GLORIA STEINEM Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Gloria Steinem                                                                   
Born: 25 March 1934 Toledo, Ohio, USA                                                 
Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist icon,               
journalist and women's rights advocate. She is the founder and original               
publisher of Ms. magazine.                                                             
Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio. Her mother, Ruth Nuneviller, was of part             
German descent. Her Jewish-American father, Leo Steinem, was a traveling               
antiques dealer (with trailer and family in tow) and the son of immigrants from       
Germany and Poland. The family split in 1944, when he went to California to           
find work while Gloria lived with her mother in Toledo. As a child in Toledo,         
she cared for her ill mother and helped support the family. She also had a             
sister named Susanne.                                                                 
Gloria Steinem attended Waite High School in Toledo, then graduated from Western       
High School in Washington, D.C. She attended Smith College, where she remains         
active. In 1963 she was employed as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club       
to research an article that exposed how women were treated at the clubs. The           
article was a sensation, making Steinem an in-demand writer in the process.           
However, she later stated regretting writing the article, because the public           
associated it too much with her.                                                       
After conducting a series of celebrity interviews, Steinem eventually got a           
political assignment covering George McGovern's presidential campaign, which led       
to a position in a New York magazine. Her 1962 article in Esquire magazine about       
the way in which women are forced to choose between a career and marriage             
preceded Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique by one year. She became           
politically active in the feminist movement, and the media seemed to appoint           
Steinem as a feminist leader of sorts. Steinem brought other notable feminists         
to the fore and toured the country with lawyer Florynce Rae "Flo" Kennedy, and         
in 1971, cofounded the National Women's Political Caucus as well as the Women's       
Action Alliance. In 1972, she helped start the feminist Ms. magazine and wrote         
for the magazine until it was sold in 1987. The magazine was sold again in 2001,       
to the Feminist Majority Foundation; Steinem remains on the masthead as one of         
six founding editors, and serves on the advisory board.                               
Steinem cofounded the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974, and participated         
in the National Conference of Women in Houston, Texas in 1977. She became Ms.         
magazine's consulting editor when it was revived in 1991, and she was inducted         
into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1991, Steinem founded Choice       
In a 1998 press interview, Steinem weighed in on the Clinton impeachment               
hearings when asked whether President Bill Clinton should be impeached for lying       
under oath, she was quoted as saying, "Clinton should be censured for lying           
under oath about Lewinsky in the Paula Jones deposition, perhaps also for             
stupidity in answering at all."                                                       
Contrary to popular belief, Steinem did not coin the feminist slogan "A woman         
needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." The phrase is actually attributable to       
Irina Dunn.                                                                           
Steinem has enjoyed widespread recognition in the US, and so has been a popular       
target for those critical of feminism generally. Within the feminist movement         
she has been criticized by radical feminists for what is seen as a liberal             
approach that makes too many concessions to patriarchy -- notably, her                 
involvement with the CIA was exposed in 1975 by the the left-wing Redstockings.       
More recently, Gloria Steinem's marriage in September 2000 caused some                 
controversy among feminists as Steinem had been a long time critic of the             
institution of marriage. Her late husband, David Bale, faced deportation charges       
for overstaying his visa, but his marriage to Steinem earned him conditional           
In the 1980s and 1990s, Steinem had to deal with a number of personal setbacks,       
including the diagnoses of breast cancer in 1986 and trigeminal neuralgia in           
According to two Frontline features (aired in 1995) and Ms. magazine, Steinem         
became an advocate for children she believed had been sexually abused by               
caretakers in day care centers (such as the McMartin preschool case).                 
On September 3, 2000, at age 66, she married David Bale, father of actor               
Christian Bale. The wedding was performed at the home of her friend Wilma             
Mankiller, formerly the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Steinem and         
Bale were married for only three years before he died of brain lymphoma on             
December 30, 2003, at age 62.                                                         
In 2005, Steinem appeared in the documentary film, I Had an Abortion, by               
Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich. In the film, Steinem described the           
abortion she had as a young woman in London, where she lived briefly before           
studying in India. Steinem was also a member of Democratic Socialists of America,     
and an advisory board member of Women's Voices. Women Vote.                           
Canadian singer-songwriter David Usher penned a song titled "Love Will Save The       
Day," which includes sound bytes from Steinem speeches. The song's opening             
contains her statement, "It really is a revolution," and the ending breaks for         
the quote, "We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other       
than those chosen or those earned; we are really talking about humanism." In the       
credits of the movie V for Vendetta, this last speech is also quoted.