Gloria Steinem Speech
Audio version

All right, well I came to say thank you to the folks who put dot com in feminist [laughter]. Who brought us into this millennium, who made us even beyond Women 2.0, and also to Marianne.

Marianne, I think when someone celebrates and succeeds, you can tell how much they’re loved by all the people who celebrate with them. And there’s not a human being in this room that does not know how generous you are – how kind; how smart, you know - better to have a smart, kind person. [laughter] There’s nobody here that has not benefited from your generosity. And I think each of us feels when you succeed, it’s almost as good as when we succeed; and that is saying a lot. We love you and we celebrate with you.

Now I have discovered, as you already know, that we can also take credit for you [laughs], because Rita Waterman (hold up your hand, Rita) who was a pioneer of Ms Magazine, known there as ‘Rita Waterperson’ [laughs]; sent me an email about what I did not know, and it said, ‘Here is a small world story. When I lived in New York City, my neighbors across the hall were the Schnall’s: Carol, Norman and their little children, Marianne and Eric. Yes, the same Marianne who founded and whose book launching anniversary you and both of us are helping to celebrate next Friday.’ So though they have been out of touch, I think, you folks have been out of touch? The Schnalls found Rita - thank you, thank you parents. ‘And invited me to the reception, reminding me that I always knocked on their door on Halloween in a Wonder Woman costume [laughter] and initiated them into feminism.’

So Rita, we thank you and now Marianne’s daughter, is wearing a Wonder Woman costume, is this not true? So as somebody who grew up on Wonder Woman when Wonder Woman was born, I feel this is some kind of connective tie to all of us. I still buy two bracelets whenever I buy one [laughter] and I hope we all know actually, that she was invented on purpose to unite us because she was a very conscious invention of a psychologist who was alarmed by the sadistic violence in boys’ comic books. So extreme that there was a congressional hearing, actually, into the sadism of those comic books. So he invented Wonder Woman to be someone who conquers, but never kills; who converts and who befriends and who has a girl gang [laughter].

So welcome to the girl gang and the honorary girls who are here, the honorary women who are here - and thank you most of all for understanding in your work that stories are everything. That our brains work on narrative and imagery. We can kind of understand and hang on to statistics and generalities, but it isn’t the way our brains work. Actually I think that the so-called serious press thinks that narrative is feminine, and that only statistics and generalities are masculine, is part of the reason they overemphasize those things. And its part of what makes people turn to celebrities - in desperation, you know - because they are the only narrative in town. So I really came to say thank you. That’s it, that’s the whole thing. And thank you Marianne.

December 3, 2010, New York City



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