Rare images and great moments in the activist and author's extraordinary life
1) “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.” (1970)
2) “A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.”(1972)
3) “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
4) “On my 70th birthday I was going to get a tramp stamp.” (2011)
5) “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after”
6) “When I was hosting the Today show, I had a little fat removed from above my eyes so I didn’t look like Mao Zedong and I could wear my contacts. It looked worse afterward.” (2011)
7) “So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?…Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you lookin’ good!” “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!” — If Men Could Menstruate, 1978
8) Her most famous quote is “women need men like fish need a bicycle,” but Gloria is a great lady, and great ladies give credit where credit is due. So she corrected us in 2000 when we misattributed this famous quote to her, when in fact Australian Irina Dunn came up with it. Steinem wrote a letter to Time in 2000,
“You credit me with the witticism “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” In fact, Irina Dunn, a distinguished Australian educator, journalist and politician, coined the phrase back in 1970 when she was a student at the University of Sydney. She paraphrased the philosopher who said, “Man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle.” Dunn deserves credit for creating such a popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men more than vice versa.”
That’s called class.
Watch TIME’s Belinda Luscombe talk with Gloria Steinem about her undercover assignment as a Playboy bunny at the start of her journalism career, whether her looks had something to do with her success as a women’s rights activist, and what she likes about young feminists.