The aviator glasses are gone, but not the long, straight hair. She may have disappointed some of her flock when she got married for the first time, but Gloria Steinem remains a feminist icon. What you may not know is how a writer became something of a reluctant revolutionary. "I went to cover an early hearing on abortion, in which women were just standing up and saying what their experiences were trying to get an illegal abortion at the time. The New York state legislature had had a hearing on the question of liberalizing just New York state laws. This was before Roe v. Wade-- and they'd invited 14 men and one nun to testify. So, a group of early feminists had said, wait a minute, let's hear from women who have had this experience, and I went to, as a reporter for New York Magazine. And I heard women telling the truth about their lives in public in a way I had never heard before, and I also had had an abortion and, you know, not told anyone, and here were women standing up and saying, you know, what it was really like and why. And I suddenly thought, wait a minute, you know, if one in three or four of us has had this experience, why is it illegal, and why are we made to feel -- and that was the beginning." From there, when she was often the only woman journalist in a room filled with men, she started out on a path that would lead her to a leadership role in the women's movement. In her conversation with Michel Martin, Steinem also talks of her decision to marry, as she puts it, "very late" in life and to not have children, her mother's struggles with depression and how she lived out her mother's unlived life.
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