A Conversation with Gloria Steinem

On Thursday, November 12th Project Assistant, Mariaelena Fuentes and Program Assistant, Jennifer Solórzano chaperoned 3 students, Jennifer, Audrey and Alexis to “A Conversation with Gloria Steinem” at the Getty House. After registration, attendees were encouraged to mingle and network with the other women and students from various schools and organizations. Then we were prompted to sit under a beautiful white tent where we were greeted by a young lady who performed “That Girl,” a poem she wrote about being considered “that girl.” The presentation was powerful, calling out the many insults and references she receives being an overweight, African American girl growing up and the effect and toll these comments took on her self-esteem and her desire to live. The poem was inspiring, ending with the young women having hope that there is more for her in this world than what people choose to see. Soon after, a trio of young ladies came up and recited a poem about feminism and how people define what it means to be a woman, and how many women choose to distance themselves from that image, while simultaneously believing in equality.

Then they introduced Amy Wakeland, wife of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the interview with Gloria Steinem. The interview began by Wakeland asking Steinem questions that were submitted by students in the audience such as “How do we respond to people who say something offensive?” or “How does one explain to others when they don’t take you seriously because of your height or age?” Responses from her varied but she made very clear that she wasn’t there to tell these girls what to say or what to do, but instead, encourage them to express their own thoughts instead. Another important piece of advice when in the face of opposition is sometimes it is best to leave others with their opinion and move on to someone else who shares the same thoughts as you. Throughout the interview process, she consistently reinforced her belief in that, “feminism is for everyone, women and their part in the feminist struggle. Afterwards, the high school students were asked to go or for no one.” She explained to the audience the importance of speaking what’s on your mind, and calling out injustices when one sees it. Afterwards there was a Q & A with the audience. Although it was brief, there were many great questions ranging from feminist school clubs, to feminism in religion to transgender pick up a signed copy of her latest book, My Life on the Road.

 The event was very insightful filled with inspiring words from the speakers, the audience the supportive women and men that helped put on the event. Our students enjoyed every part of it, even the very long trip home, where there were discussions of Gloria’s comments prompting other discussions on social justice, current events and overall sharpening the minds of our students.