Mac West, and Marilyn Monroe--ring with force; occasionally the unknown excerpt proves equally startling.
Recognizable names like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are included, but other major activists during the same time period, such as Bella Abzug, are barely mentioned.
"It's a tie between Brigitte Bardot and Gloria Steinem, But if I had to choose one, I'd say Gloria because, well, she's the full package.
VETERAN activist Gloria Steinem has said she's "honoured" Sarah Jessica Parker is to portray her in upcoming movie Lovelace.
Asked to name her own sexiest woman, Jennifer chose feminist writer Gloria Steinem, hailing her "the full package".
The HBO doc "Gloria: In Her Own Words" highlights activist Gloria Steinem, whose early work was minimized due to her good looks.
Broner began leading women''s seders in New York in 1976, and regulars included feminist leaders Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug.
Williams, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Carol Moseley Braun, Maureen Dowd, Katha Pollitt, Pearl Cleage, Robin Morgan, Erica Jong, Mark Anthony Neal, and M.
In this the book belongs near those of Gloria Anzaldua Adrienne Rich and Gloria Steinem. (October)