Jennifer Aniston Interviews Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem
Feb 10, 2014
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem joined actress Jennifer Aniston on The 2014 MAKERS Conference stage to talk gender diversity in Hollywood, feminisim, and Gloria's everlasting impact on women's advancement.
Below are some highlights from the interview:
JA: "What was the most hurtful thing you found yourself continually coming up against as you were fighting this fight over the years?"
GS: "The most hurtful thing is not what comes from our adversaries; it's what comes from our friends, because for the most part, if my adversaries liked me I would know that I was doing something really, seriously wrong."
JA: "How do you react to [the fact that our value and our worth is basically associated with our marital status or whether or not we procreate, especially] in the 60s or the 70s... the time when women weren't necessarily seen as a voice, but as barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen."
GS: "I thought, 'I'm getting married and having children, I'm definitely doing that, just not right now'... I put it in the future. Then, fortunately, the women's movement came along and made me realize I was actually happy alone and that there were more ways to live than one."
JA: "I think we can all say we thank you and honor you for raising a generation of women to be strong and have a voice. You have raised many children, that's for sure."
JA: "You said, 'Boys are told that their bodies are instruments, but women are made to feel that they are ornaments, not instruments.' What did you mean by that?"
GS: "We are valued too much for how we look on the outside. Boys actually suffer and men too because they are made to feel healthier. If you ask men about their body image, they'll tell you they look better than they do, and if you ask women they'll tell you they look worse than they do. We each need to come to some point of reality."
JA: "Why is 'feminism' such a complicated word?"
GS: "Because it is such a big revolution. It is taking away the biggest unpaid labor force in the world... and the control of reproduction. Some people are against it because they don't know what it means. Some are against it because they do know what it means."
AUDIENCE MEMBER: "What can we do going from here out into the world... to pay it forward?"
GS: "Infuse the values of equality and justice in whatever you do, and remember that we're the examples. If a woman passes a mirror and looks in and criticizes her body, a girl is watching. If [a woman] doesn't make sure the office staff is properly paid when she's an executive, she's part of the problem, not the solution. Change doesn't come from the top, it does come from the bottom."
AUDIENCE MEMBER: "How do you feel about women using their sex appeal to advance their careers?"
GS: "If women could sleep their way to the top, there'd be a lot more women at the top. It doesn't work."
Finally, actor and MAKER Jane Lynch asked Steinem a closing question.
JL: "You say that you're a 'hope-aholic.' What makes you hopeful?"
GS: "What makes me hopeful is just listening. Because I'm accidentally recognizable as part of a movement, I get to hear stories. People come up to me in the street, in the supermarket, in the airport and tell me how their lives have changed. It's just so incredibly, incredibly moving."
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