Gloria Steinem went to an all-girls high school “where ‘f*uck’ had never been said on stage,” she told a crowd in New York last night. “And I said it [there] twice,” she laughed. Steinem, who will celebrate her 78th birthday this weekend, was in conversation with CBS This Morning host Gayle King. The feminist icon only used foul language that once last night, but nonetheless showed she still has all the fervor she became famous for over 40 years ago.
Progress towards equality for women has come a long way since the women’s movement in the Seventies that Steinem is closely associated with, and Steinem is quick to note that she’s of a “different generation,” so she resists giving specific tips to burgeoning feminist leaders who’d like to emulate her. Her only advice: to keep fighting the fight. While Steinem says it’s important to know about the history of the women’s movement, she said given the choice, she’d pick focusing on the future over learning about the past.
Despite Steinem’s reluctance to dole out advice, the audience asked for it anyway. “How can I be feminine while also being assertive in the workplace?” one woman asked. Steinem shot back:
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as feminine. And I don’t think there’s any such thing as masculine. I think there’s Irving, and Harriet. There’s whole humanity.”
And while the landscape for women is inevitably different now than it was, the “war on women” wages on. Steinem says:
“The only alternative to being a feminist is being a masochist.”