Saturday, January 23, 2016

Suicide Reviews: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

 My Life on the Road 

Synopsis: Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn't have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution.

My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria's growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality - and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women's Conference to her travels through Indian Country - a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.

In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and 'on the road' state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.

Date Published: October 27, 2015
Published By: Random House
Number of Pages: 304
Rating: 5/5

I have always admired Gloria Steinem as a pioneering feminist but I never really knew that much about her personal history until I read her memoir. But while reading My Life on the Road I noticed that Steinem isn't really interested in sharing her own story - or at least not very much of it. Instead, she shares the stories of people that she's met during her travels as an activist. 

It was so inspiring to read about so many people that have participated in advancing women's rights. Sometimes as a feminist, things can seem a little bleak (especially if you spend too much time on the internet.) But Gloria's tale is one of hope and optimism. She believes that things can change and demonstrates that things have indeed changed since the beginning of the feminist movement. Even when she has been met with hostility and ignorance, Gloria sees them as teaching moments instead of labeling them as 'bad' experiences. 

Gloria advocates for racial equality as well as gender equality and truly demonstrates what it means to be an intersectional feminist - concerned about all matters of injustice, not just the ones that affect her directly. Gloria talks about creating communal talking spaces where people listen to each other as the best way to enact change. She demonstrates that true connection between human beings is the way forward. 

I am so glad I went on this journey with Gloria. It has inspired me to be a better person as well as a better feminist. Everyone needs to read this book!

I read My Life on the Road for Emma Watson's feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. Find the Goodreads page here. 

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