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Feminism is Alive and Well ... Even Sarah Palin Wants to Be One

Gloria Steinem, grande dame of the feminist movement, and Jehmu Greene, Women's Media Center director, discuss the state of feminism with Katie Couric.

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I’m most disappointed that it’s not part of discussion. That, for instance, the media still views objectivity as being even‐handedly negative. And doesn’t really report that much on solutions. And especially reports on things that are equally divided.

I noticed that in Japan they discuss important issues with at least three people. And that’s like a drink of water in the desert to think there are three different views, instead of only two views fighting with each other. And in the case of most issues, there are seven sides or 14 sides. And I’m disappointed that we don’t have the imagination of cooperation, equality, community. That we’re still in this old paradigm.

COURIC: Do you think that’s because the nascent feminist movement was in some ways based on anger, outrage and the desire to help women progress that was threatening, so threatening, to the status quo that it almost positioned the sides against each other instead of a more conciliatory movement? Is that just the way movements are born?

STEINEM: No. If you asked me what we did wrong I would say we were much too nice.

COURIC: Really?

STEINEM: Because we were trained to be nice and plump pillows. We’ve been much too nice. And the idea of our being threatening doesn’t come from our being threatening, it comes from the idea that a normal male‐female relationship is 70‐30 or 60‐40, so 50‐50 feels threatening. We’ve always been talking about 50‐50.

GREENE: What inspires me and gets me up every morning is the fact that there are more people, young women, men who identify as feminists today than did back in 1970. And that, in and of itself, shows that we are continuing in the right direction. And also the fact that this next generation, actually I see it as an “and” proposition versus the “either/or.” And they are the future leaders; the future heads of corporations; the future media experts. We can all look forward to an opportunity to move away from the combative style to showing that it is all about pro‐equality and it’s not about one side winning over the other.

 

Editor's note: This interview was lightly edited for continuity and repetitiveness.

 
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