Images of Women in Western Civilization

Gloria Steinem and her Role as a Feminist

Gloria Steinem is known for her role in the 1960s and 70s feminist movement. During this period women aggressively championed for equal access to social, political economic opportunities that were a preserve of men. Society had created a culture where women were discriminated in most aspects of life. The media helped propagate some of these discriminations against women. Gloria Steinem’s role as a journalist and writer also propelled her position as pioneers of the women’s liberation movement. At one point in her career as a journalist, she had to adopt a male pseudonym to champion for women’s rights. In her fight for women rights, she co-founded a feminist magazine. Ms. Foundation which is also her creation provided a platform where women championed for their rights in a bid to realize a just and safe world. This foundation is in existence to-date with a mission to empower women and prevent discrimination by race, sexual orientation disability or age. In its mandate, Ms. Foundation states that the fight to elevate women to equal treatment in the society is not over. This is an indication that women continue to struggle to access equal opportunities that should be available to all. Gloria Steinem has influenced both the US government and United Nations resolutions that have helped to deal with the widespread gender inequality. In her role as a feminist crusader, she impacted the lives of many young women and contributed to modern civilization where men and females have access to equal opportunities (Steinem, 2012, p. 150).

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Catfights and Challenges to Feminism

In the 1970s Catfights were common among women who often fought for men or children. Causes of these fights are stereotypically out of feminine reasons. Douglas portrays the catfights as a challenge to the liberation of women since they pitch the career women against the traditional women. Therefore the struggle by feminists to empower and protect the rights of women in the society by ensuring that women and men get access to equal opportunities in the society is compromised by such acts. This indicates that women can create barriers to efforts by feminists. Catfights as used by Douglas refer to the setbacks to women liberation. It is difficult for all women to embrace the feminist ideologies. Traditional women prefer the status quo and may be opposed to the liberation of women as championed by the feminists (Douglas, 1994, p. 221-230).


Feminism is the advocacy for the rights of women aimed at ending the discrimination of women from accessing available opportunities in the society. Douglas has presented various discriminations against women in 1960s and 1970s. These discriminations occurred in a highly patriarchal society and developed into a social norm. During this time the media did not cover the feminist demonstrations objectively and portrayed feminists as deviant. Some of the earliest feminists such as Robi Morgan faced challenges in their fight to liberate women from social, cultural and political discrimination. Today’s gains in the fight for the rights of women can be attributed to the initiatives of early crusaders such as Robi Morgan, Gloria Steinem, and other feminists. However, the elements of inequity are still persistent globally hence feminists still have a major role to perform (Hooks, 2002).



Douglas, S. J. (1994). Where the girls are: Growing up female with the mass media. New York: Times Books.

Hooks, B. (2000). Feminism is for everybody (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Steinem, G. (2012). Moving beyond words (1st ed.). New York: Open Road Integrated Media.