Gloria Steimen and her Early Years

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 13th 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.

Gloria Steinem: The Woman, the Legend

I do not have many heroes. I was never a hero-worshiping kind of person, but if I had to chose, I would select my very first role model or hero per se. That person was Gloria Steinem.

Ir was an impressionable young girl and Gloria planted an impression on me that would last remain with remain with me for the rest of my life. . My views on womanhood and our rightful place in society is owed to Gloria Steinem. Another person who gave me additional learning and understanding of womanhood was to Ada Sinacore, my feminist university professor at McGill University in Montreal.

So now in this women's issues series we will focus on Gloria Steinem.

Note: Before starting the series tI actually surprised to find that many women of my age group have expressed that they never heard of Betty Friedan, however,I believe that more people have heard of Gloria Steinen.

Gloria Steinem: The Woman, the Legend

On March 25, 1934 the world was blessed with one of the most intelligent minds that shaped the lives of women not just in her generation but for future generations of women in Canada as well as the United States. Gloria Marie Steinem was to become one of America's biggest female icons through her work as journalist, social and political activist, publisher, and one of the greatest female leaders in 20th century.

Note: You have the right to disagree, however this difference of opinion will never change the fact that she is all those things in my eyes and in the eyes of many Americans and Canadians alike.

The early years

Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio to a mother who was half German, and a Jewish father. Gloria's dad was a traveling antique dealer who took his family traveling with him. However in 1944, when Gloria was only 10 years old he left his family behind in pursuit of work in California.

Gloria lived alone with her mother after that time and therefore saw life differently than the suburban housewife world of Betty Freidan. Later in life, Gloria would state that growing up the way she did and seeing how her mother had struggled was pivotal in forming her views on social injustice.

Ruth Steinem

The mother and early family life of Gloria Steinem

Ruth Steinem was once a vibrant woman who graduated with honors from the famous Oberlin College. She worked in the newspaper industry and then became the editor in chief. She also taught calculus for one year at the local high school. All this changed when she had a nervous breakdown in 1934.

Her illness would see her placed in many sanitariums throughout the years. Gloria recounts, she became "an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies that occasionally turned violent. She changed "from an energetic, fun-loving, book-loving" woman into "someone who was afraid to be alone, who could not hang on to reality long enough to hold a job, and who could rarely concentrate long enough to read a book."

Dealing with divorce

Gloria's parents divorced because of the illness however, Gloria didn't blame her father she did however, blame the system of social injustice, the apathy of the doctors, and the culture that would not support but punished career oriented women. It was from that point in her life, that Gloria set out to advocate for social and political change.

Gloria Steinem has made a few speeches here in Canada. Among those visit Gloria spoke at at the American Sociological Association Annual Conference, in 2006, held in Montreal. Her speech covered, "Breaking Out of the Invisible Prisons."

All photos taken from the public domain
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Betty Friedan, Family Impressions, Family Life, Feminism, Feminist, Feminists, Gloria Steinem, Parental Values

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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author avatar chitralakshmi
14th Jun 2015 (#)

Nice article, Thanks for sharing.

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