Vintage Fashion Inspiration & Feminist Icon- Gloria Steinem

10 Apr

If you know who Gloria Steinem is you probably associate her with the feminist movement and not with fashion.  However, she has always been one well dressed lady.  I like her style because it is simple yet flattering.  She dresses in form-fitting shirts  paired with a skirt or jeans.  Her signature look is a straight center part with her hair hanging around her face her eyes framed with large glasses.  As flattering as this look is on her, the reason it was created by her is because she felt she had fat cheeks and this was her way of hiding them.  We can all identify with insecurities, even if we are strong women.

*all images found via a google image search

My interest in Gloria was renewed recently after watching the HBO documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words.

I cannot stress how important I think it is to watch this film.  History repeats itself if the current generation does not educate itself.  I fear this may happen with women’s rights.  The reproductive and abortion rights that were fought for so hard in the 1960s and into the 1970s, are in present day in jeopardy and under constant attack.  How can we be moving backwards as a society on equal rights issues?

What surprised me most were the vintage clips of men very vehemently not wanting women in their work place.  These men were angry and they didn’t think women were smart enough to do the jobs they were doing.  Does this seem like a recurrent theme?  Why are women still having to fight to get equal pay for the same job?

The hardest thing to watch was a Larry King clip from 1990.  Gloria was being interviewed by Larry and a woman called into the show.  What initially seemed like a woman calling in to thank Gloria turned into a slap in the face.  The caller “thanked” Gloria for causing the collapse of the traditional family structure of America and ended by telling her to rot in hell.  Devastating, but I think it should be pointed out that for every woman who felt liberated by the women’s movement there were and are women who think it was the worst thing to ever happen.  There were and are women who are happy to be homemakers, and did and do not want to be told that they should want more or that they need to work outside of the home.  Change makes life more challenging, more unpredictable and people like to feel secure.  Women should not be judging and fighting with one another about this.  Women should be supporting one another’s freedom to choose to stay at home or to have a career.

Watching this film for me was such an inspiration.  After I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in my life.  Oh motivation, the things you do to me.  I’ve been motivated into being an organizer for Chicago’s Slut Walk because it is important to me that women have autonomy over their bodies and be allowed to embrace their femininity instead of being accused of being sluts.

As great as a quote that is, it was not used in its entirety.  The last lines are “That’s their natural and first weapon.  She will need her sisterhood.”  I dream of a sisterhood consisting of women and men-the one’s that get it- supporting and nurturing each other, working towards an equal, kind world.

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ~Gloria Steinem

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