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Gloria Steinem Speaks at Rutgers University on Media and Reality

Famous Feminist Visits Livingston Campus Thanks to Rutgers Institute for Women's Leadership
Kaila Boulware

PISCATAWAY, NJ—Gloria Steinem, a famous author, lecturer, editor, feminist activist, and opinion leader on issues of equality, spoke at the Livingston Student Center.

The Institute for Women’s Leadership Consortium organized this lecture. Members include Douglass Residential College, Center for Women and Work, Institute for Women and Art, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and several other organizations

The lecture was sponsored by Susan and Michael J. Angelides.

Steinem gave a 30-minute talk entitled “Media: More Real than Reality” in which she spoke of the cross section between media, including social media, and reality.  Steinem spoke of the transformation of media and how “for the first time, media has given us the power to compose our own message.”

Steinem countered this statement by saying that to truly connect with people one needs to “use all five senses.”

In regards to Steinem’s activism, she spoke of “the digital divide” and how “it is a pretty good proxy for power”. Steinem stressed the importance of actual human contact. “Revolutions don’t happen by pressing send”, she said.

After her speech, Steinem opened the floor  to the public, which was was invited to ask questions or tell the crowd about an organizing movement.

Questions included:

  • “What do you say to people who oppose feminism?”
  • “How do we get the media to cover more women-centered stories?”
  • “How do you work feminism into existing social structures?”

Steinem answered a question regarding whether or not anyone can call himself or herself a feminist with an eloquent response: “We have the power to name ourselves.”

Participants also mentioned meetings and groups they were part of such as the New Jersey League of Women Voters, and the student group Women Organizing Against Harassment.

The crowd was pleased with the lecture and with Steinem's attitude.

Rutgers sophomore Jenny Fernandez said, “The way [Steinem] portrayed her positive feminism and encouraged the younger generation to continue demanding equality was so fulfilling.”

 Steinem closed the lecture by encouraging the audience to do two things:

"Number one: Introduce yourself to people you don’t know," Steinem said.

"And two: If you promise me that you will do one outrageous act in the name of social justice within the next twenty-four hours, if you do just one outrageous thing, I swear I will do one outrageous act too."