- Series: Department of Archeological Planning and Review abstracts in Texas contract archeology
- Unknown Binding: 188 pages
- Publisher: Texas Historical Commission (1991)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0006DHYKA
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
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Abstracts in Texas contract archeology, 1987 (Department of Archeological Planning and Review abstracts in Texas contract archeology)
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From Publishers Weekly
Biography of the pivotal and occasionally controversial feminist and co-founder of Ms. magazine.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Heilbrun, the accomplished literary scholar (Writing a Woman's Life, LJ 10/15/88) and mystery author under the nom de plume Amanda Cross, offers her interpretation of a complex and admirable subject, feminist avatar Gloria Steinem. Unhappily, the result is disappointing, in part because it seems premature with Steinem only 60 and still active in the women's movement. But the book suffers from more serious imperfections as well. Though Heilbrun discusses at length Steinem's relationship with her mother, she neglects connections with Steinem's father and her sister. A large share of the book treats Steinem's numerous celebrity liaisons; while legitimate in a posthumous examination, such discussion is inescapably tawdry when the subject is still living. Finally and most puzzling, the writing lacks polish. Long quotations are awkwardly integrated, and some sentences require rereading. The definitive work is still to be written, but this one will nevertheless attract a large audience.
-?Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The information is detailed and interesting for sure. I appreciated all the research the author did about the subjects life including not only her career but her struggles with her unstable mother and mostly absent father as well as Steinem's feelings about this over her lifetime.
But I got very tired of the almost obsessive way the author discussed Steinem's great appeal to men over and over and over again.
I understand that another woman less attractive to the masses may have never gotten as far as Steinem and I honestly believe that is true, however, the author's constantly repeating the fact that she was attractive to men says much more about the author's perspective than it does about her amazing, brilliant and courageous subject.
She wrote in the “Acknowledgements” section of this 1995 book, “Gloria Steinem, whom I met for the first time only two weeks before beginning on this book, answered questions over many hours, gave me access to all her papers, urged those I wished to interview to talk to me, and was patience personified with all my endless requests and queries. She had no right of approval over the contents of the manuscript. Her cooperation was the more gracious in that, during the course of our many meetings, she frequently differed from me and my interpretations.”
She observes, “despite Steinem’s constant denial that she was unusually attractive, she must have known early that she was a ‘looker.’ In the early 1970s she would say that she was considered glamorous compared with the media’s insulting picture of a feminist---butch, army-booted, hairy, fat. She is right about the media’s mistaken ideas… but wrong about denying the effect of her attractiveness. Steinem was too smart, certainly by the time she got to Smith, if not before, to want to rely on her looks. But from her first childhood years, she had the confidence of a markedly appealing and attractive creature.” (Pg. 29)
She points out, “What is most significant about Steinem [in college] is… the conjunction of likeable, loving men with enjoyable sex… Unlike the majority of her contemporaries, Steinem fled rather than sought marriage, fearing to be left with a child and again to become a primary caregiver before she was able freely to pursue a profession. If it took her a while to face up to her disinclination for marriage, her ability to enjoy sex for its own sake, and for the companionship of thoughtful, gentle men, was unusual for her time. Before the current women’s movement… such a nonobsessive appetite for heterosexual sex apart from commitment was exceptional. (Pg. 58) Later, she adds, “however emphatic her rejection of [Blair] Chotzinoff… her decision was not because of any failing… on Chotzinoff’s part. Rather, she was enacting the first of many escapes from marriage, postponing for the first time the moment of recognition that marriage, any marriage, was not what she wanted.” (Pg. 65) [Heilbrun also recounts Steinem’s 1956 abortion; pg. 68-69.]
She recounts, “When Steinem was told by former National Student Association leaders that the CIA was funding foundations that in turn were supporting American attendance at the [Communist] Youth Festivals, she remembers feeling relief the someone understood the importance of the noncommunist left in general, and students in particular… Though she raised money from other foundations, none of it, as far as she knew, from CIA-funded sources, some young people feared personal consequences of being seen at a Communist Youth Festival, and she told them that participation was CIA backed and supported. Ironically, it was this that sometimes persuaded them to attend…” (Pg. 87-88) Of the accusations that the Redstockings would make against her, Heilbrun observes, “To say that Steinem was a tool of the CIA as the CIA was perceived in the seventies was a terrible accusation indeed. The Redstockings made a very clever move against a woman they perceived as having usurped their movement and the celebrity owed them.” (Pg. 288)
She reports on Steinem’s “going undercover in 1963 as a Playboy Bunny” for ‘Show’ magazine: “With the publication of the Bunny article, Steinem leapt into instant fame, not all of it welcome… Her immediate reaction was not only that she never wanted to repeat the experience, but that she profoundly regretted it…. Reprinting the article in ‘Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions’ twenty years later, she admitted, finally, to the benefits of the undertaking, seeing it now through her own eyes instead of a patriarchal lens.” (Pg. 106-107)
She observes, “[Steinem’s presence] would reassure millions of women teetering on the edge of feminism that one did not have to eschew elegance or ‘femininity,’ or, above all, men, to be for women’s lib.’ The fear of lesbianism had already taken hold. The number of intelligent women who harbored that fear is greater than most of us like to imagine… her appeal to the media, however much it compromised structureless feminism on the one hand, and challenged Friedan’s upper-middle-class feminism on the other, went a long way toward keeping the feminist cause in the forefront of the national consciousness. Steinem never deserted feminism, never betrayed it, never suggested it needed backpedal, never let anyone in the media get away with jeering at it. She remained… full of allure. She also remained, through long, hard, slogging years, an outspoken, uncompromising, boundary-crossing feminist.” (Pg. 187-188)
She notes that Betty Friedan’s “friends still refer to Steinem as the ‘missionary’ of the women’s movement, with Friedan as its ‘founder.’ …The word ‘missionary’ is… ill-conceived, since missionaries spread the teaching of their church, and Friedan’s teachings were far removed from Steinem’s message. In addition, Steinem did understand that sexism and racism were related caste systems, that heterosexism is part of the patriarchy … Steinem’s recognition of the necessity of unity with African-American women and lesbians in the movement was certainly a new idea to Friedan…” (Pg. 191-192)
She explains, “Many in the media, delighted with the spectacle of women fighting each other... characterized the Steinem-Friedan conflict—which became marked after the founding of Ms.---as the expected catfight… But it seems clear that Friedan’s identification of Steinem as an enemy began with the struggle growing out of the founding of the National Women’s Political Caucus [NWPC], and the decisions about what directions it would take.” (Pg. 216) Later, she adds, “It is quite simply regrettable---indeed sad---that Friedan would not learn to share the limelight… But the worst jolt came… when the NWPC chose Steinem as the spokesperson for the Democratic Convention over Friedan, even though Steinem wasn’t there at the time and didn’t want the honor…” (Pg. 240) She adds, “By 1972, Friedan’s hatred of Steinem had come to public attention; the legend of this one-sided feud between two leaders of the women’s movement became a part of the lore of feminism.” (Pg. 242)
She observes about Ms. Magazine, “Advertisers would cause the greatest problem both because of their dictatorial attitudes toward the editorial content of women’s magazines and because of their inability to understand the kind of market the new magazine represented… But it is the critics who… present the greatest puzzle… the critics seemed to comprise ardent groups of feminists from the left and the right who vehemently felt that Ms. was not the magazine it should be. NOW objected that its efforts and accomplishments were insufficiently reported. Those on the left scorned Ms. … from the original determination to create a slick, widely distributed magazine, which looked quite unlike left-wing publications… Steinem herself was the major target of most of this criticism, a great part of which was made by people who … were wholly unaware of the practical problems involved in editing any magazine, let alone a feminist one.” (Pg. 230)
She argues, “An obsession like Friedan’s with Steinem is more notable for the hermit does to the cause of feminism. There is no reason why an accomplished woman… should not acquire enemies in the course of a public career. What makes the continued enmity between women particularly regrettable is the eagerness of the media to publicize it… An account of Steinem as an object of feminist hatred is important because it is a part of the history of feminism, and must be taken note of. Steinem never attacked or spoke out against Friedan publicly; when she was herself attacked, she responded only minimally to specific allegations… But even though Steinem did not attack Friedan, the perception of public battles between feminists defeats the cause both wish to serve.” (Pg. 303-304)
This is a highly informative, reasonably objective portrayal of the most “visible” leader of the Second Wave movement in feminism. It will be “must reading” for anyone wanting to know more about Steinem and her work.