Beyond Playboy: The Early Career of Gloria Steinem

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 14th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

In the struggle for women's rights which stems well over a century, some women made great strides in changing the social mores of the day. The plight of the poor is an ongoing topic in women’s issues and women’s rights. Today will examine the life and work of Gloria Steinem.

Playboy bunny

In 1963, Gloria was working for Huntington Hartford's Show Magazine, and took an assignment, that required her to work as a playboy bunny in order to get her scoop on the life of a bunny. She wrote an expose about the exploitation of women in this industry and regretted having written it at the time. She found her offers to write assignments had dried up at the magazine because of it. (Gloria even posed as a Bunny for her research).

Gloria was very concerned with female exploitation, she saw men using women for their own sexual pleasures and beyond that it seemed to be a cultural norm. - Clearly it was evident that sex sold! Even back then nobody wanted to challenge the Hefner empire.

Note: How often have you seen women posing against a car ad? This is to lure the man into purchasing the car, the idea being if he has a sporty looking car he will get the beautiful and sexy girl. Of course they don't say that but the inference is there and the car manufacturers are expecting males to think that way to sell their cars.

Gloria Steinem's Early Career

Gloria Steinem's Early Career

Gloria felt that women were being objectified, not treated like women but like sex objects. This was why she went undercover to do the playboy bunny expose in the first place.

Sex sold cars, it sold merchandise, and it treated the women caught up in the sex trade as merchandise as well.

Some feminists of the era went as far as saying the Miss America and other beauty pageants were objectifying women, having them parade around in swim suits while very little focus was put on the woman's brain.

The focus on sex and body size gave way to serious cultural issues still plaguing us today; such as eating disorder and the social alienation of young women who were not the perfect size. The essence of womanhood was lost in the frenzy; her soul, her mind, her life force was not valued. All that was important was that she have a pretty face and a sexy body. In some cases she didn't even have to have the pretty face, just as long as she had the sexy body.

Gloria had strong views and later after she reflected upon the bunny experience and her job at Huntington Hartford's Show Magazine she was glad that she had worked there.

In 1968, Gloria Steinem took a job at Felker's New York Magazine and by 1972, she had co founded MS Magazine. Steinem did not like the idea that a woman's marital status was declared in the title Mrs. or Miss, men had one designation, Mr. No one knew if they were married or not, and so she coined the term MS that way no one would know if the woman was married or not.

There was a social stigma at the time which still lingers today, where older spinsters, the term used at the time, as well as the more derogatory "old maid" was attached to a woman who had never married. No such derogatory term was attached to a man; a bachelor was good, a spinster or old maid was not. Gloria Steinem saw that as pure sexism as well as a double standard.

Gloria Steinem's Early Journalism Career

Gloria Steinem's Early Journalism Career

Ms Magazine became a regular feature of New York Magazine and Felker put up the funding for its first issue. Ms Magazine's first issue was a huge success and within three weeks it was sold out.

Note: That just goes to show you how woman were craving for this new women's liberation movement and its teachings.

Gloria continued to write for MS Magazine until it was sold in 1987, after which, she remained on the advisory board. In 2001, the magazine was sold yet again, and is now called the Feminist Majority Foundation and Gloria continued to serve as an adviser.

The media proclaimed Gloria Steinem to be the leader of the feminist movement and Gloria become a political activist as well as a journalist. In 1971, she had co founded both the National Women's Political Caucus and the Women's Action Alliance. Gloria was also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

In 1974 Steinem co founded the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

In 1993 Gloria Steinem was inducted in the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Despite battling breast cancer and trigeminal neuralgia in the 1980's and 1990's Gloria still remained active. She co founded Choice USA that provides support for young women who are grappling with abortion issues. Her stance has always been that women should have the right to choose if they want to carry the pregnancy to term or not.

Note: Many women are against abortion and that is fine. However, the point is that women should always have the choice to decide for themselves on this issue. Women should have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies. Some external force that knows very little about each woman's unique situation should not decide such a personal and life changing issue. Blanket laws in personal situations do not apply very well. As far as religion, women are free to decide according to their religion or not. This is all part of the women's lifestyles and their personal convictions.

To be continued

Previous Link
Gloria Steimen and her Early Years

All photos taken from the public domain
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Betty Friedan, Family Impressions, Family Life, Feminism, Feminist, Gloria Steinem, Parental Values, Playboy Magasine, Playboyfeminists, Sex Trade

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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