In tribute to the insight and longevity of Gloria Steinem

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Gloria Steinem turned 90 years old last month. She is the oldest living feminist from an era when this was a sign of being a “serious woman.”

The thinking goes that unless you call yourself a feminist, people will send you back to the kitchen, forcibly impregnate you and hide your shoes. But that “I am woman, hear me roar” anthem singing is long past its heyday.

Gloria, however, is not. She has tried to remain relevant over the years by popping up and giving her opinion on various current events, like when Donald Trump was elected.

The day after the inauguration, she showed up at the Pink Hat Jamboree saying things like: “We are here and around the world for a deep democracy that says we will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections. We are at one with each other, we are looking at each other, not up. No more asking daddy.”

I was told that I stand on her shoulders, and should be grateful for the fact that she allowed me to practice law, write a syndicated column, open my own bank account, study abroad, and cut my meat into little pieces all by myself.

So I thought, OK, if this lady is so exceptional, I need to read more of what she’s said because that Pink Hat speech wasn’t all that impressive.

So I bought a commemorative book of her quotations, in order to absorb the genius that is Gloria. After all, she made my life possible, so I want to be able to reference her in my conversations with other people.

Here’s one quote that impressed me, given the fact that the iconic feminist is a huge booster of abortion rights: “Your daughters are watching you.”

My first reaction was: not if you’ve already aborted them, Gloria. My second reaction is unprintable.

Another quote, this one from a collection entitled “The Truth Will Set You Free But First It Will Piss You Off” was particularly compelling because of its absolute irony: “For women, the only alternative to being a feminist is being a masochist.”

The irony comes in the fact that feminism has actually destroyed the lives of so many women who were otherwise content to focus on one of the most important jobs of all: giving life, raising families, being the “goddess” of their own homes and beloved of their husbands. Note that I say “one of” the most important jobs.

There are many women who have never married, never had children and who chose to work outside of the home. Those choices are legitimate.

The problem came in the feminists’ assertion that staying home had no value, or that the value actually needed to be monetized in this market economy. The ability to bear a child was considered just another option, a hobby, an attribute of womanhood and not the greatest biological and spiritual gift that we have.

Another quote that I found particularly interesting was this: “If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?”

The brilliance in this lies in its simplicity, and absolute narcissism, which has often been a hallmark of second-wave feminism. Gloria is basically saying that if you don’t like the way that the world is structured, you should change it to fit your particular needs.

There is no sense that perhaps your needs aren’t that important, or that if they are, someone else’s needs might take precedence. There is this single-minded, and simple-minded idea that whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, regardless of the consequences.

I also think that this was an early portent of the trans movement, as in, if the gender doesn’t fit, let us change the pronouns. But I digress.

There are also her series of comments about men: “The surest way to be alone is to get married”, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle,” and my favorite “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

This is Steinem’s core belief: men are toxic.

This is also the principle that undergirds her type of feminism. Any man who calls himself a feminist is a man who looks in the mirror and cries.

I’d say that any man who calls himself a feminist is a man who deserves a woman like Gloria.

Steinem is an icon.

But I have realized that it’s not because she’s particularly clever.

It’s because anyone who can write this sort of stuff for this long without being laughed out of the room is pretty darn amazing.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)