Sunday, October 23, 2016

"My Life On The Road"

Gloria Steinem, now in her eighties, has been a lifelong journalist and political activist. A founder of Ms. Magazine, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, in 2013. Her work as a feminist organizer has taken her around the world, and for Steinem it's the traveling itself that has "felt like home."

"My Life On The Road" ($18 in paperback from Random House; also for Amazon Kindle) is arranged not chronologically but thematically. The seven chapters examine her early life (the book is in large part an homage to her father, a "rootless wanderer"); the college lecture circuit; why she doesn't drive; political activism; and more. It is full of anecdotes and optimism.

It's also the 2016-2017 Book in Common at Butte College (, Chico State (, Butte County libraries, and other organizations, with frequent community events related to issues raised by Steinem.

The author is scheduled to appear at Chico State's Laxson Auditorium, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. as part of her "My Life On The Road Tour." Tickets are now on sale through Chico Performances (; $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, $10 for youth, and free for Chico State and Butte College students.

"My father," she writes, "was unable to resist swearing, and my mother had asked that he not swear around his daughters, so he named the family dog Dammit." He always seemed to choose "spontaneity over certainty."

So with taxi drivers she's met over the years. One Manhattan cab driver tried to impress her with the celebrities he's encountered, including Donald Trump, saying he "has such an ego, he even tried to impress me."

Steinem supported Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and encountered "Hillary Haters," women who agreed with her politics but couldn't understand how she continued a marriage in which, despite Bill's affairs, power was equally distributed. But when Steinem introduced the Haters to Hillary, "this woman they had imagined as smart, cold, and calculating turned out to be smart, warm, and responsive."

What has Steinem learned about politics? "Voting isn't the most we can do, but it is the least. To have a democracy, you have to want one."

No comments: