who: feminist, humanist, activist, writer, voice of reason.
what: in 1963, she went undercover as a playboy bunny and wrote an exposé for show magazine detailing the exploitative way women were treated at playboy clubs. in the following years, she fell somewhat accidentally into her feminist activist label—in her opinion (and ours!), she was just speaking the truth about more than a few pressing issues. she has campaigned for civil rights, reproductive rights, and same-sex marriage, worked for the national women’s political caucus and several presidential campaigns, and written outrageous acts and everyday rebellions, revolution from within, moving beyond worlds, and more. (less politically significant but still close to our hearts is 1963’s the beach book, above, a tome dedicated to beaches and beach culture only–including a reflective inner dust jacket meant to be used for tanning.) a real woman–a real feminist–must be a multi-faceted thing, after all.
when: steinem was born in toledo, ohio, in 1934. her 1969 new york magazine article, “after black power, women’s liberation,” put her in the spotlight–and though she wasn’t initially comfortable there, she quickly learned to use the power of her voice. today, at age 80, she continues to fight–and she has won more awards over her lifetime than we could possibly list here.
in her words: “what i’ve learned is that unless it’s an emergency, like a fire or brain surgery, hierarchy is not necessary, and may be damaging. if you have a hierarchy, you’re repeating the strengths and weaknesses of one person without allowing for the accumulative strength of a group. and you’re also not learning from each other’s stories.”
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