Gloria Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem was born into a poor, Jewish family living in the slums of Toledo, Ohio on March 25, 1984.  She and her parents traveled the country in their house trailer, spending their summers at their resort in Michigan, until her mother and father divorced.  Gloria had to move in with her mentally ill mother to take care of her.  Her mother had developed depression after she had to give up her career as a successful newspaper columnist and editor when she got married.  Gloria also had another active woman in her family- her grandmother.  Gloria's grandmother was a suffragist and she helped get the right for women to vote.  At age ten, Gloria had to take on the role of a mother, going shopping and keeping house.  She found a way to vent out her emotions through tap dancing.  She hoped her dancing ability would get her out of Ohio and away from her unfortunate childhood.  While she attended high school, she had dreams of becoming a Rockette in New York City.  Gloria had many friends and was elected vice president of her graduating class her senior year.  She had earned good grades and was accepted into college.  She moved in with her older sister Susan who lived in Washington D.C. and attended Smith College, a school for women, in the fall of 1952.  She earned a degree in government and won a scholarship for two years to study in India on a Chester Bowles Asian Fellowship.  While Gloria was in England she learned she had become pregnant from her college boyfriend.  Abortions being illegal at this time, Gloria knew she would not be able to get an abortion in America.  While in England, she searched for a doctor who would perform this and she returned to the states without anyone knowing what she had done until fifteen years later.  When she returned, she wrote about her experiences in a guidebook called, A Thousand Indias.  After two years of searching for work, she finally got a job with Help! magazine.  In 1962 she wrote "The Moral Disappointment of Betty Coed," her first article to be published, it appeared in Esquire magazine.  She was soon contributing articles for several other magazines more frequently.  Gloria began writing a column for New York magazine called, "The City Politic."  Her writings were considered to be moderately good, easy to read and understand.  In 1963, Gloria wanted to write an article portraying how women are exploited as sex symbols and she wanted to investigate the women who were featured in Playboy Magazine.  In order to this, however, she would have to act as a playboy bunny herself for three weeks.  Gloria posed nude for the magazine and earned herself a notorious reputation.  The article, was not as successful as she had hoped it would be.  With the help of Betty Frieden and Bella Abzug in July of 1971, Gloria founded the National Women's Political Caucus.  In 1972 Gloria founded Ms. magazine.  Ms. is a women's magazine that contained a range of articles about women's issues and everything else imaginable.  Gloria began to focus her attention on the Equal Rights Amendment.

Recently, Gloria has written several more books and spoken many more times.  Her books include Revolution from Within, in 1992, and Morning Beyond Words, in 1994.  In 1997 she spoke out against the movie, "The People vs. Larry Flynt," in a New York Times editorial.  Recently also, she and Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, were inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editor's Hall of Fame.

Gloria Steinem is a leading spokeswoman of the feminist movement.  In her lifetime, she participated in nonviolent protests, marches, political campaigns, wrote articles and books, and publicly spoke out about women's rights.  She is a role model for all women in America and an inspiration to all.

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