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Quotes by Gloria Steinem

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Gloria Steinem. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Gloria Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist journalist and social political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Steinem was a columnist for New York magazine, and a co-founder of Ms. magazine. In 1969, Steinem published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation", which brought her to national fame as a feminist leader. In 1971, she co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus which provides training and support for women who seek elected and appointed offices in government. Also in 1971, she co-founded the Women's Action Alliance which, until 1997, provided support to a network of feminist activists and worked to advance feminist causes and legislation. In the 1990s, Steinem helped establish Take Our Daughters to Work Day, an occasion for young girls to learn about future career opportunities. In 2005, Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan co-founded the Women's Media Center, an organization that "works to make women visible and powerful in the media."

As of May 2018, Steinem was traveling internationally as an organizer and lecturer, and was a media spokeswoman on issues of equality.


Law and justice are not always the same.

Longer Version:

Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren't, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it.



There is always one true inner voice. Trust it.



Elephants are so wise and so funny and so endangered and so intelligent. I just think there is a lot to learn from them.



If you follow the voice inside you, it does give you guidance.



Burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle.



Because when some people are invisible, everyone suffers.



Patriarchy creates megapatterns that affect us all -- even as we forge different individual choices within them -- just as do the megapatterns of nationalism or racism.



The dogma is that, that dogma is a mistake.



Female inferiority is internalised by us. Women need a lot more confidence.



Men are victims of their own impulses.



It's easier to blame the person with less power.



Feminism began to dawn on my brain belatedly in life.



No other form of violence is legitimate. It is never acceptable to use violence to solve a problem. Whether personal or political.



Life after 50 or 60 is itself another country, as different as adolescence is from childhood, or as adulthood is from adolescence -- and just as adventurous.



Logic has nothing to do with oppression.



She acquired a lifetime aversion to the phrases bless your heart and poor dears.





Little girls do not wake up in the morning and say I dream of being a prostitute. It is a terrible, terrible life. Body invasion is more traumatic than even getting beaten up. In certain circumstances, obviously, it may be a way to survive.



She is a water bug on the surface of life.



All my years campaigning have given me one clear message: Voting isn't the most we can do, but it is the least. To have a democracy, you have to want one. Still, I realize this fully only by looking back.



I never expected to be even busier at 81, and doing more of what I love, than when I was 30.



Altogether, I can't imagine technology replacing bookstores completely, any more than movies about a country replace going there.



Wherever I go, bookstores are still the closest thing to a town square.



Why are women raped far away (say, Bosnia) called victims, while those raped nearby (say, a local campus) are playing victim politics?



Sadomasochiasm -- which we know very well doesn't exist in societies that don't have child abuse -- is regarded some sort of natural sexual expression.



Fashion in the past meant conforming and losing oneself. Fashion in the present means being individual and finding oneself.



We need to return and go forward to the understanding that there is God in all living things, not more in men than women, and not more in humans than in nature. To believe otherwise is only an excuse for dominating women and nature.



As always, self-esteem had created an ability to be generous.



Feminism is not antisexuality. On the contrary. It says that sexuality shouldn't be confused with violence and dominance and that it should be a matter of free choice. It shouldn't be forced on you by economics, including dependence on a husband, or by pressure.



I think one of the great innovations of sexual harassment law was that it did not use the word consent. It used the word welcome.



A portable friend to all readers-especia lly but not only women-who need to learn that the Golden Rule works only if it's reversible: We must learn to treat ourselves as well as we wish to treat others.



The need to treat ourselves as well as we treat others. It's women's version of the Golden Rule.





We have to imagine change before we can begin to move toward it.



Reporters immediately push their interviewees into the most extreme version by saying in a shocked tone, 'Well, are you saying that ... They're trying to make people be as hostile and opposed to each other as possible because they think only conflict is news.



Labeling makes the invisible visible, but it's limiting. Categories are the enemy of connecting. Link, don't rank.



Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.





I don't like debates anyway. I have never debated anyone, I think they're a very masculine form -- like an intellectual prizefight. They let you know who the better debater is but they don't really tell you about the issue. It's all heat, but no light.



Men, through no fault of theirs, get born into cultures that tell them that if a woman can do it, it's not worth doing, or if they're not superior to women in one way or another, they're not really masculine.



We need to stop raising boys to think that they need to prove their masculinity by being controlling or by not showing emotion or by not being little girls.



In retrospect, perhaps the biggest reason my mother was cared for but not helped for twenty years was the simplest: Her functioning was not that necessary to the world.





I always trust the microcosm over the macrocosm.





I don't think feminism can just be imitative or integrationist. By definition, it must transform. But in the short run, there are goals we agree on. And it's in the short run that we must act.





I'd just begun to be taken seriously as a freelance writer, but after the Playboy article, I mostly got requests to go underground in some other semi-sexual way. It was so bad that I returned an advance to turn the Playboy article into a paperback, even though I had to borrow the money.



Housewives are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.





Suddenly, I began to wonder: If one in three or four American women had an abortion at some time in her life -- a common statistical estimate, even in those days of illegality -- then why, WHY should this single surgical procedure be deemed a criminal act?



I just think that culturally, women -- we're all human beings -- but at least we don't have our masculinity to prove.



The moment we find the reason behind an emotion the wall is breached, and the positive memories it has kept from us return too. That's why it pays to ask those painful questions. The answers can set you free.



Like so many women, I was living out the unlived life of my mother, so I wouldn't be her. But the price I paid was that I distanced myself internally. I wasn't as close to her then as I nowadays, in retrospect, wish I had been.



The androcentric, patriarchal cultures, whatever you want to call it, are quite new. So, every economic statement should start with reproduction, not production. Every statement for human rights ought to include reproduction as a basic human right, like freedom of speech.





Now, we've made the revolutionary discovery that children have two parents. A decade ago even the kindly Dr. Spock held mothers solely responsible for children.



The point of the journey is not just healing. It's also recovering the truest, most spontaneous, joyful, and creative core of ourselves.



When gender comes down upon us, male or female, it comes as a restriction.



A man can be called ruthless if he bombs a country to oblivion. A woman can be called ruthless if she puts you on hold.



Religion is often politics made sacred.





I always say to audiences of men: Cooperation beats submission. Trust me.



My father was the Jewish half of the family, yet it was my mother who taught me to have pride in that tradition.



Perhaps well-to-do women and unemployed ghetto teenagers have something in common. Neither group has been allowed to develop the self-confidence that comes from knowing you can support yourselves.



Of course, we can change. We're very adaptable. But it takes a while.



Self-esteem is the basis of any democracy.



When the past dies, there is mourning, but when the future dies our imaginations are compelled to carry it on.



We move away from only the binary boxes of masculine or feminine and begin to live along the full human continuum of identity and expression.



More and more men are raising children or want to be close to their kids. They don't want to just lead work-obsessed lives and end up 50 years later with an engraved watch.



Or perhaps it's activist, but on environmental and economic problems, without understanding that pressuring women to have too many children is the biggest cause of environmental distress, and economic courses should start with reproduction, not just production.



The error that we tend to make is that we think that women's magazines are what editors want and what their readers want -- and thus are social indicators -- when, in fact, they are what advertisers want. They're just advertising indicators.



I believe that transgender people, including those who have transitioned, are living out real, authentic lives. Those lives should be celebrated, not questioned. Their health care decisions should be theirs and theirs alone to make.





I always thought that humanist was a good word long before I understood that anyone thought it was a bad word.



The deepest change begins with men raising children as much as women do and women being equal actors in the world outside the home.







All biographers, no matter how sympathetic, end up using their subjects as mirrors to figure themselves out. I don't want to be anyone's mirror.



Controlling women as the means of reproduction is made even more necessary by any race or caste or class system. It just comes together, it's just like life. And therefore it's not even practical to be a feminist without being anti-racist or against classism. It just doesn't work.



Sexism is not inevitable. It's only about controlling reproduction and therefore controlling women.



There is no such thing as a crime of passion, only a crime of possession.



Battered women is a phrase that uncovered major, long-hidden violence. It helps us to face the fact that, statistically speaking, the most dangerous place for a woman is in her own home, not in the streets.



Intelligence without character is a dangerous thing.





A movement happens when people are inspired by somebody, but they do it themselves. You don't wait for someone else. You do it yourself.



Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.



Economic systems are not value-free columns of numbers based on rules of reason, but ways of expressing what varying societies believe is important.



I think we all have the power to name ourselves. I try to call people what it is they wish to be called. But we can take the sting out of epithets and bad words by using them.





I would say that each of us has only one thing to gain from the feminist movement: Our whole humanity. Because gender has wrongly told us that some things are masculine and some things are feminine... which is bullshit.



I did not see any way that I could possibly give birth to someone else and also give birth to myself. Far from feeling guilty, it was the first time that I had taken responsibility for my own life.



Writers -- we're a little crazy about how much we care about it. We spend a lot of time fussing. At least, I do.



The art of politics is to be ahead of your time -- about six months will do it. Any more than that, and people forget you were there.



I never quite trust futurists because I think they're kind of telling us what they think our future should be.



For a man to say, I have to leave work now because I need to do something with my kids, it's sometimes viewed as a career killer. He doesn't have the right drive. So when they depart from their gender roles, they face some of the same restrictions.



When the gender role starts to descend, boys get into the masculine box.



Women's total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.



I think we acquire habits of mind when we're little, and I lived in the future because I was always imagining being a grown-up, when I could get out.



One of our biggest problems in terms of effectiveness is that we have hopes, but our opposition has interests. We measure everything against our hopes, including politicians that we are voting for or choosing amongst. We don't measure up to our hopes ourselves. How can we expect anybody else to?





There is bias and sexism everywhere, just like there are problems of racism and homophobia stemming from the whole notion that we're arranged in a hierarchy, that we're ranked rather than linked.



I hate when people say, Have fun at the press preview. Fun is talking to you.





You have no choice but to live in the present, if you're really being open to events and people as they come along.



I would put all the efforts to humanize the masculine and feminine gender roles that are the beginning of a false human hierarchy and normalize race, class and other systems of domination to come.



The original languages didn't even have he and she. They didn't have concepts of masculine and feminine. People were people. And the whole idea was that we were in a circle together, not in a hierarchy together.



So whatever you want to do, just do it... Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential.



Obviously, untangling sex from aggression and violence or the threat of it is going to take a very long time. And the process is going to be greatly resisted as a challenge to the very heart of male dominance and male centrality.



It still may take some explaining, but many more women are keeping their birth names (and not calling them maiden names, with all the sexual double standards that implies).



It's hard to measure success when we're dealing with between 500 and 5,000 years of patriarchy depending on which continent we sit, so I would say feminism has been successful and we have a huge distance to go, huge.



As an activist, you do find yourself directed more toward public action. But I've always tried to use stories from my own life in my writing. It has always been clear to me that the stories of each other's lives are our best textbooks.

Longer Version:

As an activist, you do find yourself directed more toward public action. But I've always tried to use stories from my own life in my writing for instance. It has always been clear to me that the stories of each other's lives are our best textbooks. Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering that other people have shared similar experiences. So, if we've shared many experiences, then it probably has something to do with power or politics, and if we unify and act together, then we can make a change.



I think I've wasted some of my time, but used most of it well, and have realized that my life is not separate from other people's lives or from the universe. I think our moments of happiness really come from a feeling of unity.



If you add up all the forms of genocide, from female infanticide and genital mutilation to so-called honor crimes, sex trafficking, and domestic abuse, everything, we lose about 6 million humans every year just because they were born female. That's a holocaust every year.



I was rescued by librarians. It was librarians who said 'maybe you would like to read The Hardy Boys as well as Nancy Drew.' It is true for me, as for so many countless others, that librarians saved my life, my internal life.



Anything being perceived as being superior takes the noun. And everything that isn't, that's judged to be inferior, requires an adjective. So there are black novelists and novelists. There are women physicians and physicians. Male nurses and nurses.



We know from many forms of suffering that what is important first is a witness -- people want to know that someone else knows what's happening, that they're not alone -- and someone who listens to what is needed and tries to help.



In the late '60s, people were saying we need power to, not power over. Power to do, accomplish, create, not power over other people.



I've only ever met one woman who actually was a prostitute of her own free will. She didn't have a pimp. She could pick and choose her customers. That's so rare.

Longer Version:

I've only ever met one woman who actually was a prostitute of her own free will. She didn't have a pimp. She could pick and choose her customers. That's so rare. So we have to look at the reality and not romanticize it. We have to be clear that you have the right to sell your own body but nobody has the right to sell anybody else's body. No one has that right.



We have to stop arresting prostitutes and not arresting traffickers and pimps. It's absurd. We're arresting the victim or the survivor and not the oppressor.


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