A 77 year-old woman was standing before me, and my heart was practically beating out of my chest. She had the air of a much, much younger woman, impeccable style, and gesticulations so sharp and sincere, you’d have to be Wonder Woman not to feel her words. Yet, I’m sure Wonder Woman would be in just as much in awe as I was when I heard Gloria Steinem speak.
Yes, I saw Gloria Steinem speak, and it made me feel empowered, frustrated, empathetic, concerned, surprised, thrilled, and joyous all at the same time.
Empowered because I was sitting amongst a large group of women and men who each believed that some things—many things—in society weren’t right yet. And we were here together to find a way to make change.
Frustrated because although today’s society is more accepting of women who act like men, it is still against men who act like women. Frustrated because society says it’s okay for a little girl to like Batman, but a little boy can’t like Tinker Bell.
Empathetic because all the movements—women’s rights, minority rights, gay rights, environmental, and others—are all connected. We have more in common that we ever thought. If we help each other, we can all take steps toward achieving a more equal, clean, and friendly world.
Concerned because sex trafficking still exists. Prostitution is glorified by the media in such movies as Pretty Woman. Rape is still a taboo topic, even though it needs to be brought in the open and discussed honestly.
Surprised because we take the power of words for granted every day. Would you really call a young man a “boy” like you call the young women in the office “girls?” Why do we have to add adjectives when talking about women? Why say “chick lit” and “chick flicks,” when you don’t say “men’s books” and “prick flicks?” Why say female doctor and women writer, when you don’t say male doctor and men writer?
Thrilled because there is hope that one day we will no longer categorize ourselves. Someday, we’ll all just be human.
And joyous because I have the chance to make change. Like Ms. Steinem said, “change is like building a house. You start from the bottom up, not from the top down.”