Gloria Steinem

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Gloria Marie Bale (Steinem)

Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Toledo, OH, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Leo Steinem and Ruth Steinem
Widow of David Howard Bale
Sister of <private> Steinem

Occupation: Writer, journalist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gloria Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure. her parents divorced, leaving Steinem to live the next several years with her mother in bitter poverty. Steinem had a traumatic childhood. Her mother suffered from depression so severe that she eventually became incapacitated, required young Steinem to care for her.

Steinem was born to an antique dealer and a newspaperwoman. She was the granddaughter of the noted suffragette, Pauline Steinem. Given her family's background, it was not surprising that she became a feminist and a journalist. But her life followed a winding path which began in her youth, when she travelled around the country with her parents in a trailer. With all this traveling, Steinem did not attend school on a regular basis until she was 11.

Around this time her parents divorced, leaving Steinem to live the next several years with her mother in bitter poverty. Her mother suffered from depression so severe that she eventually became incapacitated, required young Steinem to care for her. At the age of 15 she went to live with her sister, ten years her senior, in Washington, D.C., and from there she entered Smith College where she studied government, a non-traditional choice for a woman at that time. It was clear early on that she did not want to follow the most common life path for women in those days—marriage and motherhood.

After finishing her degree in 1956, Steinem received a fellowship to study in India. She first worked for Independent Research Service and then established a career for herself as a freelance writer. One of her most famous articles from the time was a 1963 expose on New York City's Playboy Club for Show magazine. Steinem went undercover for the piece, working as a waitress, or a scantily clad "bunny" as they called them, at the club. In the late 1960s, she helped create New York magazine, and wrote a column on politics for the publication. Steinem became more engaged in the women's movement after reporting on an abortion hearing given by the radical feminist group known as the Redstockings. She expressed her feminist views in such essays as "After Black Power, Women's Liberation."

In 1971 Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, in forming the National Women's Political Caucus, which worked on behalf of women's issues. She also took the lead in launching the pioneering, feminist Ms magazine. It began as an insert in New York magazine in December 1971; its first independent issue appeared in January 1972. Under her direction, the magazine tackled important topics, including domestic violence. Ms. became the first national publication to feature the subject on its cover in 1976.

As her public profile continued to rise, Gloria Steinem faced criticism from some feminists, including the Redstockings, for her association with the CIA-backed Independent Research Service. Others questioned her commitment to the feminist movement because of her glamorous image. Undeterred, Steinem continued on her own way, speaking out, lecturing widely, and organizing various women's functions. She also wrote extensively on women's issues. Her 1983 collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, featured works on a broad range of topics from "The Importance of Work" to "The Politics of Food."

In 1986, Steinem faced a very personal challenge when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to beat the disease with treatment. That same year, Steinem explored one of America's most iconic women in the book Marilyn: Norma Jean. She became a consulting editor at Ms magazine the following year after the publication was sold to an Australian company.

Steinem found herself the subject of media scrutiny with her 1992 book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem. To some feminists, the book's focus on personal development to be a retreat from social activism. Steinem was surprised by the backlash, believing that a strong self-image to be crucial to creating change. "We need to be long-distance runners to make a real social revolution. And you can't be a long-distance runner unless you have some inner strength," she explained to People magazine. She considers the work to be "most political thing I've written. I was saying that many institutions are designed to undermine our self-authority in order to get us to obey their authority," she told Interview magazine.

Steinem had another collection of writings, Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender, published in 1994. In one of the essays, "Doing Sixty," she reflected on reaching that chronological milestone. Steinem was also the subject of a biography written by another noted feminist Carolyn G. Heilbrun entitled Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem.

In 2000, Steinem did something that she had insisted for years that she would not do. Despite being known for saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, Steinem decided to get married. She wed David Bale, an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale. At the age of 66, Steinem proved that she was still unpredictable and committed to charting her own path in life. Her wedding raised eyebrows in certain circles. But the union did not last long. Bale died of brain cancer in 2003. "He had the greatest heart of anyone I've known," Steinem told O magazine.

When Steinem turned 75 in 2009, the Ms. Foundation suggested ways for others to celebrate Steinem's birthday. It called on women to engage in outrageous acts for simple justice. Around this time, Steinem discussed some of the pressing issues of the day. "We've demonstrated that women can do what men do, but not yet that men can do what women do. That's why most women have two jobs—one inside the home and one outside it—which is impossible. The truth is that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it," Steinem told the New York Daily News.

Steinem continues to work for social justice. As she recently said, "The idea of retiring is as foreign to me as the idea of hunting."

Source: Downloaded from Wikipedia circa 2010.

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Gloria Steinem's Timeline

March 25, 1934
Toledo, OH, USA