Citations Gloria Steinem

„Believing in the full social, political, and economic quality of women, which is what the dictionary says "feminism" means, is enough to make a revolution in itself.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: I'm not sure feminism should require an adjective. Believing in the full social, political, and economic quality of women, which is what the dictionary says "feminism" means, is enough to make a revolution in itself. But if I had to choose only one adjective, I still would opt for radical feminist. I know patriarchs keep equating that word with violent or man-hating, crazy or extremist — though being a plain vanilla feminist doesn't keep one safe from such epithets either, nor does "I'm not a feminist, but..." Nonetheless, radical seems an honest indication of the fundamental change we have in mind and says what probably is the case: the false division of human nature into “feminine” and “masculine” is the root of all other divisions into subject and object, active and passive — the beginning of hierarchy. Part 6 : Doing Sixty, p. 270

„Regarding the idea that the women’s movement is white and middle class — a fair share of the country is white and middle class.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: Regarding the idea that the women’s movement is white and middle class — a fair share of the country is white and middle class. And certainly, there are racist white women. Certainly, there are sexist black men. All those things are true. But the other thing that’s never said is that black women are much more likely to support feminist issues than white women. It makes sense because they’re much more likely to be on the paid labor force than white women. And if you’ve experienced discrimination for one reason, you’re probably more likely to recognize it for another reason.

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„There were never that many women stand-up comics in the past because the power to make people laugh is also a power that gets people upset.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: There were never that many women stand-up comics in the past because the power to make people laugh is also a power that gets people upset. But the ones who were performing were making jokes on themselves usually and now that’s changed. So there are no rules exactly but I think if you see a whole group of people only being self-deprecating, it’s a problem. But I have always employed humor, and I think it’s absolutely crucial that we do because, among other things, humor is the only free emotion. I mean, you can compel fear, as we know. You can compel love, actually, if somebody is isolated and dependent — it’s like the Stockholm syndrome. But you can’t compel laughter. It happens when two things come together and make a third unexpectedly. It happens when you learn something, too. I think it was Einstein who said he had to be careful when he shaved because if he thought of something suddenly, he’d laugh and cut himself. So I think laughter is crucial. Some of the original cultures, like the Dalit and the Native American, don’t separate laughter and seriousness. There’s none of this kind of false Episcopalian solemnity.

„The men I’ve met who were the best allies of feminism are those who see their stake in it; who see that they themselves are being limited by a culture that deprives men of human qualities deemed feminine, which are actually just the qualities necessary to raise kids — empathy and attention to detail and patience.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: The men I’ve met who were the best allies of feminism are those who see their stake in it; who see that they themselves are being limited by a culture that deprives men of human qualities deemed feminine, which are actually just the qualities necessary to raise kids — empathy and attention to detail and patience. Men have those qualities too but they’re not encouraged to develop them. And so they miss out on raising their kids, and they actually shorten their own lives. When men realize that feminism is a universal good that affects them in very intimate ways then I think they really become allies and leaders.

„It’s about rejecting a god who looks like the ruling class.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: If it were up to me, I would not define myself by the absence of something; "theist" is a believer, so with "atheist" you’re defining yourself by the absence of something. I think human beings work on yes, not on no. … humanist is a great term. …except that humanism sometimes is not seen as inclusive of spirituality. To me, spirituality is the opposite of religion. It’s the belief that all living things share some value. So I would include the word spiritual just because it feels more inclusive to me. Native Americans do this when they offer thanks to Mother Earth and praise the interconnectedness of “the two-legged and the four, the feathered and the clawed,” and so on. It’s lovely. … because it’s not about not believing. It’s about rejecting a god who looks like the ruling class.

„No previous Republicans except for George W. Bush would be acceptable to the people who now run the GOP. They are not Republicans. They are the American version of the Taliban.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: This war against women started a long time ago with old Democrats who took over the Republican Party, which was, before that, the very first to support the Equal Rights Amendment. Even when the National Women’s Political Caucus started, there was a whole Republican feminist entity. But beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, right-wing Democrats like Jesse Helms began to leave the Democratic Party and gradually take over the GOP. So I always feel I have to apologize to my friends who are Republicans because they’ve basically lost their party. Ronald Reagan couldn’t get nominated today because he was supportive of immigrant rights. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice. George H. W. Bush supported Planned Parenthood. No previous Republicans except for George W. Bush would be acceptable to the people who now run the GOP. They are not Republicans. They are the American version of the Taliban. … They’ve taken over one of our two great parties. This causes people to wrongly think that the country is equally divided but if we look at the public opinion polls, it isn’t. So, I can’t think of anything more crucial than real Republicans taking back the GOP.

„I can’t think of anything more crucial than real Republicans taking back the GOP.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: This war against women started a long time ago with old Democrats who took over the Republican Party, which was, before that, the very first to support the Equal Rights Amendment. Even when the National Women’s Political Caucus started, there was a whole Republican feminist entity. But beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, right-wing Democrats like Jesse Helms began to leave the Democratic Party and gradually take over the GOP. So I always feel I have to apologize to my friends who are Republicans because they’ve basically lost their party. Ronald Reagan couldn’t get nominated today because he was supportive of immigrant rights. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice. George H. W. Bush supported Planned Parenthood. No previous Republicans except for George W. Bush would be acceptable to the people who now run the GOP. They are not Republicans. They are the American version of the Taliban. … They’ve taken over one of our two great parties. This causes people to wrongly think that the country is equally divided but if we look at the public opinion polls, it isn’t. So, I can’t think of anything more crucial than real Republicans taking back the GOP.

„I think we all have the power to name ourselves. I try to call people what it is they wish to be called.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: I think most social justice movements take the words that are used against them and make them good words. That’s partly how “black” came back into usage. Before we said “colored person,” or “Negro.” Then came “Black Power,” “Black Pride,” and “Black Is Beautiful” to make it a good word. "Witch" was another word I remember reclaiming in the 1970s. There was a group called Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (WITCH). They all went down to Wall Street and hexed it. And Wall Street fell five points the next day; it was quite amazing! “Queer” and “gay” are other examples. … I think we all have the power to name ourselves. I try to call people what it is they wish to be called. But we can take the sting out of epithets and bad words by using them. Actually, I had done that earlier with “slut” because when I went back to Toledo, Ohio, which is where I was in high school and junior high school, I was on a radio show with a bunch of women. A man called up and called me “a slut from East Toledo,” which is doubly insulting because East Toledo is the wrong side of town. I thought, when I’d lived here I would have been devastated by this. But by this time I thought, you know, that’s a pretty good thing to be. I’m putting it on my tombstone: "Here lies the slut from East Toledo."

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„I think most social justice movements take the words that are used against them and make them good words.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: I think most social justice movements take the words that are used against them and make them good words. That’s partly how “black” came back into usage. Before we said “colored person,” or “Negro.” Then came “Black Power,” “Black Pride,” and “Black Is Beautiful” to make it a good word. "Witch" was another word I remember reclaiming in the 1970s. There was a group called Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (WITCH). They all went down to Wall Street and hexed it. And Wall Street fell five points the next day; it was quite amazing! “Queer” and “gay” are other examples. … I think we all have the power to name ourselves. I try to call people what it is they wish to be called. But we can take the sting out of epithets and bad words by using them. Actually, I had done that earlier with “slut” because when I went back to Toledo, Ohio, which is where I was in high school and junior high school, I was on a radio show with a bunch of women. A man called up and called me “a slut from East Toledo,” which is doubly insulting because East Toledo is the wrong side of town. I thought, when I’d lived here I would have been devastated by this. But by this time I thought, you know, that’s a pretty good thing to be. I’m putting it on my tombstone: "Here lies the slut from East Toledo."

„In Nevada, there was a time when you couldn’t get unemployment unless you tried sex work first.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: If someone wants to be called a sex worker, I call them a sex worker. But there is a problem with that term, because while it was adopted in goodwill, traffickers have taken it and essentially said, “Okay, if it’s work like any other, somebody has to do it.” In Nevada, there was a time when you couldn’t get unemployment unless you tried sex work first. The same was true in Germany. So the state became a procurer because of the argument that sex is work like any other. This is not a good thing. I also do not feel proud when I stand in the Sonagachi, the biggest brothel area in all of South Asia. It’s in Kolkata, and everything is written in Bengali except “SEX WORK.” And the term is used in various sinister ways by sex traffickers, who even describe what they do — which is to kidnap or buy people out of villages — as “facilitated migration.” I’ve only ever met one woman who actually was a prostitute of her own free will. She didn’t have a pimp. She could pick and choose her customers. That’s so rare. So we have to look at the reality and not romanticize it. We have to be clear that you have the right to sell your own body but nobody has the right to sell anybody else’s body. No one has that right.

„You can compel love, actually, if somebody is isolated and dependent — it’s like the Stockholm syndrome. But you can’t compel laughter. It happens when two things come together and make a third unexpectedly.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: There were never that many women stand-up comics in the past because the power to make people laugh is also a power that gets people upset. But the ones who were performing were making jokes on themselves usually and now that’s changed. So there are no rules exactly but I think if you see a whole group of people only being self-deprecating, it’s a problem. But I have always employed humor, and I think it’s absolutely crucial that we do because, among other things, humor is the only free emotion. I mean, you can compel fear, as we know. You can compel love, actually, if somebody is isolated and dependent — it’s like the Stockholm syndrome. But you can’t compel laughter. It happens when two things come together and make a third unexpectedly. It happens when you learn something, too. I think it was Einstein who said he had to be careful when he shaved because if he thought of something suddenly, he’d laugh and cut himself. So I think laughter is crucial. Some of the original cultures, like the Dalit and the Native American, don’t separate laughter and seriousness. There’s none of this kind of false Episcopalian solemnity.

„The Arab Spring did a great deal for women because the person who spread the word in the first place was a woman. Women participated in it; they were fully out there in the street.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: The Arab Spring did a great deal for women because the person who spread the word in the first place was a woman. Women participated in it; they were fully out there in the street. Nawal El Saadawi is a founding figure of Egyptian and Middle Eastern feminism who wrote a book opposing female genital mutilation (of which she is a victim). She’s been banned. She’s been in prison. She’s now in her eighties and during the Arab Spring she was like the wise woman of Liberation Square, sitting in the middle of it as young women and young men came to her for instruction, for blessings, and so on. But it’s very often the case with revolutionary moments that women are present but then they’re drummed out of it afterwards.

Publicité

„Look, you didn’t leave your party. The party left you.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: I think feminists and progressive Democrats err when they accusingly say to Republican women, “How can you be a Republican?” Nobody responds to that. But if you say, “Look, you didn’t leave your party. The party left you. Let’s just look at the issues and see what they are and forget about party labels and vote for ourselves,” I think people would really respond.

„Logic has nothing to do with oppression.“

—  Gloria Steinem
Context: As the little boy said when asked if he wanted to be a lawyer like his mother, "Oh no, that's women's work." Logic has nothing to do with oppression. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), p. 367

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