Book review: My life on the road by Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steimen My life on the road coverI read this book as the primary campaigns started in the US earlier this year. There is a chapter dedicated to the misogynistic bile directed at Hillary Clinton in 2008, which seems tame given what she’s getting now. “Life’s a b****. Don’t vote for one.” was an actual badge being sold by Republicans in Cleveland at their convention. I’d like to think that Federal Conference Committee Chair Andrew Wiseman would fling out anyone selling similar at a Liberal Democrat Conference.

My Life on the Road details four decades of travel all over the world as Gloria Steinem’s work took her to all sorts of  places. It is a wise and gentle book which is primarily about bringing people together and making sure diverse voices were heard. It’s a great insight in to the  history of the feminist movement and the importance of intersectionality within that.

Family, politics, friendships all feature and she’s not afraid to detail her mistakes. She talks about moving a turtle back into the sea, thinking she was doing it a favour. She was told that the turtle had probably spent a month scrabbling to where she had found it to lay her eggs. That experience highlighted the importance to her of ensuring that those most affected by a policy need to have their voices heard from the beginning.

She meets some fascinating  and extraordinary people along the way. Some of them were famous and powerful but most worked hard to make people’s lives better in their own communities.

You can buy the book here and at lots of other places on the internet.  Anyone who is interested in community politics, feminism, equality and civil rights will love it and learn from it.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 13th Aug '16 - 1:00pm

    “Steinem endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Steinem

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Aug '16 - 1:47pm

    This is a positive article . I like Gloria Steinem far more than some of that era , feminist , or not , who are more divisive.Her book on Marilyn Monroe was a human and humane contribution to the mass of , not always constructive ,writing on that wonderful woman.

    I like Hillary Clinton. She is a candidate with much baggage but no skeletons in her closet because she has had her closet opened up to the public innumerable times !

    Caron,

    As someone who is fair on Hillary Clinton and accepts her warts and all, if you really want a laugh , go to you tube , if not something you have already and see one or a thousand clips of “documentaries ” people have “made ” on her, one seriously claims she is part of a witches coven , and has a photo , clearly of Hillary at a fancy dress type event with a witches hat !

    I would accept that much of the mad critique of her is sexist , but for the fact that Obama has received as much ! I think it is delusional insanity of a warped personal and political sort more than anything. To me , the greatest credit Hillary Clinton has , or should , is , the old adage , if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck , chances are it is a duck !

    She has all the attributes of a president good and not ! It is the right fit .She rather than he , is irrelevant in that sense , and she is going to be the first of many women !

  • Did Gloria listen to the voice of the turtle when she decided she shouldn’t have moved it back into the sea? Or would it have been better to observe and learn the characteristics of the turtle?
    Perhaps focus should be less on listening to a particular voice/perspective, but observe the characteristics and behaviours of a situation to find a better solution.
    e.g. The siege of Aleppo. Which Aleppo?
    The eastern half controlled by islamist ‘rebels’, with 0.25million – c.10% of the 2million pre-war citizens, where 15 doctors have just written appealing to the US to intervene that captures western media attention?
    Or the Western half controlled by the Syrian govt, with 1.25-1.5million citizens, 65-75% of pre-war population, many in temporary shelters fled from the emptied eastern Aleppo, who strangely have no voice in the BBC?
    Hillary clinton, unlike Obama, may sadly follow Steinham’s dictat literally and listen to the “voice” of the 15 doctors for islamist rebel-controlled, depopulated “Aleppo” at the expense of the vast majority of the other, unreported half of Aleppo.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 14th Aug '16 - 8:47pm

    “Misogynistic bile…” What utter nonsense. Critisism of Hillary Clinton has nothing to do with the fact she is a woman, she is widely disliked and mistrusted because of who she is, not what she is. Hillary would be just as hated and critised if she were a man.

    I think Hillary will make a terrible president. It will be like new labour part II in the USA.

  • Rightsaidfredfan

    You are correct, unfortunately the term “Misogynistic” is now thrown around just as a general insult rather than as a descriptive term. Comments about Clinton could certainly be described as sexist, but so could many that get thrown at Trump. Who ever produced the T-shirt clearly hated one woman (HRC) but was highly unlikely to hate women.

    People who would advocate communicating to resolve problems play the childish game of making up new definitions for words to suit their argument rather than make their argument. To the point where it looses any point of having the discussion as you will have to constantly pin people down to say “what do yo mean by that” all the time. Sad that works that used to mean something are now worthless insults robed of clarity and fairly quickly losing their impact. I assume most descriptive words now used as insults are just empty with no information about the subject contained in them.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Aug '16 - 12:35pm

    Whatever the historical and geographical origins of the barbaric practice of FGM, we should be aware of current circumstances. In some countries, such as Mali, it is deeply ingrained in the culture and enforced by mothers and grandmothers. During the UK coalition two Lib Dem ministers, one female, one male, persuaded the then PM that FGM meets the definition of torture previously announced to the Commons by a (female, Tory) Home Office minister and repeated in the Lords by a female) minister.
    As applied to males please see Nelson Mandela “Long Walk to Freedom” explaining a tribal custom which he suffered as a young teenager.

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