When Gloria Steinem got married at age 66, the media paid attention. One of the most famous feminists of the 1960s and 1970s, Gloria Steinem continued as an activist, critical thinker, author and spokesperson on women's issues for decades. Anti-feminists often associated Gloria Steinem with a false stereotype of feminists as "man-hating." Gloria Steinem's marriage to David Bale was another chance for the media to trot out misconceptions about feminism.
Who Was Gloria Steinem's Husband?
Gloria Steinem married activist David Bale in September 2000. The couple had met at a fundraising event for the Voters for Choice organization. Gloria Steinem's marriage to David Bale lasted until his death from brain lymphoma in late 2003.
David Bale, father of actor Christian Bale, was an activist known for his commitment to environmental, humanitarian and animal rights causes. He worked with several nonprofit organizations, including the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
David Bale was originally from South Africa and had lived in several different countries, including England. He had been married and divorced twice before. Gloria Steinem and David Bale lived in New York and California during their marriage.
The Shock of Gloria Steinem's Marriage
At the time of Gloria Steinem's marriage to David Bale in 2000, several news stories poked fun at the idea of the longtime feminist finally "giving in" to society's tradition. Was Gloria Steinem opposed to marriage? She had certainly pointed out its flaws and inequities. Feminists of the 1960s fought against the unfair view of married women as less than legally whole people. They also tried to change laws that prevented married women from independently owning property or obtaining financial credit in their own names.
Gloria Steinem said in 2000 that she had worked for years to make marriage more equal but that she, too, was surprised to actually be partaking of the institution. She responded to questions about whether she had changed her beliefs that she hadn't changed; marriage had. It had become more equitable and fair to women since the mid-20th century and the early days of the women's liberation movement.
Often a target of anti-feminists, Gloria Steinem was the subject of a few snide articles and opinion columns. One writer even referred to the news of Gloria Steinem's marriage as "the taming of the shrew," alluding to the Shakespeare play and choosing a word with a particularly negative connotation.
Others suggested that Gloria Steinem and David Bale married for immigration reasons because he had overstayed his visa. The New York Daily News quoted Gloria Steinem in September 2000: "Apparently there is a need to look for ulterior motives when a feminist marries."