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Quotes by Gloria Steinem

Quotes by Gloria Steinem

You know there is a person inside every baby, right? And anybody who has ever met a baby knows there is already a person in there.
You can see the absence of women in governing bodies from Congress to state legislators, on corporate boards, in tenured positions in academia, and as forepeople in factories.
You can compel fear. You can even make someone feel they’re in love if they’re isolated and dependent for long enough. But laughter is free.
Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.
Work is valued by the social value of the worker.
Women’s progress has been a collective effort.
Women tend to need the healthcare system more because we bear children. Insurance companies – not all of them, but many of them – ‘gender-rate.’ Women may pay 40% more for their health insurance than men do.
Women tend to be conservative in youth and get more radical as they get older because they lose power with age. So if a young woman is not a feminist, I say, ‘Just wait.’
Women don’t want to exchange places with men. Male chauvinists, science-fiction writers and comedians may favor that idea for its shock value, but psychologists say it is a fantasy based on ruling-class ego and guilt.
Women are more than smart enough to see that McCain’s policies are a disaster… He is anti- every reproductive issue we’ve ever fought for.
Women are liked better when they lose.
Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
When I’m talking to groups that are all men, we talk about how the masculine role limits them. They often want to talk about how they missed having real fathers, real loving, present fathers, because of the way that they tried to fit the picture of masculinity.
When I was little, I knew that I was not adopted, but I actually imagined and hoped that I was – and that my real parents were going to come get me.
When I had a fellowship at the Smithsonian, I asked for a couch in the office because I liked to lie down and take a break.
Whatever each individual woman is facing – only she knows her biggest challenge.
What’s so valuable about HBO is they tell stories. We learn from stories.
What we need to be able to do is count all human experience. So I would like to count the secretarial positions as good training places to take over the jobs of the bosses.
What is frustrating is being told that no matter how hard I’ve worked, it counts less than my appearance. Although if you’re not considered conventionally attractive, that also becomes an issue: you know, you’re a feminist because you couldn’t get a man.
What has the women’s movement learned from Geraldine Ferraro’s candidacy for vice president? Never get married.
What happens at 50, more or less, you lose what you need to create another person, to sustain another person; you keep what you need to sustain yourself. And there’s something wonderful about that.
What I’ve learned is that unless it’s an emergency, like a fire or brain surgery, hierarchy is not necessary and may be damaging. If you have a hierarchy, you’re repeating the strengths and weaknesses of one person without allowing for the accumulative strength of a group.
We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
We’re never going to have democratic countries or peaceful countries until we have democratic or peaceful families.
We’ll never solve the feminization of power until we solve the masculinity of wealth.
We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.
We must begin to shift the emphasis of teen-age pregnancy to teen-age boys.
We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.
We are still behaving as if a worker really doesn’t have a family because the work pattern really was meant for men who really were the financial support but weren’t looking after their families. We need to change this, and we can easily do that.
Until the masculine role is humanized, women will tend to be much better at solving dangerous conflicts.
Unless we include a job as part of every citizen’s right to autonomy and personal fulfillment, women will continue to be vulnerable to someone else’s idea of what need is.
Top 10
To say ‘radical feminist’ is only a way of indicating that I believe the sexual caste system is a root of race and class and other divisions.
This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers.
These poor women in academia have to talk this silly language that nobody can understand in order to be accepted, they think.
There’s nothing automatic about political change, about liberation.
There’s no shortage of great young activists.
There’s no greater gift than thinking that you had some impact on the world, for the better.
There’s been the same kind of demonizing of the word ‘feminism’ as words like ‘liberal,’ ‘affirmative action,’ and so on.
There’s a big gap between public opinion polls and the vote in Washington, in Congress.
There is nothing more fundamental than the idea that the government does not have a right to decide when and whether we have children.
There are six million female lives lost in the world every year simply because they are female.
The women’s movement in England was totally against Margaret Thatcher.
The thing about aging is all your old lovers, pretty much if they were really friends, become your family. It’s great. You have those terrible feelings of possessiveness and uncertainty go out the window. You have what you shared. You know you would help each other in times of trouble no matter what.
The surest way to be alone is to get married.
The state of female artists is very good. But the very definition of art has been biased in that ‘art’ was what men did in a European tradition and ‘crafts’ were what women and natives did. But it’s actually all the same.
The same way that racism is a white person’s problem, violence against women is a men’s problem.
The question of whether one has one’s own political power or goes to work for someone else is not only a feminist question.
The problem for all women is we’re identified by how we look instead of by our heads and our hearts.
The origins of violence against women by men are not biological. If that were the case, it would exist in every culture. And it doesn’t exist in every culture.
The only thing I can’t stand is discomfort.
The most hurtful thing is not what comes from our adversaries, it’s what comes from our friends.
The mark, to me, of a constructive argument is one that looks at a specific problem and says, ‘What shall we do about this?’ And a nonconstructive one is one that tries to label people.
The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving.
The first resistance to social change is to say it’s not necessary.
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
The error that we tend to make is that we think that women’s magazines are what editors want and what their readers want – and thus are social indicators – when, in fact, they are what advertisers want. They’re just advertising indicators.
The electoral system is not where change starts – it usually starts in communities and from the bottom up – but it is where change can be stopped.
The deepest change begins with men raising children as much as women do and women being equal actors in the world outside the home. There are many ways of supporting that, from something as simple as paid sick leave and flexible work hours to attributing an economic value to all caregiving and making that amount tax deductible.
The danger of the Internet is cocooning with the like-minded online – of sending an email or Twitter and confusing that with action – while the real corporate and military and government centers of power go right on.
The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together.
The authority of any governing institution must stop at its citizen’s skin.
The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that.
The Republican Party supported the Equal Rights Amendment before the Democratic Party did. But what happened was that a lot of very right-wing Democrats, after the civil rights bill of 1964, left the Democratic Party and gradually have taken over the Republican Party.
The Native American cultures on this continent, most of them, were matrilineal, and some women were the chiefs. Societies were about balance.
The Miss America Pageant reinforces a belief that women are merely how they look and how they please.
The Constitution did not mention women when it was first written, and it still doesn’t.
The AIDS crisis has brought us a consciousness of the immune system as the most important health-maintenance element, and a consciousness of how it is under attack.
Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.
Society certainly encourages women to be victims in every way.
Secretary of state is far superior to vice president, because it’s involved in continuously solving problems and making policy and not being on standby.
Rich cultures, patriarchal cultures, value thin women, like ours; poor ones value fat women. But all patriarchal cultures value weak women. So for women to become physically strong is very profound.
Republicans may learn they can’t appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time.
QUOTES
Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.
Pop culture shapes our ideas of what is normal and what our dreams can be and what our roles are. Politics, of course, decides how the power and the money in the country is distributed. Both are equally important, and each affects the other.
Planning ahead is a measure of class. The rich and even the middle class plan for future generations, but the poor can plan ahead only a few weeks or days.
Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn’t know it’s about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them.
Perfectionism attaches to what is valued in the culture.
Perfect is boring: Beauty is irregular.
People start to talk about post-racist, post-feminist. What does that mean? We’re clearly not post either. Would you say post-democracy? Clearly we haven’t reached true democracy yet.
Pearl Jam doesn’t just sing about issues they care about. These guys walk it like they talk it.
Part of the reason that women go to college is to get out of the food service, clerical, pink-collar ghetto and into a more white-collar job. That does not necessarily mean they are being paid more than the blue-collar jobs men have.
One’s enemies are always talking about ‘post-feminism.’ It is a word invented by people who would like to do away with feminism.
Obviously, there is much similarity among the challenges of transgender people and all women – from health care to harassment to discrimination in the workplace.
Obviously, no LGBT person should be denied the ability to be who they are because their boss disagrees.
Obviously there is no such thing as race, and in many ways, sex is a continuum, not a binary. So it doesn’t make sense to label people in that way.
Nothing changes the gender equation more significantly than women’s economic freedom.
No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.
Movements are like rivers. Dipping into them is never the same twice.
Most women’s magazines simply try to mold women into bigger and better consumers.
Most women are one man away from welfare.
Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father.
Monotheism makes me grouchy. I don’t trust any religion that makes God look like one of the ruling class. I guess I’m a pagan or an animist.
Men should think twice before making widow hood woman’s only path to power.
Men may feel just disempowered by intimacy, by being close to a woman, and also by feeling the tender feelings that they’re ashamed of.
Men are victims of their own impulses.
Mama grizzlies mate later than other bears. They have two cubs instead of four. They wait four years – about twice as long as other bears – between having cubs. And after they’re pregnant, if winter is hard or their health is not good or the food supply is uncertain, they re-absorb the embryo into their body.
Logic is in the eye of the logician.
Like so many women, I was living out the unlived life of my mother – so I wouldn’t be her. But the price I paid was that I distanced myself internally.
Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before.
Liberation does not come from outside.
Law and justice are not always the same.
It’s heartbreaking to watch people working against themselves.
It’s easier to blame the person with less power.
It’s an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous.
It is more rewarding to watch money change the world than watch it accumulate.
In the suffragist and abolitionist era, there were a lot of white women and some black men and women who argued for the old hierarchy and against universal adult suffrage – often on religious grounds.
In my own mind, I am still a fat brunette from Toledo, and I always will be.
In a way, women are a psychic immigrant group.
In a general way, anything that affects men is taken more seriously than anything that affects only women.
In Sweden, both parents take care of the children.
If you’re going to have a male-dominant system, to maintain the system, you have to teach men to dominate.
If you say, I’m for equal pay, that’s a reform. But if you say. I’m a feminist, that’s a transformation of society.
If you hear a statistic, you will make up a story to go with it, because our brains are organized on narrative. And you may very well make up a wrong story because you only have one fact, which is a statistic.
If you ask men about their body image, they will tell you they look better than they do. And if you ask a woman, she’ll tell you she looks worse.
If you are not a feminist in love, you fail to recognise someone who does not love you. Feminism makes love easier. Otherwise, there is the danger of feeling romantically drawn to someone who does not see you as an equal.
If women have young children, they are one man away from welfare.
If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?
If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?
If technology and medicine are used by women to have children or not to have children or to have healthier children – that’s one thing. But if it’s used to say, ‘You’re not a real woman unless you have a child; therefore, take all these dangerous hormones and have one at 54,’ then it’s another story.
If I read the word ‘problematize’ one more time, I’m going to vomit.
I’ve yet to be on a campus where most women weren’t worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I’ve yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing.
I’m so happy that we’re finally hearing the stories and voices of women who make America. We do what we see, not what we’re told, so an incomplete story of this country damages everyone.
I’m not saying that women leaders would eliminate violence. We are not more moral than men; we are only uncorrupted by power so far. When we do acquire power, we might turn out to have an equal impulse toward aggression.
I’m lucky I don’t make my living in front of the camera.
I’m a freelance person, and I’ve always been able to support myself.
I’d like to be played as a child by Natalie Wood. I’d have some romantic scenes as Audrey Hepburn and have gritty black-and-white scenes as Patricia Neal.
I will no longer be referred to as Miss Steinem of Ms. magazine.
I was the first woman to speak ever at the National Press Club, and they gave me a necktie.
I was never against marriage per se. Before feminism, I didn’t think you had any choice. In fact, for a long time I always assumed I would get married. I just didn’t see any marriages I wanted to emulate, so I kept putting it off.
I want to help correct the inaccurate image of immigration in the media. There is an idea that women’s issues are over here and immigration is over there. Three quarters of undocumented workers are women and children.
I think if women are visible in the media, truly visible, in an empowered role, it empowers us to be more visible in any area of our lives.
I think Hefner himself wants to go down in history as a person of sophistication and glamour. But the last person I would want to go down in history as is Hugh Hefner.
I supported Hillary Clinton. She would have made an excellent president. I didn’t think she could get elected. I thought it was too soon.
I started out life as a writer, and writers write in part because they don’t want to talk.
I remember someone once asked Jack Kennedy why he was paying such close attention to the renovation of the square across from the White House, and he said, ‘It may be the only thing my presidency is remembered for.’
I looked up affirmative action once in Wikipedia, and it said, ‘A measure by which white men are discriminated against,’ and I got so mad.
I keep thinking: ‘Georgia O’Keeffe wouldn’t have had Botox.’
I hope to live to 100. There is so much to do.
I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.
I hate to generalize, but in general, both men and women suffer from ageism. Men much less because men gain power as they get older. Women lose power as they get older. Men are seen as gaining experience and being distinguished. Sons look forward to replacing their fathers.
I didn’t go to school a full year until I was 11 or 12, so I lived in books. I really was an observer of life.
I can say whatever it is that I feel.
I am not patient.
I always wanted to put a sign up on the road to Yale saying, ‘Beware: Deconstruction Ahead.’
How could you not love Norman Mailer? He was a total chauvinist, but also so vulnerable.
Hope is a very unruly emotion.
Having one’s traditional role questioned is not a very comfortable experience, perhaps especially for women, who have been able to remain children, and to benefit from work they did not and could not do.
Happy or unhappy, families are all mysterious. We have only to imagine how differently we would be described – and will be, after our deaths – by each of the family members who believe they know us.
God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.
Gloria Steinem
Girls actually need superheroes much more than boys.
Gerda Lerner was fierce, brilliant and unique. She lived history by her bravery, restored history by her scholarship, and democratized its study by her activism.
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life.
From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence – and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified.
For twenty years, not a week went by when I wasn’t on a plane.
For much of the female half of the world, food is the first signal of our inferiority. It lets us know that our own families may consider female bodies to be less deserving, less needy, less valuable.
Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
Feminism began to dawn on my brain belatedly in life.
Female inferiority is internalised by us. Women need a lot more confidence.
Fashion in the past meant conforming and losing oneself. Fashion in the present means being individual and finding oneself.
Everything about aging in my experience so far has been a plus. Except the death part!
Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering that other people have shared similar experiences.
Even before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton threw their exploratory committees into the ring, every reporter seemed to be asking, ‘Which candidate are Americans more ready for: a white woman or a black man?’
Do women compete for the favours of men? Yes. They’ve spent 5,000 years competing.
Diane Keaton is good for women in and of herself. She’s smart and funny and real.
Clearly no one knows what leadership has gone undiscovered in women of all races, and in black and other minority men.
Children are short people. Some you like, some you don’t.
Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.
Burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle.
Being misunderstood by people whose opinions you value is absolutely the most painful.
Because women of color were more likely to be in the paid labor force, they were more likely to recognize discrimination, so they were always leading the women’s movement.
Because we are communal creatures, if you’re with people who think you’re smart, you’re smart, and if they think you’re dumb, you’re dumb.
Because I have work to care about, it is possible that I may be less difficult to get along with than other women when the double chins start to form.
As long as working women also have to do the work of child and family care at home, they will have two jobs instead of one. Perhaps more important, children will grow up thinking that only women can be loving and nurturing, and men cannot.
As for the American child’s classic problem – too much mother, too little father – that would be cured by an equalization of parental responsibility.
Anything can be used for or against the welfare of women – or the welfare of anyone – depending on who controls it.
Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood.
Anger is energising. The opposite of anger is depression, which is anger turned inward.
America is an enormous frosted cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people.
All women, and men of color – we were owned like tables and chairs. We spent a hundred years getting a legal identity as human beings. That’s a big thing.
All those chemicals that create empathy only work when you are in a room together.
Age brings a freedom. When you’re young, you’re much more subject to the idea of what feminine is or how you should look or how you should behave.
After feminism, I suddenly realised: not everyone has to live the same way. Imagine that!
Actually, I believe there are more independents than either Republicans or Democrats, and yet those are the… that is the choice we have on the party ballot.
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.
A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.
A parking lot attendant who’s a guy makes a lot more money than a child-care attendant who’s a woman.
A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.
A majority of Americans want redemption for racism – for our terrible, destructive racist past – and so see a vote for Obama as redemptive.
A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.
A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.
A bad facelift is like a bad toupee.
‘Ms.’ always flouted the rules of the ad world that say, especially for products directed at women, that the ad must be connected to the editorial. You don’t have food ads unless you have recipes. You don’t get clothing ads unless you have lavish fashion coverage. We never did that; every other women’s magazine does.

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