tv Book Discussion on Gloria Steinem CSPAN January 3, 2016 6:00pm-7:21pm EST
>> good evening, everybody. thank you all so much for coming out and braving the rainy evening here. i'm lissa muscatine, one of the co-owners of politics & prose bookstore. thank you, thank you. [applause] as you know, we have a very treasured, in our view, and long, wonderful partnership with our friends here at sixth and i. we host some of our favorite author events in this beautiful, beautiful space, and so i just want to thank esther and jackie and all of the people here. so, please, give them a hand. [applause] they are doing an incredible job with this wonderful, wonderful space, and we share with them a real mission to strengthen and build our community here in d.c. it's such a pleasure to host gloria steinem this evening.
as you know, she'll be talking about her new book, "my life on the road." we were counting up her previous books, we think this is her seventh, but it sort of depends how you count. in any case, she's very prolific, obviously. and once you read this, i'm sure you're going to find it as compelling and engaging as her writing always is. now, to do a proper introduction of gloria steinem would take up the entire hour, which i don't think you want me to do. and that's because of the number of causes she's championed, the advocacy groups she's conceived and nurtured, the articles and essays and books she's written, speeches she's given, campaigns she's organized, magazines she's launched and the awards she has won. so i'm just going to mention a few of the top highlights. i think everybody in the room knows she was the co-founder of ms. magazine in 1972 and its editor for many years.
[applause] she founded the national women's political caucus, so if you're old enough, you'll know that was one of the first politically-centered advocacy groups for women. and in 2013, and this is pretty amazing and totally deserved, she received the nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom, and it was awarded by president obama. [applause] perhaps less quantifiable but no less important is the sheer impact of her words and ideas on the political and social discourse of our country over more than five decades. [applause] in her new book, "my life on the road," it's really one story told through many stories about her life's journeys -- and i say journeys, not journey, on purpose -- the roads she's traveled, the people she's met, the books she's read, the ideas she's considered from an itinerant childhood to her eventual discovery of what a real home means, and that was
fairly late in life. she's, of course, a wonderful writer, a superb storyteller and a woman whose willingness to speak truth to power has given backbone over half a century to fight for the rights of women, people of color, the poor, children and pretty much everyone on society's margins. [applause] like many of you in the audience tonight, i suspect, i grew up on ms. magazine, and thanks to gloria steinem, i have proudly labeled myself a feminist ever since. [applause] and i know that i'm not alone, gloria, in very deeply appreciating that you have literally spent your entire life giving voice to the aspirations and ambitions of hundreds of millions of women worldwide and, by extension, their families, their communities, their countries and really all of us. so thank you so much for being such an inspiration. tonight gloria will be in conversation with another of our nation's most influential advocates and activists, maxine waters. [applause]
now in her 13th term in the u.s. house of representatives and representing a diverse and fascinating distribute in south central los angeles, congressman waters has earned a reputation for being fearless, outspoken, relentless and, above all, effective. she was an unstoppable agent of change, and i remember this, i grew up in california, during more than a decade in the california state assembly where she fought for the divestment of state pension funds from south africa and worked to protect affirmative action. she's been the same determined leader in congress and in the national democratic party, a true champion of equality and social justice. and if you've had a chance already to read the book, you'll learn that maxine waters and gloria steinem actually first crossed paths at a seminal event back in 1977, the national women's conference in houston. let's just say the world has never been the same since and
for the better. so please join me in welcoming gloria steinem and congressman maxine waters. [cheers and applause] [applause] [laughter] >> well, this is the beginning of another book, is all i can say. [laughter] you have to promise me, do you all know each other in this room? i feel that, i mean, there's so many people i know and maxine
knows, and we're, we have to organize tonight, all right? [cheers and applause] we're going to talk for a bit, but half the time belongs to you. so this is, you know, trouble is going to result from the fact that we are together tonight. [laughter] but this is a conversation. so, max seep. maxine. >> well, gloria and i have a lot to talk about, but we can't talk about it in front of all of you. [laughter] gloria steinem changed my life. i met her in 1977, as was said, at that wonderful conference that we had in houston. i'd never seen anybody like gloria steinem and bella abzug. and bella was one of gloria's dearest friends in life. she loved her so much.
and bella shouted at her all the time. [laughter] and i finally said to gloria, why do you let her talk to you that way? and gloria said, this is the way we talk to each other in new york. [laughter] >> no, i remember that so clearly, because maxine -- we did not know each other -- and bella really was shouting at me, you know? if you nobel la, you knew -- know bella, you knew that she just shouted at you, and you waited until she finished, and you explained why you did it, and then she'd say, well, maybe you were right. [laughter] and i could see maxine looking appalled. and i did say this is just the way we talk in new york. which isn't actually true, but i was trying to comfort her. [laughter] >> and so, you know, at the conference many of us were there not knowing what we were supposed to do and how we were supposed to do it. and so as a few days went by, we
started to try and organize, and i got involved with organizing the minority caucus, and we said we had a lot to say, but we didn't really know how to write it. so gloria was drafted to write everything for everybody. and we dictated to her much of what we wanted to say. and be not only did i get -- and not only did i get a chance to do the preamble as the book states, you know, to the minority plank, but the most wonderful thing was following that she asked me to join the board of ms. foundation. and i did. and i was a member of the california state assembly at that time. and all of the ideas that i had about trying to create opportunities for women, becoming a feminist, i took those ideas to the california state legislature, and i was able to get many of them signed into law. and one that i'll just share
with you was at the time that i was in the california state assembly, insurance companies would not pay for the build-up after mastectomies. they said it was cosmetic surgery. i was a feminist, i wasn't going more that. and so because of my being able to serve on the board and witness all of these proposals that came in unsolicited, i learned to move on things like that. and, of course, i had it signed into law. but my life changed because of gloria steinem. i met so many different people x gloria was -- and gloria was, you know, i'd not met such a woman before in my life. and here was this woman who was young, who i thought should have been a model, and here she was organizing and working, and she was way outside of the box. she was dating a black man --
[laughter] and so -- [laughter] and so we had these wonderful, wonderful times together, and we reminisced a lot about what we were going to do later on in life. and here we are later on in life -- [laughter] and we have not organized a village yet where we're all going to end up staying. but this book, this book that gloria has written really does tell you who she is, what she cares about and the experiences that she's had. it's wonderful reading. i won't tell you any more or say much more about it except gloria doesn't know what impact she had on my life in so many ways. and the stories she told, i remember them all. and when i read about her mother in this book, it was just like talking to gloria all over
again, and she explained to me what had happened in her life with her mom. so thank you, gloria. >> no, thank you. and, you know, maxine b has always been in the forefront. we haven't planned this conversation, right? but just now i was thinking about your struggle in california to keep the cops from doing internal searches of women -- >> that's right. >> -- they stopped for traffic reasons. >> that's right. >> right? and there was just such another story in the press from another state. but what we have discovered about the mistreatment of women, what we, what black lives matter is saying, what, you know, maxine has always been there. and if any other woman wins the presidency --
[laughter] [applause] it will be because maxine and barbara lee and barbara mikulski and, you know, all of the people who have been out there proving that women can be respected in authority in public life, it will be because all of those women -- and maxine especially in so many ways -- have demonstrated that women's authority in public life is okay, is normal, is good, is positive. because otherwise i think we're so used to seeing women only in child rearing. women too, you know? we associate female authority with nurturing and emotion and things inside the home. we see male authority as rational and appropriate to affairs outside the home. and, you know, i think that's part of the reason that it's hard for some women to -- and
especially for men. i think about it when i see the, some of the grown-up guys on television saying ridiculous things -- [laughter] about, well, i'm thinking about 2008 now when hillary clinton, you know, took all this shit, you know? [laughter] and the big, grown-up news guys were saying i cross my legs when i see her, she reminds me of my first wife waiting outside the alimony court. i mean, hello? and i think in a way they felt reyes, sirred to childhood -- regressed to childhood because that was the last time they thought they saw a woman in authority. so, you know, maxine has so helped to change that, to open to up a space for female talent of all kinds in public life. and i'm just so grateful for that. now, the problem is we don't get to see each other enough, so we
have to -- we're really here to see each other. [laughter] >> you know, as i've said, i started my trips to new york because of ms., and i met wonderful women. and i could recall -- i could, but i won't -- all of, many of the meetings that we had. talk about marlo thomas in those meetings. >> pray to be? >> i remember all of that, that gloria supported. we had some very, very talented women who were true feminists. and i want to tell you, you might be a little bit surprised, but for me to identify myself as a feminist back in the day, black women said, what are you talking about? you can't be a feminist. that's a white woman's thing. [laughter]
>> that's so wrong. to me, black women invented feminism disproportionately. >> i know. [applause] i know, but all of that gets distorted. but i think people would like to hear about some of these trips. i had an opportunity to read part of the pressers here, and i think the story that you told about being in this place where the bikers -- uh-huh. oh, okay. all right. >> it's so wonderfully written. and it is so absolutely educational about how you must not think about people based on what you think you see. but if you just stop and talk with folks, you can learn an awful lot. could you share that? >> yeah. i think the road is my
substitute for meditation, you know? all my friends tell me that i should meditate mindfulness. i've taken courses. i never do it. [laughter] but i think that's partly because the road is my form of it. it forces you to live in the present. it forces you to be, you know, alive with all your senses and to question all your suppositions. so i will, i will read this, which is the prelude to the book, and then i have another section which is supposed to lead us into organizing. >> oh, okay. >> but we can wait for a while. [laughter] i board a plane for rapid city, south dakota, and see a lot of people in black leather, chains and tattoos. airline passengers usually look like where they're going; business suits to washington, d.c., jeans to l.a. but i can't imagine a convention of such unconventional visitors in rapid city. it's the kind of town where
people still angle park their cars in front of the movie palace. my bearded seat mate is asleep in his studded jacket and nose ring, so i just accept one more mystery of the road. at the airport i meet five female friends from different parts of the country. we are a diverse group of women; a cherokee activist and her grown-up daughter -- who's here, rebecca adamson, the cherokee activist, okay? [applause] two african-american writers and one musicianing and me. musician and me. we've been invited to a lacota sioux powwow, celebrating the powerful place that women held before patriarchy arrived from europe and efforts now to restore that place. as we drive towards the badlands, we see an acre of motorcycles around each isolated diaper and motel. this solves the mystery -- diner
and motel. this solves the mystery of the leather and the chains, but it creates another. when we stop for coffee, our waitress can't believe that we don't know. every august since 1938, bikers from all over the world have come here for a rally named after you are the secrecy -- sturgis, a town that's just a wide place in the road. they are drawn by the sparsely-populated space of forests, mountains and a grid of highways so straight that it is recognizable from outer space. right now about 250,000 bikers are filling every motel and campground within 500 miles. our band of six strong women takes note. the truth is, we are a little afraid of so many bikers in one place. how could we not be? we have learned from movies that the bikers travel in packs, treat women like possessions and may see other women as sexual
fair game. but we don't run into the bikers because we spend our days traveling down unmarked roads, past the last stand of trees in indian country. we eat home-cooked food brought in trucks, sit on blankets around powwow grounds where dancers follow the heartbeat of drums and watch indian ponies as decorated as dancers. when it rains, a rainbow stretches from can't see to can't see, and fields of wet sweet grass become as fragrant as gigantic flowers. only when we return late each night to our cabins do we see motorcycles in the parking lot. while walking in rapid city, i hear a biker say to his tattooed woman partner, honey, shop as long as you want, i'll meet you at the cappuccino place. [laughter] i assume this is an aberration.
[laughter] on our last morning, i enter the lodge alone for an early breakfast, trying to remain both inconspicuous and open minded. still, i'm hyperconscious of a room full of knife sheaths, jack boots and very few women. in the booth next to me, a man with chains around his muscles and a woman in leather pants and an improbable hairdo are taking note of my presence. finally, the woman comes over to talk. i just want to tell you, she says cheerfully, how much ms. magazine has meant to me over years. [applause] [applause] and my husband too. [laughter] he reads some now that he's retired. [laughter] but what i wanted to ask, isn't one of the women you're traveling with alice walker?
[laughter] i love her poetry. it turns out that she and her husband have been coming to this motorcycle rally every year since they were first married. she loves the freedom of the road and also the mysterious moonscape of the badlands. she urges me to walk there, but to follow the paths marked by ropes. during the war over the sacred black hills, she explains, lakota warriors found refuge there because the cavalry got lost every time. her husband says -- stops by on his way to the cashier and suggests i see the huge statue of crazy horse that's being dynamited out of the black hills. crazy horse riding his pony, he says, is going to make all those indian-killing presidents on mount rushmore look like nothing. [laughter] he walks away, a gentle, lumbering man, tattoos, chains
and all. before she leaves, my new friend tells me to look out the big picture window at the parking lot. see that purple harley out there? the big, gorgeous one? that's mine. i used to ride behind my husband and never took the road on my own. then after the kids were grown, i put my foot down. it was hard, but we finally got to be partners. now he says he likes it better this way. he doesn't have to worry about his bike breaking down or getting a heart attack and totaling us both. i even put ms. on my license plate. and you should see my grandkids' faces when grandma rides up on her purple harley. [laughter] on my own again, i look out at the barren sand and tortured rocks of the badlands, stretching for miles. i've walked there, and i know that close up the barren sand reveals layers of pale beige and
rose and cream. and the rocks turn out to have intricate, womb-like openings. even in the distant cliffs, caves of rescue appear. what seems to be one thing from a distance is very different close up. i the tell you this story -- i tell you this story because it's the kind of lesson that can be learned only on a road and also because i've come to believe that inside each of us has a purple motorcycle. we have only to discover it and ride. [applause] >> i love that! i love that! i love it. [applause] [laughter] i thought you'd enjoy that also. i loved it. but even more than the actual
story of the lesson that's taught in the story, the way gloria writes is so wonderful. and the descriptive nature of her writing as she describes the landscape and all of those things is just so wonderful and easy reading. it's like, you know, you're talking to her. and so i know she had some other things that she wanted to read, but i really wanted you to hear that. [laughter] >> okay. well, shall i read my organizing thing, and then we can all start talking to each other? [applause] okay. all right. [inaudible conversations] all the years of campaigning have given me one clear message; voting isn't the most we can do, but it is the least. to have a democracy, you have to want one. still, i realized this fully only by looking back.
at the beginning of the 980s -- 1980s, i went to missouri to campaign for harriet woods in her u.s. senate race. i bet there are people here who remember harriet woods. [applause] she was a great candidate, and her path into politics was so improbable that no one could have made it up. as a mother of two young children, she complained about a noisy manhole cover that awakened them every time a car rolled over it. when she got nowhere with the city council, she circulated a neighborhood petition to close the street to cars. it worked. this success led her to run for the city council. she won, served eight years, got appointed to the state highway commission, ran a successful race for the state legislature and was reelected there too. all this made her a viable candidate statewide. sill, this was not -- still, this was not enough percent state democratic party.
that's going to sound familiar. when it came time to choose a primary candidate in the u.s. senate race, it backed a well-to-do banker who had never run for anything but who had written checks. but she turned out to have something more important than her party's blessing; community support and volunteers. she beat the rich guy 2-1. suddenly, harriet woods was many a race we republican senator john danforth. he was not only the incumbent, but a former attorney general of missouri, an ordain canned episcopal at least and the rich grandson of the founder of ralston pure arena. it was as if she were running against the entire patriarchy. [laughter] when i went to campaign for her, i could see that all new feminist electoral groups were working their hearts out. and they were volunteering in her statewide campaign.
though missouri was often counted as an anti-choice state, woods refused to budge from her support for reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right. in the end, she won in rural republican areas anyway, including one so conservative that it was known as little dixie. but in the final week, she had run out of money and couldn't answer the last minute storm of virulent attacks. she lost by less than 2% of the vote. it was so clear that she could have won with money to answer those last minute attacks that her race inspired the founding of emily's list. [applause] and this pac weapon on to a-- went on to attract three million members and become one of the biggest in the nation as well as the single biggest resource for women in politics.
but danforth did win. he took with him to washington an african-american lawyer named clarence thomas. [laughter] who had been working for monsanto, the agri chem call giant that gave us -- chemical giant that gave us agent origin, genetically-engineered seeds and more. indeed, danforth got him that job too. as danforth explained, he was very aracketted to thomas not -- attracted to thomas not only because he was a rare african-american conservative, but also because he, too, had it'ded to be a priest -- studied to be a priest. in his case, a catholic priest. all this happened decades ago, yet the impact of her loss by a few hundred votes goes on. you don't believe me, flash forward to the morning after the 2000 bush v. gore presidential election.
with national results hanging by the thread of a few thousand disputed votes in florida. i just happened to be speaking at palm beach county community college that morning. its campus just happened to be in a poor area and, therefore, a democratic area. and i could see that nobody wanted to talk about anything but the election that was hanging by a thread that morning. a young african-american woman rose to say that she had registered to vote by phone, then been challenged by her polling place because caucasian had been printed next to her name. she never did get to vote. an older african-american man said he had been denied the right to vote because he was told he had a felony conviction, yet he'd never been accused of a crime much less convicted. someone shouted out, yes, you have, it's called voting while black. amid the laughter, another man
rose to explain that names with felonies had been merged with voter rolls without checking if more than one person shared the same name. then an older white woman said the bus from her retirement home had been sent to the wrong polling place. others testified that polling places were fewer and lines were longer in poor and more democratic areas. people had given up because they were hourly workers who lost pay they weren't at their jobs. then a white man of 50 or so said he'd seen the illustration of the ballot box only on the way out and realized he had accidentally voted for an extreme right-wing candidate when he thought he was voting for al gore. painful memories. [laughter] that caused a dozen more people to groan and shout that this had also happened to them. out of approximately 700 people in that one auditorium, at least
100 had been unable either to vote for their chosen candidate or to vote at all. i wondered if there are this many in one auditorium, how many in all of palm beach county? be how many in all -- how many in all the state of florida? finally, a white man of 30 or so rose to face me. in the name of his military service to his country, he said -- and also in the name of his young daughter, whom he wanted to grow up in a democracy -- he asked, will you stay and help us organize a protest tomorrow? and the next day and the next? whatever it takes? i could feel a deep pull to say, yes. yet i thought my presence might be used to call this a rebellion instigated by an outsider. instead i promised to take the name, address and polling place of everyone who had not been able to vote at all or who had voted for a candidate they didn't know they were voting for
and give them to lawyers for gore as well as nonpartisan watchdogs outside the state. i went home, i called the election lawyers, i delivered the list as promised. when bush's lead was down to a mere 537 votes out of six million cast, the reexamination of ballots was stopped, florida's secretary of state -- katherine harris, also the co-chair of bush's florida campaign -- declared bush the winner. calls for a recount were deafening and supported by the florida supreme court. however, the u.s. supreme court ruled 5-4 that there was no uniform recount standard to meet the equal protection clause and no time to create one. it was a decision that would be compared with the dred scott decision, the 19th century supreme court ruling that no black person, slave or free,
could ever become a citizen of the united states more its impact -- for its impact and for its clear bias. now, remember more want of a nail -- for want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost, for want of a horseshoe, the horse was lost, for want of a horse, the battle was lost and so on? this partial should be the mantra of -- parable should be the mantra of anyone who thinks his or her vote doesn't count. if harriet woods hadn't been defeated by less than 2% of the votes in missouri, canforth wouldn't -- danforth wouldn't have been a u.s. senator. if danforth hadn't been a senator, clarence thomas wouldn't have come with him to washington as a taffe member. if -- as a staff member. if thomas hadn't been visible in washington as a rare african-american who opposed his community's majority views, he wouldn't have been appointed by the first president bush to head and to disempower the equal
>> also the united states would not have falsified evidence to justify invading oil-rich iraq, thus starting an eight-year war and, together with afghanistan, convincing some in islamic countries that the united states was waging war on islam. without george w. bush, there would not be the biggest transfer of wealth into private hands in the history of this nation, a pay ratio in which the average ceo earns 470 times more than the average worker.
in canada it's only 20 times more. an executive order giving an estimated 40 billion in tax dollars to catholic, evangelical and other religious groups without congressional approval, often with the appearance of turning churches into a vote delivery system. without clarence thomas to supply the one-vote majority, the supreme court might not have ruled that corporations are people with the right to unlimited political spending in order to continue all of the above. well, you get the idea. the list goes on. we must not only vote, we must fight to vote. the voting booth really is the one place on earth where the least powerful and the most powerful are equal. i still dream about that veteran and his daughter. i so wish i had said yes.
i have no idea whether we in the room could have made a difference. in truth, we don't know which of our acts in the present will shape the future. but we have to behave as if everything we do matters, because it might. [applause] >> so questions, answers? let's see, we have two mics here, right? you can -- you don't have to ask a question, you can give, really, you can give us an answer. we could use answers. [laughter] you can make organizing announcements of any upcoming trouble-making meetings, things this group should know about.
[laughter] >> am i going first? [inaudible] [laughter] hi. my name's robin. i love -- [inaudible] so i do a lot of abortion storytelling work. i had an abox, i tell -- abortion, i tell a lot of people about it. kind of awkward, but -- [inaudible] i was wondering what your thoughts are on the new abortion-telling movement and what you would say, either of you, to women who have had abortions who are thinking about, you know, whether or not they can speak about it, whether they can tell their truth about that? >> no, i -- it's not my decision, it's their decision. and, it seems to me, political justice, social justice movements come out of telling
the truth as much as we possibly can. it was the issue that made me understand that we needed a women's movement, because i went to cover an abortion hearing before the supreme court ruling, and women were standing up and telling the stories of their abortions. and i had never told the story of mine. and, you know, it's one in three, as we all know, american women that's needed an abortion at some time in her life. it is, it's like the marriage equality movement. you know, it comes, it comes from telling the truth. respecting each other's choices, telling the truth, discovering you're not alone. do you want to address this, maxine? >> well, i can recall being a young girl in st. louis, missouri.
and, of course, all my friends about the same age, 16, 15, 17, 18, and girls were getting pregnant. and there was a midwife who was in across the bridge, as we called it, in illinois. and it became known through, you know, all of our communities that this is where you go in order to have your womb dilated by this midwife. and, of course, all of those girls would end up in the hospital infected and near death. but i've always wondered -- even though i was young -- why i didn't think something was unusual about that. and it was not until many years later, of course, when, you know, the feminist movement began to really help women to understand that they have a right to make choices and that
they have a right to good health care and all of that, that i thought about all of those young women -- some who al died, i'm sure, or were near death -- and we just considered that's just the way life is. we didn't rebel, we didn't talk about it, we didn't do anything. and so when the feminist movement began to really make this discussion take place in this country, i always felt a little bit guilty that i hadn't understood, you know, for so many years why women had the right to good health care, why didn't we have the right to good health care and why didn't we know that there was something awfully wrong with the way women were sneaking young girls to have abortion and putting their lives on the line. >> you know, i don't want to keep people standing, but it
occurs to me that i can't ask other people to do what i don't do, right? so i'll read you the dedication of this book. >> i've read it. >> dr. john -- this book is dedicated to dr. john sharp of london who in 1957, a decade before physicians in england could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman -- took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a 22-year-old american on her way to india, knowing only that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unphone -- unknown fate. you will not tell anyone my name, second, you will do what you want to do with your life. dear dr. sharp, i believe you -- who knew the law was unjust -- would not mine if i say this so long after your devaluate i've done the best i could with my life. this book is for you. [applause]
i'm just, i'm really reading you that just because it's true. i think we, i can't ask anybody else to tell the truth unless i have. >> that's right. >> right? okay. >> on a lighter note -- [laughter] i -- [inaudible] >> we can't hear you. >> by the name of bitsy -- [inaudible] i have known gloria for 61 years. >> oh. >> uh-oh. [laughter] >> i want to ask you whether you have been to london to meet my cousin, katherine mayer, the founder of the women's equality party for england. >> you mean, would i? >> have you met her? >> have i met her? no. but i obviously should.
[laughter] okay. >> i'm just saying hello to you. [applause] >> oh, okay. wow. i actually just, well, not super recently, but recently finished organizing in arkansas, and i have to totally vouch for what you said about bikers. i was collecting -- [inaudible] petition signatures before that actually passed in arkansas, and the bikers during the bike and barbecue thing that they have in fayetteville totally were into it. it was really unexpected, and it was great. actually not just a one-time thing about bikers. >> thank you. [laughter] >> but -- [inaudible] oh, my gosh. okay, that is what organizing is. but my real question is you hear a lot about war on women, you know, all of the crap that's going around right now. what is the one thing that you're most frustrated about not
having seen come to pass that you've worked for, and what's one of your most proudest achievements that has actually become passed? >> oh, that's hard. it's hard to pick one thing. i mean, collectively the thing that is the most crazy-making to me is that violence against females in all different forms whether it's son preference or honor killings or domestic violence in this country or forced pregnancies and child marriage, you know, violence against women many war zones, sexualized violence, all together it adds up to the fact that for the first time that we know of there are fewer females now on spaceship earth than males. and, you know, that -- whatever form it takes in our lives, i think, you know, i think we're
all becoming much more aware of that. now, if you asked me what is the thing i'm proudest of, that's really hard because i lev in the future -- live in the future. so when people ask me that, i always say i haven't done it yet. [laughter] [applause] >> so i am the president of my college's chapter more the association for -- for the association for women in mathematics, so we promote math. [applause] so we promote math, and we promote women, but we cannot post one thing without somebody saying, gee, if there's an association for women in mathematics, why isn't there an association for men in mathematics? what would you respond? [laughter] >> the association for men and mathematics is called mathematics. [applause] [laughter]
>> i have to anytime that i am so very -- admit that i am so very nervous right now. [laughter] >> don't be. we're so glad you're here. >> you both have been doing advocacy work for several decade, and i think the thing that stands out the most is that you've been able to push through -- [inaudible] in the '60s. and i'm just wondering through all these obstacles, were there moments when you were close to quitting or thought about quitting or considered it somehow, and -- [inaudible] >> close to quitting? >> uh-huh. >> every day. [laughter] >> and what kept you going? >> i said to to someone just today that if there's one thing that bothers me and probably motivates me to work is unfairness. i do not like people to be
treated unfairly. i really, truly believe in equality. i believe in respect for, you know, every human being. and i i am motivated to fight, you know, some of those evil spirits you see on tv. [laughter] [applause] every day of my life. >> yeah, i think actually what keeps me going is that the only thing worse than trying whether you succeed or not is not trying, and then you walk around wondering what if. maybe if i'd done this, it would have worked. it drives you crazy. so to better to try. so better to try. [applause] >> hi. my name is lee an. i'm going to read this, because i was nervous that i wouldn't have the courage to even ask the question. as a jewish feminist who
supports the liberation of the palestinian people, i've been really moved that you have spoken out in strong critique of the israeli government, and i would love to learn from you a little bit more about how you navigate your role as a jewish woman and a jewish feminist in a time in history when so much of our community is complicit in to presentation of the palestinian -- in the oppression of the palestinian people. [applause] >> you know, i haven't played a big role in the long-term difficulties and heart ache and oppression and, you know? mostly what i have done is tried to come together with women on all three sides and help there to be communication among women.
and what has always struck me is that the palestinian women and the israeli peace women and american feminists and so on, i mean, we worked out the two-state solution down to the last contract, the last agreement on water rights. [laughter] you know? like, 25 years ago. and i, the great sadness is that unlike, say, liberia where christian and muslim women came together and managed to get rid of a warlord regime and at least have a democratic election, and unlike ireland where women on both sides came together when governments couldn't, we, it hasn't, it hasn't happened. it hasn't happened. and it's a huge heartache. >> [inaudible]
i've been a fan of yours for a long, long time, so it's an honor for me to be able to address you tonight. i was wondering if you could speak a little bit about your essay, sex life in advertising, and talk a little bit about what the advertising world was like when -- [inaudible] >> uh-huh. yeah. the advertising is really such a huge problem in many ways, but especially in women's magazines, because women's magazines are regarded in the industry as cash cows. as they're called. and what that means is that the advertisers have traditionally controlled most of the magazine pages, and that's why you see copy that isn't supposed to be the ad that is about the product or the category of product. advertising has a lot of influence everywhere, but it has in my experience most influence in women's magazines.
some of us remember when there was fiction in poetry in women's magazines and more articles. the editors of those magazines are striving their best to sneak in, you know, some independent editorial, but it's very, very difficult. i think until we are willing to pay as subscribers and not be dependent totally on advertising income, that we are going to have this problem. you know the educational service online called ask linda, lynda.com? you can learn anything for, i don't know what, $25 a month? >> [inaudible] [laughter] and, you know, it's a populist educational institution, no ads at all. totally subscriber-supported. and it's been successful for 20
years. and lynda weinman, who started it, who has, you know, representative employee list, you know, everything you could possibly want, sheants to be helpful with the u.s. education problem, so she is, she sold the business for $2 billion. okay. it's possible that we can support what we want to support and, therefore, get what we want instead of being subject to ads that control what we see, control so much of what we see. >> well, let me just take a moment to tell you about a recent announcement, and it's a little bit strange. playboy just announced there will be no more naked women. [laughter] [applause] and gloria, as you know, helped brought them to this point, because she infiltrated playboy
many years ago. but what's interesting is the daughter of hugh hefner who we've known for many years who took over some part of the management of that magazine some years ago. i always thought that even though she kind of inherited that, that she wanted to do something better with the magazine, and i don't know if years later this is her decision to try and change the magazine. i don't know if it can be changed, but i thought it was an interesting occurrence that they decided no more naked women. >> well, you're a positive person, maxine. [laughter] i hope you're right. but what they said was that they were stopping this because there was so much pornography available everywhere, right? [laughter] and they were doing it for economic reasons. so somebody, you know, e-mailed me a query about it. i said, listen, it's like the
nra saying we're not selling handguns anymore because assault weapons are so available. [laughter] i hope she's right. [laughter] >> hi. thank you for this. this is incredible, and i'm a little bit shocked that i'm speaking to gloria steinem. so that's cool. >> just us here. just us chickens. [laughter] >> so much of what you've been talking about tonight has me thinking about the importance of knowing our history as feminists. and you also brought up the '08 elections, so i'm going to be that person that says what about 12016? -- 2016? looking back to 2008 i think a lot of people both in hillary's campaign and her supporters had some serious trouble talking about race, especially with barack obama. and looking forward to 2016, we could have another situation where hillary is in a general
election against another history-making man of color. so what lessons can we take from what went wrong in 2008 and apply to this possibility looking forward in this election? >> you know, if we could just never ask -- answer a question from a news reporter saying which is more important, sex or race. excuse me? most people in the world, most women are affected by both. i mean, it is impossible to uproot racism without uprooting sexism too, was to maintain racial difference you have to control reproduction. or it's like caste in india. it's the same thing. so i hope that no matter what happens we will be 100% clear that race and sex are intertwined, you can only uproot them together and absolutely refuse to answer stupid questions like which is more important. [applause] >> i'm old enough to love you
both. [laughter] i'm very curious about what it takes to achieve acceptance as being regular or odder mare. ordinary. years ago the word ms. didn't exist x now it's ordinary. and when i was growing up in the '50s in a small town in pennsylvania, on our talking table, you know, white family's house, we had life and better homes and gardens and ebony. so, that we got from doing going to the big city, cleveland, ohio. my mom and i went to the ebony fashion shows. so with the ticket she got a subscription to ebony, i got jet. i thought that was normal. i thought everybody probably had magazines at home that were different race people. so i've kind of grown up with people of different races being ordinary. i now see ms. as being
i'm sad it isn't being published anymore because from the time i was 12, i got to grow up with them. >> i like to think the most notable impact on my opinion is as a woman of color and. in the way that it's presented in the mainstream in the bushes that are being put forth mostly asking colleges for the issues that deemed to be solved is
needed when men were completely unprotected when assaulted both in terms of domestic violence. in some ways what is being put forth as the basis for a lot of the conversations excludes the issues that women just like me have to experience on a dalia basis. so it's hard sometimes to get people to understand the experiences are very broad so my question is how to understand that there tends to be gaps between the different racial and ethnic group and also to put that into action.
>> that you're standing up and saying it. [laughter] you're absolutely right that the focus is on colleges not indian country where the assault is way worse. we just have to keep reminding each other to be inclusive and it's not easy. the same competition is going on for instance because the rate of sexual assault and the famous rape in new delhi have to also include the fact that judges actually say.
it's always our task to be inclusive as we possibly can and to be reminded of being inclusive. do you have something that you want to have happened? >> to push the department of attorneys to actively prosecute the members that commits sexual assault on reservation and a second but would also be important is to not simply be about the known acquaintances that commits against women but to include a whole plethora of time on the reservations and also making sure the keystone pipeline isn't filled where they are brought to the reservations. [applause]
don't do what it means and it means anybody man or woman who leaves her. the problem in the first group is the word is still perceived as being anti-e-mail. it actually has a different meaning historically because if you be leaving the human potential and possibility so maybe people were adding to the fact that they were feminist and humanist. but i find it very painful whenever anybody who actually believes in the content doesn't use the word because i don't think people would say i'm not for civil rights.
>> do we focus on the labels >> the more that we say it and put it on shirts this is what it looks like. >> we have gone quite a distance. back in the day, we were bra-burners and all kind of things and that has changed. what i like about the possibility of revitalizing feminism is that young women like yourself have the opportunity to not only create more discussion, more organizing, more work, more involvement. and i'm convinced that is going
to happen and you will be dividing feminism and saying it loud and clear. >> i will get right on that. [laughter] [applause] >> we have time for two more questions. >> do you have any announcements, any organizing announcements? okay. any questions? >> i run a project called the humanitarian story project. our friend is on the advisory council as well as others. and i want to invite folks here to get involved. it's a project where men are getting up on college spaces
through the lens of their own life experience. and it is very much a feminist project and i'm finding up to code out it is an introspection project. so, please talk to me. and the question that i have for you is -- i'm also nervous. i'm curious on the role of women in bringing men into feminism and feminist activism because one of the things i have been finding in this project is that men come to the project and then i hear that they go back and they are reading about it and telling the man and calling their fathers on their way home and taking it upon themselves to spread the word and i found that interesting. so i am really curious to your sense that the role of advancing equal the people and also the
women's rule giving man into it and the project also is mensstoryproject.org. plus the >> we need to devise and i think say okay what would help me understand if i were on the other side. let's start there and use examples that they were talking to groups of men, also i think we all do talk about the restriction of both roles. they are developing the full circle of humanity and they may be in prison with carpeting and the people who serve but it is.
i always trick to start off by saying what i wish someone would say to me. there are great compassionate men against violence against women who are out there. they are jeopardizing the promotions doing so and my kid is in a play being told they don't have a fire in the belly that's proper. we see our interest in the other
person's liberation, too. >> i'm going to tell you a story of marlo thomas. asking where are my shoes. i think about how we relate to each other men and women and without understanding or thinking about it but the position of servitude we keep doing things that keep asking other actions. don't ask me about the appointment and where we are supposed to be. you think about that. [laughter]
it's become a burden. it is like what are we going to beat. i don't know what you're going to eat but i know what i said. and the soap i started to relieve myself of the responsibility to always think about taking care of others. you should like this every day way of allowing yourself to be dependent on in so many ways i think keeps us from helping them to become less respectful of our independence. [applause]
the >> we do what we see coming off, not what we are told. so the families we grow up in, do our kids see democratic families in which people don't have those kind of roles or do they not come army generally speaking okay it's okay to imitate the powerful group that's not the other way around so little girls may be raised more like little girls that are little girls being raised more so with the same freedom of expression and emotion. we can do this. >> that is a fantastic segue of what i was going at. i knew i would do to raise a strong and empowered girl in the world to understand all these things and i hope that you
country full consciousness of hillary clinton being president -- [inaudible] [laughter] [applause] you realize that ended than its normal. >> i was just thinking when you were saying that the old languages, the old cultures, the cherokee language from a lot of the old languages don't have gender. what a concept. so, the question is who is that child as a unique individual because that child is the result of a millennia upon millennia of heredity and environment in a
way that never could have happened before and could never happen again. so, if we try to see each kid is than we do have a range and i think sometimes the world is divided into kinds of people those that divide everything into those that don't. [laughter] we just have to cut that out and stop dividing everything into two. and it's made up. it's bullshit. [applause] but that is the big irony of where we are because on the one hand, gender doesn't exist, race doesn't exist, class doesn't exist. in real terms the individuals are bigger than the group difference, but we are born with
brains much smaller and 85% or something different with afterbirth and this makes us incredibly influence of old. the good news is that we are adjustable and the bad news is that we are adjustable to if we can keep a grip on these two things at the same time these categories don't exist but they are very real to us because we have grown up with them come and we have the fun of challenging them and stretching them every day trying to figure out who we are to support other people and they uniquely are and we are seeing this much more. gender is much more out of the window window than it ever was when i was growing up. people are changing gender --
okay. i'm going to stop there. but i'm so worried about what is going to happen tomorrow because we missed tonight. [laughter] you don't have to do anything to suggest, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do but if you came here i bet you shared interest and value and so if you try introducing yourself to three or four people and you don't know before you leave and say what you're doing and what you care about and what's coming up that needs help and who knows what might happen as a result of all of us being here tonight, who knows. this was a huge plate point of change. thank you. [applause]