Inside the Mind of a Feminist Icon

Steinem weighs in on women and Limbaugh

By Kellie Onaga
|  Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012  |  Updated 6:16 PM PDT
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Inside the Mind of a Feminist Icon

The fallout isn't over yet from Rush Limbaugh's stinging verbal attack on a Georgetown University law student and advocate of birth control.

Advertisers continue to pullout from his radio talk show, and some stations are even dropping his segment - after Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" on air.  Limbaugh has since apologized.

But now, we get a glimpse into the mind of feminist icon, lecturer and author Gloria Steinem on Limbaugh's admittedly crass comments.

The Oakland Tribune spoke to Steinem at the 2012 Women's Conference, sponsored by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, in San Ramon.

As far as Rush is concerned, Steinem said we're listening to him hang himself.  She said she's glad to see his sponsors withdrawing, adding he should be fired.  

Steinam said Limbaugh has been saying horrible things for a long time.

Some other interesting topics she touched upon - the political uproar over contraception.  Steinem said there is indeed a conservative "war on women," as Democrats have suggested.  And it's been there for a long time.  But - it wasn't always that way.  In fact, this may surprise you, but she said the Republican Party supported the Equal Rights Amendment before the Democrats did.  But, what's happening now is that a small percentage of "religious and economic extremists" have become the voice for the party, according to Steinem.

She added reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right - and deciding what happens to one's own body is as basic as freedom of speech.

 As to the status of the Feminist Revolution, she said there's much more ahead.  It hasn't even been a century since women could vote, and it's been much more recent that women have been able to sit on juries or go to law school.  She said we're only maybe a third the way through the revolution.  

Turning to television - particularly reality TV stars like Snookis and the Kardashians.  Does Steinem think they are setting women back?  She said yes - because they're portrayed as ornaments on TV - and the media shapes our views of what we can be.

So what should women do now to ensure equality in the future?  Steinem said first of all, women should get their voice heard and vote.  And pay extra attention to how you use your money.  Choose wisely, as both contributors and consumers.

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