Previously published in Examiner
Part 4 of the Gloria Steinem series
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.
To be continued
For a wonderful Women’ s studies program in Montreal apply to the Simone De Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University.