Monday, March 24, 2014

March 25 - Happy Birthday, Gloria Steinem, 80

Happy birthday, Gloria Steinem.

You are what Inez Milholland might have turned out to be if she had lived longer and had been born later.

Inez Milholland was called by the Editorial Board of The New York Times "the fairest of the Amazons" in 1913.

You were similarly called by The Washington Post columnist Maxine Cheshire  “the miniskirted pinup girl of the intelligentsia."

I got the Cheshire quote from Gail Collins's report on Gloria Steinem's 80th birthday. She noted that Steinem is in Botswana to celebrate her 80th.

Steinem's 40th and subsequent-decade birthdays have been well publicized because she wanted to lead other women by example, and not show fear in the face of aging. She has done this.

How much do women need men?
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
Steinem was born this day in Toledo, Ohio. Her father was an antique dealer and a summer resort operator who traveled around in a trailer, looking for new business ideas. She said of her parents:
[Dad] was always going to make a movie, or cut a record, or start a new hotel, or come up with a new orange drink. [Mom was] an invalid who lay in bed with eyes closed and lips moving in occasional response to voices only she could hear; a woman to whom I brought an endless stream of toast and coffee, bologna sandwiches, and dime pies.
In this environment, Steinem had poor grades, says Garrison Keillor, but she managed to get into Smith based on her entrance exams. After college, she made her name as a journalist with a piece called "I was a Playboy Bunny" (1963), about working "undercover" at the Manhattan Playboy Club. She went on to found Ms. Magazine in 1972. It sold out its first print run of 300,000 copies in eight days. Steinem has written several books about the inequities women face in the modern world, including Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983) and Revolution from Within (1992).

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