Gloria Steinem has been an iconic figure for me ever since I can remember. I even subscribed to Ms Magazine for a while. On the 4th of November, 1992, the day after Bill Clinton was elected president, Gloria Steinem spoke in Grand Rapids for a YWCA benefit. My mother was one of the organisers for the event. As I was living in Seattle at the time, I didn't attend, but my mother sent me a picture of herself and Gloria. I've had that picture in a frame and in a prominent place wherever I have lived. But, today I gave some serious thought to taking it down.
There's been a lot of chatter about what the old guard feminists are saying about younger female voters, and from it I came across Bill Maher's interview with Gloria Steinem on YouTube. The interview starts with him gushing over how good she looks for 81. Then he goes on to ask Gloria if she thinks, as some other feminists have said, that young women today are complacent about Rowe v Wade because they weren't around when abortion was illegal. Gloria answers in defence of today's young feminists saying that she finds them to be far more activist way more feminist than the women of her generation and goes on to say that "...gratitude never radicalised anybody." She continues on to explain that she "...never said, "Thank you for the vote,'" and adds, "I got mad at the basis as what was happening to me, and I think that's true of young women too. So they're mad as hell because they're graduating in debt, and they're going to earn a million dollars less over their lifetime to pay it back...they're mad about what's happening to them."
So good. It sounds like Ms Steinem really understands the issues of the youth (and some of us who are not so young) today. But then in one fell swoop she dismisses and alienates an entire generation of women. When Bill Maher points out that the younger generation of women support Bernie more than Hilary in this presidential campaign, Gloria says that women tend to get more radical as they get older, and "When you're young you're thinking where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie."
So, this entire generation has gone from being way more feminist and activist and "mad as hell" to boy crazy??? For someone who claims to be more radical now that she's older, she certainly seems to be using a rather old school argument some men may have even used to belittle women who had stood up in the past.
Actually I think these women who are angry about the situation they find themselves in economically are more apt to be thinking of the two candidates who is really going to stand up to the bastards that have really set most of my generation (men and women) in the position we find ourselves? Of the two candidates who consistently votes his/her conscience and doesn't pander to big money corporate America? Who does that? Not Hilary Clinton.
When women fought for the right to vote, they did not make an agreement to always vote for women. They wanted the right to speak their minds and vote their consciences and to have their opinions be taken seriously. Instead of taking the opinions of the young women of today seriously, Gloria Steinem has trivialised their beliefs by saying they are supporting Bernie simply because they want to meet a man.
So today after I saw that interview (which by the way has now been removed from YouTube but you can still find it here), I thought about taking down that picture of my mother with Gloria Steinem.
But it's a really good picture of my mom.