Gloria Steinem undeterred by Vice’s “very masculine reputation”

Gloria Steinem in an elevator at the Vice Media building, where she is working on her series "Woman," for the cable channel Viceland, in New York. (Malin Fezehai/The New York Times)

As first reported by Women in the World last October, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, 82, struck a deal to host a TV show on Vice’s new cable TV channel, Viceland. The show, titled Woman, debuts next Tuesday and is Steinem’s first foray into television hosting during a media and activism career that’s spanned more than 50 years.

A TV show on network launched by Vice might seem like curious choice for one of the faces of modern feminism, given that it’s been described as “a publication historically characterized by a lewd masculinity.” But, in an interview with The New York Times, Steinem said that perceptions about the media company didn’t deter her from entering into a partnership because Vice has changed. She said she was aware of Vice’s “very masculine reputation” and vetted the company just to make sure. “It felt to me like an organization that had started one way and was becoming much more universal,” she said, adding that it reminded her of a publication that she worked for back in the 1960s: New York Magazine. “That was totally male — Jimmy Breslin and Tom Wolfe, and all these writers. And that also was open to change.” Vice has shown that it’s intended to grow up some. Last year, it hired a woman, Ellis Jones, to be the editor-in-chief of Vice magazine.

Steinem’s new show will have an eight episode run, each installment of which will tackle human rights violations and violence against women around the world. Some of the material will be uncomfortable to watch, but Steinem has been intent on painting a complex portrait of what life is like for women in the 21st century. The staff of the show is almost entirely women — the network’s most heavily female-staffed show. Steinem said she’s been offered TV projects before, but turned them down because the idea of network oversight has never rubbed her the right way. “Vice feels much more able to move quickly,” she said. Here’s a preview of what the show will look like:

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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