Last night I attended what my boyfriend joked was my version of the 'World Series': A talk between the wise, bold, brave and badass Gloria Steinem and the always hilarious and newfound activist Chelsea Handler. I had never seen Gloria speak in person before, and it was everything I've ever imagined it would be and so so much more. She is not only so unremarkably wise but she also has that real-talk edge that made me totally and completely fall in love with her, admire her, and leave in complete awe.
Here's some of the knowledge she dropped last night...
On how and why to take action (now more than ever)..."If we look up, we feel disempowered. If we look at each other, we feel empowered. If we stop saying, 'should...what should I do?' and just say, 'I'm going to do everything I can, everyday.' We all have this knowledge. So I worry more that people are being passive and asking, and more encouraged that they are not being passive and just doing it."
Aka just go for it.
On children and the institution of marriage..."Sometimes people forget to take a look because you're not with a partner, so you're like, I'm supposed to [get married and have children because] everyone tells you you're supposed to, and be a conformist. And then you sit down and think, 'Wait a second, [my life] is pretty sweet.' Whatever your life is, don't just assume you're not happy. You might actually be happy."
This sentiment I think is not shared enough especially in today's wedding/bridal/bachelorette/afterparty obsessed culture. Gloria went on to note when asked why the Bridal industry has gotten 'so big' that it's because people actually are getting married more than once these days. Ugh, so true Gloria. (Note: if you haven't already check out Joy Bryant's "Stop Telling Me I Should Have Kids").
On the history of feminism and if the movement is now more inclusive than it was prior..."Ms. Magazine in 1972 did the first ever national poll about women's opinions on women's issues and the women's movement and feminist issues and so on...More than 60 percent of African-American women supported feminism and general issues of equality and only 30 some percent of white women. So what we forget is that disproportionately, women of color invented feminism. I think it's condescending to say [we should] make the [feminist] movement inclusive. Women of color are the movement."
Both Handler and Steinem were visibly devastated by Hillary's loss. Steinem noted that "I think there is a higher level of virtue [or] sinless-ness that comes with being a female human being," which she felt really worked against Hillary in the election.
Something both women also agreed strongly on was that there is no more excuse for inaction. Gloria went so far as to say that she's not sure if we will be OK or what will come of Trump's America, but she kept encouraging us to stay active, keep fighting, and never ever allow ourselves, in Handler's words "to let a hangover be the reason we don't make it to the polls."
I'll leave you with this final gem that made me smile as I walked out of the auditorium: "The one thing the patriarchy doesn't have is wombs."