November 22, 1985 · Cavalier Daily

Steinem's Message - Its Time Has Come

This letter to the editor by a student reacts to Gloria Steinem's recent lecture at UVa on second-wave feminism. The writer expresses disappointment in what it views as UVa's ongoing obliviousness to feminist issues and hope that Steinem's talk will encourage people to question social values that promote discrimination against women, and racial and sexual minorities.


1985-11-22 - Steinem's Message - Its Time Has Come.pdf
Lisa Miller
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Steinem's Message - Its Time Has Come
On Tuesday evening in Old Cabell Hall, the most prominent figure of the feminist movement gave an inspiring, heartwarming speech. The sellout crowd welcomed her with dramatic applause and a standing ovation at the end of the evening. At a university where feminism seems to be a word hardly spoken and quietly ignored, Gloria Steinem's presentation was, at least for this feminist, a welcome change. Ms. Steinem pointed that, unless she has caused some trouble by tomorrow, she has not done her job, and she encouraged all of us to do at least one outrageous act during the next 24 hours. My outrageous act, I've decided, is this letter, which is about to take a radical turn and will probably disturb the majority of the people who read it. In Gloria Steinem's words, I certainly hope so.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the evening was that the entire University could not have been there. I am convinced that Ms. Steinem has the ability to turn this place upside down and give the radical feminists of this University, few as there may be, a chance to open some minds. AIthough Ms. Steinem concentrated on women and their changing role in society today, she was far from oblivious to the changing needs and roles of minorities and, yes, even men. Ms. Steinem expressed her hope that there were members of the audience who were hearing a feminist speaker for the first time and that the energy of the group would spill over into other members of the University com- munity. She was not speaking to women alone, but to a community which she hopes will have the intelligence and spirit to recognize and try to change the many injustices of our time. As Sharon Davie, director of the Women's Studies program here, said in her letter to The Cavalier Daily yesterday, feminism is not a dogma, but a way of living.
I was disappointed with both The University Journal's and The Cavalier Daily's coverage of Ms. Steinem. Had I not attended the speech, I would have been disillusioned by what I read in both newspapers. The articles said nothing about the charisma, stage presence and personality of Ms. Steinem and her emphasis on changing society as a whole, not simply changing women's roles. Ms. Steinem, I believe, was trying to tell us to question what we have always taken for granted. Question, that is, why we do the things we do, why we harbor prejudice, why we are so frightened of recognizing injustice, inequality and discrimination and, finally, why we are so afraid of change.
Perhaps the message that will stand out in my mind most prominently is this: Imagine, if you will, having all the dreams, all the aspirations, all the zest for a life that you have now been born female, or black, or into any of the groups which struggle still to control their own lives, their own destinies, their own choices.
That is Ms. Steinem's message. That we, as a changing society and changing world, must realize that it is no longer enough to simply accept society's prejudices and injustices, that it is time to question roles which we have taken for granted all our lives. Question feminism, question your friends, your prejudices, your fears, yourself and, you will come to the conclusion, as I have, that change is necessary and, in our society, is long overdue.
Lisa Miller
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Date Added January 14, 2017
Date Modifed December 9, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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