Welcome to my special edition of Sunday Movie Reviews. I try to have a book read a week so I can share my reviews and introduce you to books you may be interested in – plus reviews are always a great thing to do for fellow authors. But as life isn’t always predictable and doesn’t permit my finishing on time, I like to share Movie Reviews in lieu of. I only post movies that draw me in and captivate – good subject matter plus good acting. This week’s movie I’m sharing is a well-done biographic movie, tastefully done as a biopic docudrama including some live footage – The Glorias – the life of Gloria Steinem and the beginnings of her rise to infamous feminist, excellently portrayed by actress Julienne Moore as the older Gloria and three other actresses portraying her younger years.
My review is for the movie, but I’m sharing the book here – My Life on the Road for those interested in reading some Steinem. I think I will get this book too.
If you click on the ‘buy’ link, you can scroll down to the author bio and click ‘read more’. There is a copyrighted ‘excerpt’ of the book which plays out very close to how the movie was depicted, how the movie began with Gloria and her poor family, her love for her father and the sadness about her mother.
About the Author
Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. Includes “Secrets,” a new chapter!
When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road—by which I mean letting the road take you—changed who I thought I was. The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts.
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.
Praise for My Life on the Road
“Like Steinem herself, [My Life on the Road] is thoughtful and astonishingly humble. It is also filled with a sense of the momentous while offering deeply personal insights into what shaped her.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“A lyrical meditation on restlessness and the quest for equity . . . Part of the appeal of My Life is how Steinem, with evocative, melodic prose, conveys the air of discovery and wonder she felt during so many of her journeys. . . . The lessons imparted in Life on the Road offer more than a reminiscence. They are a beacon of hope for the future.”—USA Today
“A warmly companionable look back at nearly five decades as itinerant feminist organizer and standard-bearer. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to sit down with Ms. Steinem for a casual dinner, this disarmingly intimate book gives a pretty good idea, mixing hard-won pragmatic lessons with more inspirational insights.”—The New York Times
“Steinem rocks. My Life on the Road abounds with fresh insights and is as populist as can be.”—The Boston Globe
“In person and in her writing, Steinem exudes a rare combination of calm, humility and honesty about her weaknesses that explains all she has accomplished.”—Jezebel
My 5 Star Movie Review:
Four actresses played the gradual years of Gloria Steinem. Julienne Moore plays Steinem at her height of fame in the 70s and beyond. A journalist in the making in a male dominant world – almost Madmenesque in comparison is what Gloria is faced with when she comes back from India in her early twenties and wants to publish the stories she wrote of the suffering, abuse and oppression of women of India, but a male dominant world isn’t interested in women’s opinions, much less allowing them to publish back in the 1950s. This is the story about how she became an organizer and a rising star for the Women’s Liberation Movement. She was a crusader, culminated from her many experiences of interviewing women, inspiring her to stand up against a culture so dominated by the male perspective.
Gloria educated women about themselves and their worth. She grew up questioning why a woman’s mind wasn’t as important as a man’s. And although her aim was to fight for women’s equality and rights, we learn about her stagefright and the women who cheered her on and taught her to use her voice publicly.
The movie begins in Steinem’s childhood years where her father was a poor traveling antique salesman with a wild imagination that encapsulated Gloria’s imagination. Her mother was a depressed woman, and as the movie doesn’t go into many details, Gloria learns her mother was a writer in her earlier life, of course under a penned name because women writers weren’t published under their own names in those times. As Gloria grows through the movie and thinks back on pivotal moments in her life, the movie has scenes where two Glorias at different ages are seen conversing with each other. These scenes, as well as some beautiful dramatized ‘dream’ sequences also take us right into her life.
At twenty, Steinem went to India to study, which opened her curiosity and the doors that led her to journalism and her rise to an icon as a leader for women’s rights. Despite her stagefright, Steinem was a woman who asked questions – why can’t women do that? Why do only men get to become journalists, as she got herself in her first journalist reporting job in a man’s world. She asks why only men were editors. She wasnt brash, just natural and honest.
Steinem faced a lot of male dominated pushback. She got her first articles published at the New York Times, where she was hired to write for the ladies column, which of course was a stepping stone for her, but writing ‘Susie Homemaker’ articles wasn’t her interest. She went undercover as a Playboy bunny to get a real feel for how woman were treated like objects, then took the verbal tauntings and sexual harassment at the Times, by powerful men journalists who were womanizers, expecting her to jump up from her writing to serve them coffee, and subjected to sexual harassment. She’d had enough and left as we get a glimpse of the backroom politics of the era.
Steinem was a calm voice of reason in the midst of rising hatred and extremists. Her followers came from of all communities and walks of life – globally – all women of every race, creed and color looked to her as an icon of the times. Women’s equal rights movements were reborn again and this time millions of women around the world heard the call.
In the 1970s Steinem co-founded Ms. Magazine, she was responsible for initiating the beginning of the acceptance of Ms. to become a legal salutation.
Gloria Steinem came from humble beginnings and remains humble to this day. Gloria was and is one of the most inspiring, influential, bold and legendary women of modern history.
*This movie is available free if you have Amazon Prime.
One poignant line caught my attention and had me nodding in affirmation:
“Writers and dancers have fear of public speaking they are used to speaking through the written word or their art.”
Quotes that resonated from the movie – These quotes are taken from a recent speech Steinem gave at the Women’s March in 2018, footage shown at the end of the movie:
“Thank you for understanding that sometimes, we must put our bodies where our beliefs are. Sometimes, pressing send is not enough.”
“We are here and around the world for a deep democracry that says, we will not be quiet, we will not be controled.”
“God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections”
“We are linked, we are not ranked. We are the people.”
“We have people power and we will use it. This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and a true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wise with age, it is deep in diversity. And remember the constitution does not begin with ‘I the president’, it begins with we the people.”
If you’d like to read more about Gloria Steinem