August 9, 2011 / Opportunity, Unity, Women's History

Gloria Steinem:In Her Own Words


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

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Next Monday night, HBO is showing a documentary called Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words. An activist, feminist, journalist and writer, Steinem co-founded Ms Magazine and spent her life advocating for women’s equality. Here’s her blog for more of her accomplishments towards this end.

The HBO special airs on the 18th at 9-10pm, and the Women’s Media Center has an entire page focused on it. Its objective is to get as many people to sit down and watch it, so it is asking everyone to socialize the event and even host a special viewing party — like a “Gloria Steinem Party” instead of an Etsy or Tupperware party.

Steinem is using this platform to address the question, “What do you want the future of feminism to look like?”

Here’s my response:

I want the future of feminism to look like empowerment — the kind of empowerment that releases women from using their sex appeal to aspire towards power.

I want to see more girls seek careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and I want the men to welcome them and treat them like they belong in those fields — because if they make it there, they definitely deserve to be there.

I want to see moms and dads give the middle finger to Walt Disney products by purchasing instead microscopes, medical kits, toy space ships, and engineering kits for their girls. I want them to aspire for their girls with the same high standards they aspire for their boys.

I want parents to spark their children’s imaginations by having them dress up, not like princesses, but like astronauts, cowgirls, scientists, race car drivers, and basketball players.

I want to see more parents combine ballet classes with soccer and baseball and basketball for their girls, because gender biases begin at home. Support and empowerment for girls, for any child, needs to come from parents first. We cannot rely on schools and teachers and friends and commercials and the world to provide our children with a strong sense of self and accomplishment.

I want to see a woman President not just once in my lifetime, but again and again, knowing that this is a goal that can be realistically achieved in my daughter’s life. And I want politics, and all who enshroud it, to embrace female potential because it is just as good, just as bright, and just as equal.

I want to live in a country that secures the happiness of all its people, not just men. I want to see human privilege, not just male privilege.

I want women to step out of their homes and domestic spheres and storm the steps of police precincts, government halls, and even the President’s front door demanding justice for rapes and assaults against women. This is the only way the laws that protect criminals and endanger women will change. I want every young girl and woman to fight back when she is assaulted and raped and disfigured by male hatred — I want her to fight to the death and I want her to win. It’s only when we fight back that rapists will fear us.

I want women’s potential to stretch beyond the boundaries of the maternal — beyond the stretching of our own bellies as we give birth to men and women of the future — and then are cast aside as secondary entities, voiceless and powerless beings in charge of only the domestic. There is more to us than our biology, and we have to assert our own voices and rights because no one else will.

I want the future of feminism to be all about equality and fair treatment, just as Gloria Steinem intended it to be when she began her fight for all of us. Since female equality seems to be the most stubborn and most pad-locked objective women will ever have to achieve, I want the future of feminism to unlock doors and break down walls and crack glass ceilings that my daughter will undoubtedly face and have to struggle against when she becomes a woman.

What do you want the future of feminism to look like?

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