Gloria Steinem visits Boulder, discusses her newest book and the election

Though she never personally got behind the steering wheel of a car, towering activist figure Gloria Steinem spent decades on the road as a journalist, a feminist spokeswoman and organizer.

On Friday, she discussed her newest book, My Life on the Road during her visit to Boulder. The event was sponsored by the Boulder Bookstore and drew a crowd of more than 750 people to the First United Methodist Church of Boulder.

“The road is a great way of living in the present. It’s right up there with meditation and great sex,” Steinem laughed.

Steinem detailed the influence of her parents, her experience at the National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977 and some of the characters she met along her journey. She attributed her “survival” through the years to sharing community and social justice with others.

Earlier in the day, she spoke at the Colorado Democrats office in Boulder about issues facing women all across the country and the importance of voting. Steinem also expressed her opinions about the upcoming election at her book talk.

“This presidential campaign is all about bullying,” she said. “Donald Trump is a bully.”

Steinem, a fierce Hillary Clinton supporter, claimed that women have a difficult time backing Clinton because they fear they will also be ridiculed.

Rosalind Wiseman, author of the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes (which inspired the movie Mean Girls), moderated the event and also threw in her two cents about the election.

“It’s just so difficult to understand why somebody who is so brazenly nasty, mean, inaccurate and callous is so attractive to people. Well, some people,” she said.

Steinem also touched on her take of the newest scandal involving each candidate’s health.

“Look at [Trump]. He says he’s healthy? Listen, when those expensive suit jackets fly open, I’m telling you there’s a gelatinous mass.”

The remainder of the event was a Q&A session with people in the audience. Steinem fielded questions surrounding book suggestions, how to handle being shut down as an activist and her impression of inclusivity in the mainstream media, among others.

Olivia Storze, a senior studying international studies at the University of Denver, raised a question around sexual assault.

“I go to a college campus where 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted. What’s your advice to me, as a feminist, about a world that still needs changing?”

Steinem said, “We still have a long way to go.”

Storze drove up from Denver with her two friends, Rachel Ledon and Sarah Hodes. They were impressed with the event.

“There were a lot of older people in the audience that have lived through a lot of this. But Gloria really had a way of speaking to the younger generation … it was like she could see the future,” Ledon said.

“Her life on the road really keeps her young,” Hodes said. “She is still speaking out even though she has to speak to different generations about different problems.”

The final question asked was, “If you could go back and change anything in your life, what would it be?”

Steinem said she would have done everything faster.

Contact CU Independent General Assignment Editor Trin Clark at trinity.clark@colorado.edu.

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