Today, I’m honoring another of our awesome “Sisters from other Misters”: White women who have our back!
Ms. Gloria Marie Steinman—you know the name, right?
She’s a feminist, journalist, and political activist, and she stands for US, too.
Co-founder of Ms. magazine and Women’s Media Center, an organization that works “to make women visible and powerful in the media,” she is also a media spokeswoman on issues of equality. #hollaatyourgirl
Her roots in feminism go WAY back, too, sis … starting with her paternal grand-mama, Pauline Perlmutter Steinem. Pauline was “a chairwoman of the educational committee of the National Woman Suffrage Association, a delegate to the 1908 International Council of Women, and the first woman to be elected to the Toledo Board of Education.” She was also a HERO—she saved many members of her own family from the holocaust! #womenconqueringfear
Gloria’s first taste of social injustices came from what she watched her mother—who suffered from mental illness—go through. She couldn’t hold a job, and Gloria felt that was at least partly due to a “general hostility toward working women,” and the apathy her mother’s doctors exhibited toward her, about her mental illness.
After getting her education, Gloria began writing on topics like contraception, a woman’s choice between work and marriage, the exploitation of women, etc. It was the day she spoke out about abortion in 1969 for New York Magazine that her life as “an active feminist” began, and she coined the phrase “reproductive freedom.”
It was also in 1969 that she published an article, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation,” bringing herself national fame as a feminist leader.
Now, here’s what blows my mind most when it comes to Gloria: she has been quoted saying that “The quest for gender equality will not succeed if the mainstream movement ignores an essential reality: Black women have always been at the heart of feminist activism.” #holla!!!
She goes back to 1975, “… when three black women filed successful sexual harassment lawsuits: two against the US government, filed by Paulette Barnes and Diane Williams, and one against a bank, filed by Mechelle Vinson. Vinson’s case, accusing her former supervisor of repeated harassment and rape, eventually led to the Supreme Court’s unanimous 1986 decision that sexual harassment was a violation of the Civil Rights Act.”
“All three of these women were black. And these black women now symbolize the fact that [sexual harassment] is certainly more likely to happen to people with less power in society than to people with more power,” said Steinem. She went on to note that law professor Anita Hill, also a black woman, brought sexual harassment to the forefront of public discourse with her 1991 testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
Gloria believes that “white feminism and mainstream American culture has overlooked the invaluable contributions of women of color.”
SO MUCH YES!!!
“The problem, and what [many feminists today] are not saying,” said Steinem, “is that women of color in general—and especially black women—have always been more likely to be feminist than white women. And the problem I have with the idea that the women’s movement or the feminist movement is somehow a white thing is that it renders invisible the people who have always been there.”
Gloria is so widely-respected, and girl, her speaking out like this on our behalf is HUGE!
I honor her for raising her voice for women of ALL color …
And I LOVE her quote, “Imagine we are linked, not ranked.”
I’d love to hear from you. Post below, and I’ll respond personally.
With all the love my heart can hold…