It’s difficult to find the perfect quote that summarises the values and achievements of Gloria Steinem. Her ideals and activism, particularly around sexuality, resulted in liberation of women in the second half of the 20th century. She’s fierce, she’s unapologetic, she’s inspiring. But this quote is particularly relevant to The 27 Resolve, and the battles I find today as a single woman.
Can you believe she is 82? With the years behind her of fighting for women’s rights (which is still ongoing), you would assume that feminism isn’t working. But she’s not having that sort of attitude! She says that if anything, the feminist movement has proven that we’re not crazy. It’s also proven that one voice can drown out shouting crowds, and a collective voice can change mindsets.
“Our grief is not a cry for war”
Although I’ve only recently started to read about her role in history, I genuinely like Gloria Steinem. She’s everything I want to be as a feminist, as a woman, and as a person. She recognises and fights injustices, but doesn’t turn her nose up at people’s personal choices. She acknowledges, for example, that the quest for youthfulness in women is not necessarily an issue of vanity, but more of a issue of societal pressure (I mean, when a presidential candidate values a woman based on her looks? How can we blame ourselves?). Gloria also recognises the power in freedom of choice. I think it’s important that we never place our own values and viewpoints on another person, so long as we’re working collaboratively, and without judgement, towards a better future.
I also like her nerve. Her daring to go undercover as a Playboy playmate to expose the sexism in the industry. Her boldness to go after jobs for men, regardless of being told that she won’t be hired because clients don’t like to work with women. Challenging this bizarre ideology that pregnant women should leave their jobs at 7 months because companies fear that they will have an accident and sue. How many people complain about problems, but never actually DO anything for fear of retribution? Our own doubts, fears and insecurities hold us back, making us spend a lifetime waiting for the answer, a miracle maker who will change these problems, instead of being the change we wish to see in the world.
I think the difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary one is simply the self belief that they are capable of making a global difference, even when fears and anxiety tell them otherwise.