Gloria Steinem: righting the hierarchy

There’s a great interview by Marianne Schnall in this morning’s Huffington Post Steinem Interview featuring feminist emissary, Gloria Steinem, still going strong at 77. On Monday, August 15, HBO will broadcast a biographical piece, “In Her Own Words.” While in our household we do have satellite TV, we’re unfortunately not signed up for HBO.

But back to the interview, which summarizes many goals still eluding one half of the human race:

1. Men sharing equally in child-raising.

2. Greater participation of women in the political process. (The U. S. ranks 70th.)

3. Ending domestic violence, sex trafficking, rape, serial killing, aborting female fetuses, female genital mutilation, child marriage, denying female children progtein, health care and education.

Where the interview misses crucially is its omission of the salient catalyst to affording balance to the gender hierarchy: the need to humanize men. In fairness, while Steinem does talk of the need to redefine gender roles, the crux is that men, the still entrenched power brokers, have to change to significantly improve women’s lot in life. I remember this poll taken several years back in which women were asked what they desired most in a male partner. It wasn’t looks, intelligence, even success. It was sensitivity. I’d go for empathy. Think about it, men: put yourself into women’s shoes and you’d change your ways on the quick.

The best psychology reading I’ve done over the years has been Carl Jung’s notion of anima and animus–that there exist countering social selves at the unconscious level, female and masculine dispositions if you will, that demand acknowledgement if we’re to find psychological wholeness.

Only as men give expression to their repressed anima can they find integration and well-being. Finding balance, it surely would make for a better world.

In liberating women, men ultimately liberate themselves.

Author: RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

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