A Pedestal Is A Prison, Like Any Confined Space

Gloria Steinem at any event in 2013.

Gloria Steinem at an event in 2013.

A pedestal is as much a prison has any small,
confined space.

Here are some of my favorite quotes of feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, as Women’s History Month comes to a close.

If women could sleep their way to the top, there’d be a lot more women at the top.

Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.

God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.

Anger is energizing. The opposite of anger is depression, which is anger turned inward.

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like daughters.

Once we give up searching for approval we often find it is easier to earn respect.

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.

A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 30, 2016, in feminism, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. That’s pretty weird and interesting that she’s Christian Bale’s step mom. She wasn’t the one he assaulted was it? There was a crazy incident where Christian Bale assaulted his own mother or something. But I wasn’t sure if it could be his step mom that this happened. Pretty messed up either way…Yeah like I said, I think I know where she was coming from and especially considering the time she said it. But it could have been interpreted as “misandrist”

    • It was his own mom that he assaulted. Too bad he’s such a hot head. Gloria was his stepmom. Christian Bale’s dad was a political activist who Gloria married. And then his dad died of cancer or something. Kids aren’t always like their parents. I’m completely the opposite of my parents politically. I can only assume that Gloria’s husband would never behave that way.

  2. “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”

    It’s weird that others like this. I liked the rest she wrote, but it feels like, it could have been said in a different way. I get during the time she wrote it or said it, it was in a time with more sexism and probably society say women as dependent of men or having to have a man. I get that and don’t think women should have to have a man or feel to, for the sake of it or for societal validation. But it;s one thing to say that, it’s another thing to make an analogy where it’s like a woman isn’t missing anything if she;s without a man or men. Afterall, a fish without a bicycle, is missing nothing right? A bike has no use at all for a fish and how it operates right?

    I don’t know I don’t think I could see men if they are honest seeing it the same way. I don’t think a man without a woman is like a fish without a bicycle. Sure you will survive and live, but if doing so makes you unhappy, I would feel it is a “need”. Not many men I know would need being with a woman to be happy as they sure as hell wouldn’t be happy with women’s affection and attention. Yeah you can say there are single people and men who are fine. Well yeah if you’re looking at it in a relationship perspective. I’m looking at it as with woman as in presence and being with women in a relationship, dating, or sexual capacity. I doubt too many men are happily single if they aren’t having sex with women, not by their choosing, but whatever. And I hate the term people need people by the other poster. Yeah people need people in the sense of friendship, and love and communication. But, it takes it away from men’s specific worth. I don’t think anyone questions or should question women’s importance for men. I mean aren’t there studies of men going back to relationships, divorce or marriages with women, because it apparently is harder for men to be alone or without a companion than women. Men die younger and seem to handle break ups harder and don’t even get into the sex aspect too and what emotional/physical affect it has on men let alone unhappiness.

    • After I wrote this post, and before I got the comments, I was thinking about writing about this quote.

      I agree that it made a lot of sense to say this at the time. Even though it wasn’t entirely true even then. It’s definitely true in the sense I wrote about it in a response above. I had friends whose moms felt like they needed a man so much that they would put up with Abusive situations. A woman needs that like a Fish needs a bicycle. I do feel that humans need one another. But I also recognize that some relationships are toxic. And that some people never marry for one reason or another even if they might like to. And they can still thrive, so long as they find other ways to have strong, loving connections. Gloria Steinem did actually marry eventually, and she was Christian Bale’s stepmom.

  3. My favorite is the one about the fish and the bicycle. What a great way to say nonsense is nonsense.

  4. I just love her quotes. Great compilation, (y) …

  5. Love the fish and bicycle quote!

    • And I really appreciate the sentiment behind it.

      When I was growing up my divorced mom wouldn’t remarry unless it was a healthy relationship. But I had friends whose moms felt like they had to have a man, and their moms would stick with harmful men who they really didn’t need. Who are the opposite of someone they needed. It was hard to witness.

      • As I see it, a single woman doesn’t have it any easier than a partnered woman, and vice-versa. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but there continues to be a “grass is greener on the other side” attitude. A partnership, or even choosing to be single is an individual decision, and a ‘responsibility’ either way, and so I’ve never understood why some go into either thinking it is easier. A woman doesn’t “need” a man at all times, and under all circumstances and vice-versa, but people need people, even if it is the comfort, strength and love towards our own selves.

      • Yes, we need people. But we need people who will help rather than harm. So I agree. 🌺

  6. Gloria’s statements are witty and perceptive; a true feminist, subsumed in humanistic ideals.

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