As her memoir hits shelves this month, writer, activist, international feminist icon (and our new best friend) Gloria Steinem shares her words of wisdom
…what feminism looks like today.
‘Now we know that we’re not crazy, but the system is crazy, it means we can use our energy to create change rather than feel guilty or wrong. From deaths caused by female infanticide to FGM, to sexualised violence in war zones, for the first time there are fewer women on earth than men.
‘I love Amy! I went to see Trainwreck and it breaks boundaries. It suddenly dawned on me that this was the first time I’d ever seen a film that was so hypersexualised, without feeling endangered. She wrote it, she’s in control of it, and I understood that [as a woman] I wasn’t going to be humiliated by it.’
…why humour can be a feminist’s best friend.
‘It’s so relevant that feminists like Amy are using humour. Laughter is the only free emotion we have. You can compel fear, you can even compel love if someone is kept isolated, but you can’t compel laughter. It’s vital that women are free to laugh and create laughter.’
…women who feel there’s no longer a fight left to fight.
‘It means they have lower standards. Are they as safe on the street as a man? Is there anywhere in the world where women average the same pay at work as men? I doubt it. So the feeling that the movement is not needed is only more proof that it is. It means that we’ve absorbed the culture of female inferiority, and now think of it as inevitable.’
…how our views change with age.
‘Most young women haven’t experienced much discrimination. If you’re a student, you’re being treated with more equality than you ever will, because you’re paying. But until you’ve lived more, had children or entered the workforce, you haven’t experienced discrimination. Women tend to be conservative when they’re young and more rebellious when they’re older, as we lose power with age. Men, on the other hand, get more conservative as they age. For decades I’ve had this vision of leading an army of grey-haired women taking over the earth!’
My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem (£14.99, Oneworld) is out now.