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September 23, 1979 - Image 11

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Page 8-Sunday, September 23, 1979-The Michigan Daily


nedy, who helped to write speeches for
that president. Is she married now?
"Not legally," the feminist quipped.
Tom Wolfe wrote of Steinem in his
Radical Chic, "I don't know what
Gloria's real motives are. Most in-
tellectuals are in politics for fun. It's
part of the Babbittry of being an in-
tellectual. Her intuitive interests seem
more profound than that. She really
does have a taste for the exercise of
Steinem said her experience at the
1968 Democratic convention in Chicago
was instrumental in. opening her
blinking, midwestern eyes to feminism.
She realized, she said, earnestly contor-
ting her hands in explanation, "In
radical circles I was as much of a shit
as Republican women," and her young
Alice Lloyd admirers nodded in under-
standing. "This (feminism) is a
revolution, not a touch-y, feel-y, self-
revelation movement-.,. . We don't
want to be superior. We've seen what
superiority has done to you guys,"
Steinem said, gesturing to two men who
dared to challenge the feminist on the
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
"The real equality lies in your abilitiy to
be what you want. . . Economic
dependence (of housewives) looks like
love from a distance, but it quickly tur-
ns to hatred."
Poverty marked Steinem's
childhood, and she often jokes about her
rodent playmates. Daughter of Ruth
and Leo Steinem, both of whom dabbled
in journalism, Steinem was born a
Depression baby in Toledo in 1934. Her
first 12 years she rambled across the
country with her traveling salesman
father, her mother, and her older sister.
After her parents separated, adolescent
Gloria settled in a small house in Toledo
with her mothern sister. Y ~
At Smith College in Northampton,
Mass., Steinem was active in the
Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee, before it spurned white
members and non-violence.. She
graduated magna cum laude in 1956,
and with a B.A. in Government clut-


Daily Photo by CYRENA CHANG

('Feminism) is a
revolution, not a
touch-y, feel-y
the real equality
lies in your
ability to be what
you want.'

1963 it was revealed that the service
was indirectly funded through the Cen-
tral Intelligence Agency.
During the 1960s, Steinem wrote for a
variety of publications, including the
Toledo Blade, Esquire, Life, Harper's,
Vogue, Glamour, McCall's, New York,
the Ladies Home Journal, Show, and
the New York Times. She spent a year
writing for the "Weekend Update" of
the 1960s, That Was the Week That Was,
a popular but short-lived television
show. She became a contributing editor
of New York magazine, and again
crossed the country on publicity trips.
In 1972 she founded Ms. with a few
colleagues, combining journalistic ex-
perience with the feminism she had
recently discovered.
"I don't think I was prepared for how
many times we'd have to fight the same
battle," Steinem mused, referring
specifically to the abortion issue. She
compared the women's movement that
broke during the 1970s to the turn-of-
the-century suffrage movement, and.
noted similarities between the two.
"There's a surge forward, then a time
of assimilation, of change, maybe reac-
tion, then a surge forward. . . We
should think of ourselves as literally a
Steinem's grandmother, in fact, was
an active suffragette. Pauline Steinem
was president of the Ohio Women's Suf-
frage Association from 1908 until 1911,
and "spoke before Congress" for her
cause, according to her famous gran-
ddaughter. Pauline died in 1940. when
-Gloria was six, but Steinem claimed
she grew up ignorant of her gran-
dmother's background. "I was told she
was a wonderful woman because she
raised four sons and kept a kosher kit-
chen. I mean, the woman who everyone
is ashamed to talk about in my family is
probably my grandmother," Steinem

said. "We think about suffragettes as
not as radical as they were. When you
read their story, it makes you want to
Now that women have had the right to
vote for 55 years, many of them and
their feminist brothers are lobbying for
the ERA, a simply-worded con-
stitutional amendment designed to
eliminate discrimination based on sex.
The ERA has had rough going in state
legislatures, and even with an exten-
sion, it still needs the ratification of
three more states by 1982. University
Regent Sarah Power (D-Ann Arbor)'
hosted a fund-raiser the day of
Steinem's speech earlier this month.
Power's secretary called the fund-
raiser "successful," and noted that
Power and Steinem are friends aside
from their feminist interests. Steinem
wouldn't venture to predict the ERA's
future, but she did sound battle-weary
at times. "I get very discouraged and
embittered... I can get very
discouraged until I look at where we
used to be," she sighed.

Emblazoned with the title "feminist
leader" the way Hester Prynne bore
her scarlet "A," Steinem's career, her
style of dress, her friends, and her
lovers have been subject to the glaring
public eye, and, at times, to distortion.
"I don't read what's written about
me, by andlarge. Besides, I was pretty
old by the time it (publicity) started. I
think it's much harder if you are young.
I always feel very sorry for rock stars,
or somebody who gets to be very
famous and they think that it's real, you
know? I was quite old, so I know that
the people who treated me differently
before I was famous, either better or
-worse, are not being honest with me
now. And I also know that it doesn't
mean much. The important thing is the
moral content of what you're doing.'
But even the "moral content" can be
eclipsed by the heady exhileration of
being at the forefront of, as Steinem
terms it, a "revolution."
"The greatest happiness," Steinem
said, "is the feeling you have made a
difference in the world."

N - - --- - - Mk


- Sunday
Q a

ched in hand, trotted off to study as a
Chester Bowles Asian fellow at the
University of Delhi and the University
of Calcutta in India.
After returning to the States in 1958,
Steinem became an officer of the In-
dependent Research Service in Cam-
bridge, Mass. and under its auspices
worked on journalistic activities at the
Helsinki Youth Festival in Finland. In


Owen Gleiberman

Elizabeth Slowik

Associate editor
Elsa Isaacson
Cover photo by Jim Kruz

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, September 23, 1979

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