The f-word

Gloria Steinem explains who turned the word “feminism” into a “bad word”

(L) Getty Images; (R) Reuters

Gloria Steinem, 81, is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. OK, well, she’s not mad per se — she was actually quite calm and composed during a visit to CBS This Morning on Friday. But the messages she’s delivering while on a press tour for her new book are laced with rebellious undertones and astute observations on the state of feminism.

“The word feminism has been turned into a bad word by Rush Limbaugh who talks about feminazis every day,” Steinem said after host Norah O’Donnell asked why some, like Meryl Streep, refuse to label themselves feminists. “But if people just go to the dictionary and discover that it [feminist] means a person — male or female — who believes in the full equality of women and men … then they do subscribe to it, and it is a majority now, which it didn’t used to be.”

In response to a question from Charlie Rose, Steinem said pay equity is not the most important issue facing women today. “It’s very, very important,” Steinem responded, but the most important issue, she said, is violence against women. “Because there is so much worldwide, whether it’s sexualized violence … or domestic violence … for the first time that we know of, there are now fewer females on earth than males,” Steinem said. “When a country is violent against females, it’s the biggest indicator that they will be militarily violent too. It needs to be part of our foreign policy.”

Earlier this week, Cosmopolitan published a Q&A with the feminist icon. Steinem touched on an array of topics in the interview including Hillary Clinton’s chances in the 2016 race, Miley Cyrus’ “extreme lack of taste” and Steinem’s sex life. And if you’ve been on the lookout for a good comeback if someone calls you a bitch, Steinem has it for you. She said, “The best thing I’ve ever thought of to say when somebody calls you a bitch is ‘Thank you.’ I mean, it totally disarms them.”

Steinem has been on a tear lately — and will be for the foreseeable future.

After the second Republican GOP debate, Steinem railed against former Hewlett-Packard CEO and presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina for her remarks on Planned Parenthood during the debate. “What she said about Planned Parenthood was a 100 percent lie,” Steinem wrote in a Facebook post.

And earlier this month, Women in the World broke the story about Steinem’s new vice, her role as a correspondent for a forthcoming news show developed by Vice Media. According to a source at Vice, the 81-year-old will be Vice’s newest and oldest on-camera personality as she travels the world filing dispatches on women’s issues from far-flung corners of the globe.

And back in May, Steinem led a group of peace activists from 15 countries in a walk across the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. If Steinem keeps this pace up, she’ll be giving Felimina Rotundo a run for her money.

She didn’t call us a bitch, but thank you, Gloria — for kicking so much ass over the years, and now.

Watch the full interview above or at CBS and read the Q&A at Cosmopolitan.


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