In honor of ButtercupPunch’s one year anniversary, Ms. Gloria Steinem chose to turn 75 as a show of feminist solidarity. To crib liberally (pun! Okay, by “liberally” I meant “entirely”) from Wednesday’s Writer’s Almanac:
It’s the birthday of Gloria Steinem, born in Toledo, Ohio (1934). Her father was an antique dealer and a summer resort operator who traveled all over the country in a trailer, looking for new business ventures. Steinem said, “He was always going to make a movie, or cut a record, or start a new hotel, or come up with a new orange drink.” She traveled around the country, never attending school, until her parents separated, and she moved in with her mother.
But her mother’s mental health began to break down, and Steinem had to take over all the cooking and cleaning and shopping. She said that her mother was “an invalid who lay in bed with eyes closed and lips moving in occasional response to voices only she could hear; a woman to whom I brought an endless stream of toast and coffee, bologna sandwiches and dime pies.” Young Gloria became obsessed with Shirley Temple movies, hoping to be rescued miraculously from poverty, just like the little girl on the screen.
She managed to get into Smith College because she scored so well on her entrance examinations. After college, she went to work as a journalist. She wrote celebrity journalism for a while, but she became more interested in feminism after she wrote an article about the prevalence of illegal abortions, and all her male colleagues tried to persuade her not to publish it. She was a founder of Ms. magazine, whose first issue came out in January 1972.
Gloria Steinem said, “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”