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Feminist Gloria Steinem speaks out about the things that bother her


Summary of story from The Guardian, November 13, 2011

Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken figure on behalf of women’s rights and the pro-choice movement for half a century.

Speaking to the Guardian from her New York home, she talks about the strength she garnered during her years of speaking out and her opposition to cosmetic surgery.

“What I care about is the message, and I realise that if I had plastic surgery, it would just distract people,” she said. “It would be like having a bad toupee; they wouldn’t listen.”

Steinem is presently hard at work on a long-overdue book of inspirational essays about being on the road – rarely a week goes by without her taking a plane – but in the meantime she has been popping up elsewhere: an HBO documentary, Gloria: In Her Own Words; and a long “oral history” of Ms, the magazine she founded in 1972.

However, she never intended to be so visible a figure in the women’s movement – or so she insists. She hated public speaking, and feared conflict.

“I know. I’m in the wrong business. But you have no choice, however hard it is,” she said. “I experience it like this: either I am invisible, or someone I identify with is invisible, and it makes me so angry.

“It’s so wrong, and then I just can’t resist. I have to do something.”

Is she tough?

“That’s a good question. I don’t know. Different things hurt you surprisingly. But I always had the feeling, which makes you tough under duress, that I was a survivor.”

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