Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Picador, 2019 (2019)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton
his third edition of Gloria Steinem's essays comprises what she considers some of her most important published work. They are updated, annotated, and post-scripted, encapsulating her life and bringing her into the twenty-first century. It's a manís world, she tells us, so entrenched that it soaks unconsciously through our existence.
er 1963 essay, '
I was a Playboy Bunny
' is hysterical. Gloria experienced the agony of the real deal on site in New York, and cynically describes her most unfortunate experiences Ė the worst being the embarrassingly thorough gynecological exam. It was obvious that she was being evaluated and groomed as a sex partner. She notes that '
All the punishments are somehow easier to describe than the rewards that mean so much more.
' She was frightened as she faked her way through the experience. Yes, her magazine was sued upon publication.
omen are clearly second class citizens, relegated to helpmates of their superior spouses or partners. It flows through every stage of existence. Girl babies are less desirable than boy babies. And we fight this all our lives. Early in the book she quotes 1 Samuel 15:23, '
For rebellion is as the work of witchcraft.
' This is where she headed and she dealt with the consequences.
t took great courage she didn't have to progress in her '
River of Change
'. She watched her lonely mother give up and become mentally ill. That mother also made valuable suggestions as Gloria progressed - and progress she did. She wasn't interested in listening to the traditional role models and being told that only males hold the important jobs, that only males could be editors. She witnessed Jackie Onassis refuse to languish in her wealth. Though always marrying well, she insisted on her own identity and became an editor on her own. She didn't need the job; she wanted it; it added meaning and direction to her life.
e as readers will recognize the many changes brought about by courageous acts of rebellion throughout history. Women now have access to jobs only once held by men. Now we have women on road crews, in the factories (what's left of them), in the welding shop, and in high-level science and math jobs. My finance major daughter earns a respectable salary and works for a female boss. Things are changing, slowly, but changing. Personnel departments are careful as to how they deal with women and minorities, but salaries still lag. There is much room for improvement. Every generation must fight the battle anew.
ach essay Steinem reprinted has been updated with sometimes more than one postscript as she notes progress and changes. Efforts must not stop, less we regress. She encourages more women's groups on change, equity, and reform. When women's issues are discussed, portrayed on television, or the Internet, seeds are planted. She encourages all women to be planters of seeds of feminism. This, alone, makes the book excellent required reading for any course involving equity, equality, and positive change.
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