interactions with gloria steinem!

I recently had the honor of dining with Gloria Steinem.

Yeah. It was an amazing opportunity and really highlighted how fortunate I am to have the chance to go to a school that attracts/ can afford such high profile personalities. Thanks Mom and Dad!

While I’m not especially well read on Ms Steinem (I did find her Op Ed in the New York Times quite compelling) I wasn’t especially impressed with her speech. It lacked direction, and I felt frustrated during the question and answer session; it seemed as though Steinem either wasn’t answering the questions posed to her or was doing so in a round about way.
She definitely did have some lovely sound bites, and is funny. (Plus I loved hearing her curse+ seeing her reaction to the 16 year old feminist’s use of WTF -Crystal, what’s her name and how do I volunteer to be her mentor/friend?) But generally i felt like it was very intro to women’s studies/ cotton candy feel good feminism.
There were two incidents that particularly bothered me.
Gloria’s speech was generally very positive, and she spoke at length about the connections between racism and sexism. I would have hoped that she would extend this uniting attitude toward a fellow feminist such as Maureen Dowd, but rather undermined her intelligence, suggesting that she had shoulder pads between her ears! Very disappointing.
At dinner, for which Ms Steinem was tired, (I don’t blame her! What a tour schedule!) Michelle Tea’s visit to Tulane and work came up, and Gloria seemed very interested until I mentioned Michelle Tea’s sex work and her graphic novel about it. (Rent Girl, I’d recommend both it and Valencia) Ms Steinem was of the opinion that prostitution can in no way be empowering. I understand that this is a common view, but the prospect of disagreeing with such a feminist rock star face to face in a personal conversation was both exciting and heartbreaking.

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