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Birthday-girl crush: America's most iconic feminist trailblazer

Mar. 25, 2017
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Today marks Gloria Steinem’s 82nd birthday--the perfect occasion to celebrate a woman seen by many as the mother of feminism. Gloria Steinem is a feminist activist, journalist, and lecturer who became recognized as a leader for the feminist movement from the late 1960s through the early 1970s. But the most inspiring thing about Gloria? At the age of 82 years old, she is still fighting at the forefront of the feminist battle.

Gloria Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio, and after graduating high school she attended Smith College in Massachusetts and studied government. She began her professional career by becoming a journalist and moving to New York. Gloria had a difficult time getting assigned serious political stories due to her gender, but in 1968 she finally landed a job as a founding editor at New York Magazine.   

(image source unknown)

Not only was she a co-founder of New York--she also was the co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC). This organization helped to get more women into political offices and boost the women’s rights movement. But, of course, Gloria Steinem did not stop there. She continued to push boundaries and advocate for women’s rights throughout the years, and in 1971 she co-founded Ms. Magazine, which was “the first U.S. magazine to feature prominent American women demanding the repeal of laws that criminalized abortion, the first to explain and advocate for the ERA, to rate presidential candidates on women's issues, and to put domestic violence and sexual harassment on the cover of a women's magazine.” This magazine was revolutionary, as it gave a feminist worldview to the public, and the magazine continues to advocate women’s rights to this day. 

Even as she battled and overcame cancer in the 1980s, Gloria continued to actively advocate for what what she believed in. She is currently working on a book titled Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered, which is about her thirty-plus-year-long journey on the road. In her powerful speech at the Women’s March on Washington this January, Gloria boldly said: “We are at one with each other, we are looking at each other, not up. No more asking daddy. We are linked. We are not ranked. And this is a day that will change us forever because we are together.”

(image via Tara Todras-Whitehill for Abortion and Life)

Gloria is a spunky individual who never misses an opportunity to challenge the misogynistic society that we currently live in. A prime example of this is in an interview in 2012 when she explained how she loves to take derogatory words people attack her with and use them to empower herself. She did this when someone called her “a slut from Toledo,” and she retorted with, “Yeah, that’s a pretty good thing to be. I want it on my tombstone: ‘Here lies the slut from Toledo.’” GET ‘EM, GIRL.

So let’s celebrate this amazing, bold, and wonderful woman who is never afraid to challenge the status quo and is adamant about fighting for women’s rights. We can all learn a thing or two from Gloria Steinem. Especially that you can still be a badass feminist at the age of 82. 

(image via Shutterstock; header photo via The New Yorker)

Cheers, Gloria Steinem!