|(Photo: Ms. Foundation)|
Yes, that’s Gloria Steinem at work at Ms., the feminist magazine she and a dedicated crew (see picture below) founded more than 40 years ago. Hers was one of the stories featured in Makers: Women Who Make America, the PBS documentary on the last 50 years of the women’s movement that aired earlier this week. (If you missed it you can watch it online; here’s the PBS link.) The New York Times review dubbed Gloria the star. But now she's off to the next frontier.
The Early Women's MovementThere were many women who spoke out and fought for women’s equality during that early period. Gloria was the soft spoken and methodical one who believed "if we just explained it (sexism) to people, that it was so unjust, that surely it would change." And she continues speaking out today making sure that younger generations of women understand the past so they can build better futures for themselves and the world.
There are still battles to be fought and won—or in some cases won again. (Currently, there are campaigns to remake abortion illegal and to deny women birth control.) And, there is a new quiet but insidious “ism” that when combined with sex discrimination denies women their rightful place in the world. Of course, we're talking about ageism.
Sexism and now AgeismGloria, speaking at the last Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS), told the audience, “I’m 78. Telling your real age is the new coming out.” The women who broke down one barrier are ready to take on the next even if they are no longer in their 20s and 30s.
|Ms. Magazine 40th Anniversary Reunion, Photo Courtesy of Mary Kay Blakely|
How many of us are timid about revealing our age? Does that reticence suggest denial and a fear of being disregarded? If we don’t own our age, does that in some way contribute to the ongoing discrediting of older people? How can we in our second lives change the defeating and demoralizing myths about chronological age? Here's a quote from another iconic magazine (Vogue) editor, Diana Vreeland, “I shall die very young…70, 80, or 90. But I shall die very young.”
You can hear Gloria Steinem talk about aging at a TEDx Women conference in 2011. It will make you "happy" about getting older.