Selected Gloria Steinem Quotations
• This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. 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.
• The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
• We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
• We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.
• Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.
• But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don't get young men standing up and saying, "How can I combine career and family?"
• A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.
• Someone asked me why women don't gamble as much as men do, and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don't have as much money. That was a true and incomplete answer. In fact, women's total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.
• We know that we can do what men can do, but we still don't know that men can do what women can do. That's absolutely crucial. We can't go on doing two jobs.
• Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.
• Most women are one man away from welfare.
• [About Geraldine Ferraro's candidacy:] What has the women's movement learned from her candidacy for vice president? Never get married.
• If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?
• Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren't, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it.
• Most women's magazines simply try to mold women into bigger and better consumers.
• I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words.
• If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?
• The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.
• Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.
• A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.
• The family is the basic cell of government: it is where we are trained to believe that we are human beings or that we are chattel, it is where we are trained to see the sex and race divisions and become callous to injustice even if it is done to ourselves, to accept as biological a full system of authoritarian government.
• Happy or unhappy, families are all mysterious. We have only to imagine how differently we would be described -- and will be, after our deaths -- by each of the family members who believe they know us.
• I don't breed well in captivity.
• Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.
• Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father.
• The authority of any governing institution must stop at its citizen's skin.
• Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
• A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.
• For women... bras, panties, bathing suits, and other stereotypical gear are visual reminders of a commercial, idealized feminine image that our real and diverse female bodies can't possibly fit. Without these visual references, each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on its own terms. We stop being comparatives. We begin to be unique.
• Planning ahead is a measure of class. The rich and even the middle class plan for future generations, but the poor can plan ahead only a few weeks or days.
• Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.
• From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence -- and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified.
• No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.
• The only thing I can't stand is discomfort.
• For much of the female half of the world, food is the first signal of our inferiority. It lets us know that our own families may consider female bodies to be less deserving, less needy, less valuable.
• Evil is obvious only in retrospect.
• [About "Dr. Ruth" Westheimer:] She has become the Julia Child of sex.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2005. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Gloria Steinem Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/qu_g_steinem.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)