Happy 79th birthday, Gloria Steinem! Journalist, feminist icon, and one of the founding members of Ms. magazine, Steinem is the woman I wanted to be when I was 17 … and, who am I kidding, who I still want to be today.
If you’re not familiar with Gloria Steinem’s place in Second Wave feminism — that is, the movement in the 1960s and 1970s that fought sexism in the workforce, legalized abortion, invented the birth control pill, criminalized domestic violence, and a whole host of other gains we take for granted today — then you’d best read up. Because if you’re not down with Gloria, we can’t be friends.
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Gloria Steinem is a feminist hero. She’s also a smokin’ hot babe with great style. Since today is her 79th birthday, we thought we’d celebrate not only her contributions to the feminist movement, but also her enduring look — her signature oversized glasses, short skirts and center-parted hair. We’ve attempted to help you get her mod squad look with a modicum of effort. Check out our style inspiration pieces after the jump!
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As Gloria Steinem walks Oprah through the beautiful and elaborately decorated NYC apartment she’s lived in since 1966, it’s hard to imagine that until recently, she treated it as a temporary home. “For years and years and years I lived out of cardboard boxes,” says Steinem. “I was brought up to think you didn’t make a home [without] husband and children–you didn’t make it for yourself.” We’re glad she finally settled in, because it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into Steinem’s home life, from the travel mementos and feminist artwork to the living room where she launched Ms. Magazine. The sprawling apartment is worth millions now, but you won’t believe how much she paid for it when she and five of her single pals bought it in the late 80s (hint: it was less than a quarter of the price of Avril Lavigne’s wedding ring). Yep, time to cry. [Refinery 29]
“I saw ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ last night, and among other things, Catwoman is a feminist superhero with a story line and transformation of her own — plus class consciousness, a girl buddy, equal skills with the Batman equipment, and an apartment of her own in Old Town. And she gets the guy.”
– It’s the movie endorsement you’ve all been waiting for: iconic feminist Gloria Steinem gives a thumbs-up to “The Dark Knight Rises.” Okay, I am pretty sure you were not waiting for that endorsement. [It's worth noting that Steinem's husband was David Bale, who died in 2003, and she is therefore Christian's step-mom, which may make her a tiny bit biased. That said, the movie looks gooood. -- Editor] But I am happy to hear she thinks Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is a great role. The words “feminist superhero” are ones we can always use to more of in the mainstream! [Women & Hollywood]
“I confess that there were moments when I realized that I was fantasizing that the magazine would burn down. And I thought, ‘Why am I dreaming of this over and over?’ And then I realized that if it burned down, I would be free, and no one would be mad at me because it wasn’t my fault. There were those times.”
–Gloria Steinem, on the early days of publishing Ms. Magazine, and the difficulties she had in managing all of the responsibility foist upon her as a feminist leader. Steinem, along with several other founding editors, were interviewed for an oral history of the magazine, in honor of its 40th anniversary, for New York. [New York]
Chelsea Handler and Gloria Steinem have been hanging out and I’m never invited. It’s cool. I’m not, like, devastated or anything. But I’m just saying, if Arianna Huffington walked up to Chelsea at a Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women event and lectured her how she’s “so maternal” and “needs” to have children, I would have had Chelsea’s back, too. Chelsea and Gloria and I can be “CGJ,” — sort of like “MVP” but feminist and smart and awesome. [E! Online] Keep reading »
Gloria Steinem became famous in 1963 when she published an article called “A Bunny’s Tale” in which she went undercover at a Playboy Club to expose the treatment of its waitresses. In the decade-plus to follow, Gloria became one of the most public faces of the burgeoning “second wave” feminist movement. She fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, advocated for abortion to be legalized, pushed the mainstream women’s movement to recognize that lesbian rights were an integral part of women’s rights, and of course was the very first editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. The heyday for the “third wave” feminist battles have arguably passed, but Gloria Steinem is still kickin’ (enough to put Glenn Beck into a fit, shrieking about how the “’60s have passed”). Any young woman or young man who has discovered feminism in the past 50 years will come across something that has Gloria Steinem’s fingerprints on it. Naturally such an icon deserves, at age 77, to be memorialized in her very own documentary. Keep reading »
“The Playboy Club” is the number one TV series I’m excited about this fall. How could I not be psyched for (another) show about the ’60s and the fight for women’s equality? Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who went undercover as a Bunny/waitress for a magazine exposé in 1963, is calling for a boycott of the show, but I truly hope it will instead provoke lots of discussion and have some teachable moments.
So, I read with interest an interview with actress Amber Heard in Playboy magazine. As the star of the show, she does not have an easy path ahead of her. In every single interview, she will be asked her opinions about Playboy Clubs and women who worked as bunnies/waitresses — on some level, to justify the show’s existence. Keep reading »
I, for one, am excited about “The Playboy Club,” NBC’s new fall show that sounds like a bonus dose of the sex, drugs and cultural upheaval we’ve come to love from “Mad Men.” (Come back soon, pretty please?) But other ladies are less than thrilled, such as the inimitable Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon/all-around badass who went undercover as a waitress/Bunny at the Playboy Club in 1963 for an exposé in Show magazine. In an interview with Reuters to promote a new documentary about her life, the 77-year-old huffed and puffed, “Clearly ‘The Playboy Club’ is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all.” I take her word for this: her exposé revealed many things to the public about the so-called harmless fun of Playboy Club culture, including how all the waitresses were required to have a pelvic exam and a test for STDs. Let me repeat that: waitresses had to get tested for STDs. “[O]ne of the things they had to change because of my expose was that they required all the Bunnies, who were just waitresses, to have an internal exam and a test for venereal disease,” Steinem said, no doubt with pride. She continued to praise “Mad Men” as “a net plus [for pop culture], because it shows the world of the early 1960s with some realism.” However, she added, “I expect that ‘The Playboy Club’ will be a net minus and I hope people boycott it. It’s just not telling the truth about the era.” Keep reading »