Gloria Steinem, the play
I read Gloria Steinem’s book, My Life on the Road, so I knew most of the content in the play, Gloria: A Life. It is her story from her days as a young child to being the voice of many women. What resonated for me looking at the audience of most women in their 60s is how far we have come. I would like to see more teenagers and more women in their 20’s and 30’s go see this play. Unless you understand the history, it is hard to really understand the present.
After college, Gloria got to the working world of journalism expecting to cover major stories not puff pieces intended at that time for women at home. She persevered, she witnessed and experienced first hand badly behaved men, she got an abortion, she met an African American community of rabble-rousing women who had to raise their kids, make money and get treated like second-hand citizens. She became woke.
The importance of looking at history is how we move forward. There was a time in the 80’s where it seemed like women were getting their due but in fact, most of were not. It took almost two decades for women to create a louder voice again realizing that feminism had been simmering on a back burner and it was time to move it to the front and bring it back to boil. We are witnessing that now and Gloria Steinem is to thank for a lot of that.
There is one part of the play where they show a wall of many of the African-American women who spoke in the 60’s and 70’s, sadly many of them do not have household names. Shirley Chisolm, who I would hope most of us do know, had a quote that women should all use today. She said, “if you don’t have a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” More and more women seem to be carrying a folding chair and that is a very positive step in the right direction.