I finished Gloria Steinem’s book “My Life on the Road” from the NYPL earlier this week and have purchased a copy to own so that I may underline, dog-ear and highlight for reference with abandon. Rather than lump it in with my May booklist, I wanted to share my thoughts now.
I wish I’d read it sooner, because part way through her book, came this quote:
“One of the saddest things I hear as I travel is “I don’t know enough to be a feminist.” Or even “I’m not smart enough to be a feminist.” It breaks my heart.”
That could’ve been me saying that to her. I wish I’d been more secure in my place as a feminist in this world. I was afraid of looking stupid or, worse, jeopardizing my career when I was so young, supporting myself and had no family to fall back on. I accomplished many things in spite of my upbringing and lack of formal education that fly in the face of the white male system –becoming an Assistant Vice President of a bank at age 25 collecting on $1M+loans to name a few– and yet I still doubted myself because I didn’t go to college or know enough about the history of feminism. Instead of rabble rousing, I learned to play golf. No, really. I did. I shot par for a hot minute.
After reading this book, I see that I knew a lot more than I realized. I highly recommend it. While you might expect it to be a memoir, it’s instead a very interesting crash course in the women’s lib movement of the 70s, the Deaf President Now protests at Gallaudet in the late 80s, the plight of Native Americans, how the US Constitution is modeled on the Iroquois Confederacy and so much more.
I’m going through some sort of seismic shift in my frame of mind thanks to cancer and politics and mid-life. I wonder what positive and lasting contributions or change I can make. What rabble rousing is there for me to do when almost 100% of my time is devoted to QED? But in the question is my answer: QED is the change and contribution I made. I built the space for comedy and art, of course, but also to have a platform for events like the recent Bystander Intervention training, Planned Parenthood fundraisers, election coverage, etc. Perhaps QED can be my little feminist flag planted in this great big world. Maybe there is more TBD.
I feel like there is more to do and this book poured gas on my feminist pilot light. The flame that has been at a slow burn just got turned up.
So, yeah, this is a must read for my book reading friends. I’ll even carry it at QED to recommend and hand sell to anyone who browses the shelves.
Other quotes that I bookmarked:
“When humans are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.”
“Voting isn’t the most we can do, but it is the least.”
“In truth, we don’t know which of our acts in the present will shape the future. But we have to behave as if everything we do matters. Because it might.”
“If you do anything people care about, people will take care of you.”