Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Gloria Steinem (1934-Present)

When Hillary Clinton became the first viable female presidential candidate and the GOP countered with Sarah Palin, many women looked to Gloria Steinem to make sense of the dueling candidacies. Opining on the 2008 election, she offered her characteristic long-term vision: "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere." It would be hard to find an American women's rights organization that does not owe its creation in part to Steinem. Though she had long been active in legislative issues concerned with gender equality, it was her 1970 testimony before the Senate in favor of the failed Equal Rights Amendment that brought national attention. But her work as a founder of Ms. magazine and the Women's Action Alliance has overshadowed her groundbreaking journalism: in 1963, seven years before Hunter S. Thompson was credited with creating "gonzo" journalism, Steinem went undercover as a Playboy bunny to report on the treatment of women at Playboy clubs for Show magazine.