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Celebrating Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words

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Celebrating Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words

I was probably around 12 years old the first time I heard Gloria Steinem’s name from the pages of my mother’s issues of Ms. Magazine. At the time, I couldn’t fully understand or appreciate her enormous contributions to the lives of women around the world, nor could I have predicted the incredibly significant personal role she would come to play in my life, as a friend and mentor, as well as a longtime supporter of the 16 year-old women’s web site and non-profit organization I run, Feminist.com.

I have had the enormous pleasure and honor of interviewing Gloria numerous times, as I did once again this past week, to mark the occasion of a film celebrating her incredible life, in the new HBO documentary In Her Own Words which premieres on HBO this coming Monday 8/15 at 9pm EST. In true Gloria fashion, she is using the film as a rallying cry to launch an intergenerational dialogue about the future of feminism, through an online campaign called In Your Own Words organized by the Women’s Media Center, an organization she co-founded 6 years ago with Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan.

I was thinking about how I would answer the question presented by the In Your Own Words campaign about my own personal vision for the future of feminism. As the founder of Feminist.com, as you can imagine, I could write a book about the topic, but here are just a few of my thoughts. First off, my hope would be for a coordinated global commitment to eradicate the widespread discrimination, oppression and violence against women and girls, that should be seen not as “women’s issues” but human rights abuses that affect us all. We need to amplify the message that we all benefit in a world where women and girls are educated, valued, and empowered, as well as equally represented in positions of influence and leadership, in media, politics, the arts and the corporate world. I also believe men should feel increasingly included in feminist work, as both allies for women’s equality and as beneficiaries in a movement that aims to re-imagine and transform gender roles that impact them too. At its root, feminism should promote our interdependence with each other, nature, and all living things, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or any of the many other labels that can divide us.

And as Gloria’s groundbreaking book Revolution from Within posited many years ago, this is not only about outer world change but about inner transformation and an evolution of consciousness – that men and women, boys and girls, be educated, encouraged and enabled to embrace the full expression of the intrinsic human qualities within their soul. To me feminism ultimately is a movement to spark our own inner light and illuminate the world.

I hope people everywhere will watch the HBO film and participate in the online campaign as a way to celebrate Gloria and offer her our thanks – for her voice, for her courage, for her indomitable, beautiful and inspirational spirit.

Here are some of my favorite quotes of Gloria’s from my interviews (many of which appear in my book, Daring to Be Ourselves – the photo of us on this post was taken at the Daring to Be Ourselves book launch/Feminist.com 15 year anniversary party last December at which Gloria delivered a wonderful speech).

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Marianne Schnall

Marianne Schnall is the founder of Feminist.com, a leading women’s website and nonprofit organization, and the cofounder of EcoMall.com, a website promoting earth-friendly living. She is the author of Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice.Through her writings, interviews, and websites, Marianne strives to raise awareness and inspire activism. For more information, visit daringtobeourselves.com and marianneschnall.com.

32 comments

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1:05AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

LOVE HER

5:31AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Michael,
I guess it was also true the Bush41 didn't work for the CIA before he became the director and there was a magic bullet,(humor). Gloria turned people in while she was in College, spied on her so called friends, worked for a PR created belief system and probably till today she is following directions and making reports on activities for the agency. The Village Voice did a interesting story on how they killed parts of a book and covered up the issues against her. If she opened anyone's eyes today or back in the day, remember she was a operative paid to direct you into behavior they wanted. She was a plant that killed other venues for freedoms of individuals.
All the best

5:05PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Apparently Steinem admitted working for the CIA on "Opperation Mocking BIrd. Not sure that means anything.

BTW the practice of the CIA spying on american citizens was halted when George H. W. Bush became CIA director.

4:58PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Teresa Wlosowicz saysI adore the quote: 'A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle'.

Unfortunately, Steinem didn't coin the phrase Irina Dunn did.

4:56AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

But most people go angling BY BIKE, so there must be a connection... :-)

4:54AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

I adore the quote: 'A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle'.

6:44AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

I discovered Gloria and feminism with Ms magazine in 1973 or 74, when I was in grade 11. Prior to this, I had never given any thought to the idea that women changed their names when they got married and that their status was represented in their title. Why should I declare whether I was married by writing Miss or Mrs. when men never did? It was a revelation from which the rest of my feminism flowed. Thank you Gloria.

11:46AM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

Ms. Steinem has had a remarkable life and the special should be interesting to watch

7:42PM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

thanks for this article! it's fantastic!! indeed Gloria Steinem is a phenomenal individual!
long live respect, justice, and equality! :D

3:44PM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

Thank you! I love Gloria Steinem! Super article!

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