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Gloria Steinem Campaigns for Hillary Clinton

Steinem's Shocking "Secretary" Statement. Do You Agree?

What's going on with women lately? Yesterday we told you about Charlotte Allen's Washington Post editorial, and now Gloria Steinem's joined in? While campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton in Texas this weekend, Gloria Steinem spouted off several potentially surprising statements. The major coverage of the story has focused on her statement that John McCain's experience as a POW has not prepared him for the job of president, saying,

“I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

The statement that stood out to me however, wasn't about Clinton's opponents, but a statement about Hillary, and more broadly, the current state of feminism. Steinem remarked about whether Hillary's experience as first lady was good preparation for the job of president. She said it might make people,

“finally admit that, say, being a secretary is the best way to learn your boss’s job and take it over.”

Steinem concluded the campaign rally with a top ten list of reasons to support Hillary Clinton, which included: “We get Bill Clinton as Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Were you shocked that Gloria Steinem would liken Hillary's time as first lady as being the boss's secretary? Are her ideas of feminism outdated, or right on?


Join The Conversation
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Wow. Thanks Blondie99.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I heard this remark on the radio yesterday afternoon. I'm staggered by how strenuously the feminist brigade defends the Clintons. I consider Bill one of the most misogynistic men in public life. As for her remarks, being a POW may not make you a better candidate for president, but it shows that you have strength, fortitude, principles, integrity, and tenacity: all excellent qualifications. What has Hillary done that can compare? Anyone who thinks a secretary can easily assume the bosses' job is just delusional--and I have been a secretary. For that matter, if I were Hillary, I would be ticked off at the comparison of my legal career and tenure as First Lady to secretarial work. Much of what the "women's lib" movement of the seventies did has proved (IMO) to be damaging to women's social roles and credibility. I bought in to it: was a card-carrying member of NOW and attended a few pickets in the '90's pushing a stroller. To the best of my knowledge, Steinem did not marry until she was 66, and never had children. So how can she relate to most of us?
Blondie99 Blondie99 9 years
Citizen, sometimes with these article reaction polls there isn't an option for the opposing viewpoint. All of the options given included some semblence of disatisfaction with the comment. I, on the other hand, believe that Hillary served as a sort of secretary to the president as First Lady and that this experience prepared her well. A lot of modern feminists believe that taking credit for what are traditionally female positions and careers and demonstrating teir inherent value does more for womens rights than telling women that they deserve better than that. Being a secretary is a hard and demanding job. On the ohter hand, if you take being compared to a secretary as an insult that means that it is a lowly job that does not warrant respect. What does that say to the hard working, intelligent women who contribute a lot to businnes, politics, etc as secretaries.
Kaysnowboarder Kaysnowboarder 9 years
This is brutal - I admire Gloria Steinem and she has done a lot for woman around the world. I do understand her point she just did not communicate it well but it certainly does not deserve all the hostility that has been posted. She will always be controversial. That is what is great abot her as well.
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
Gloria Steinem is a total B*tch!!!! Now, I will say that I am not one that usually backs John McCain, but I will sure as hell defend him here. Her attacks on him and what he went through were totally unnecessary. If she wants to say that being in the military has no bearing on being Commander in Chief, that is one thing, but to come out and make jokes, to belittle the barbaric treatment that he went through for five years, that is completely unacceptable. And seriously, what does Gloria Steinem know about being Commander in Chief? Being a supporter of feminism, and a candidate that supports everything but feminism in this race, does nothing to make her an expert in that area. Sorry, but that's just my view.
piper23 piper23 9 years
It's not good to speculate on the lives of other people. BUT if I had been in her shoes I would have kicked Bill's a## to the curb. That's one of the main reasons why I do not respect her. So in that respect I think lilkimbo is onto something. Otherwise why would such a brilliant woman stay with a slimeball like Bill Clinton?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
When talking about a REAL secretary, she might have a point. But in regards to being President, she is so far off! The Clinton's could release the records that would show how she was involved in Bill's presidency, but they don't. That says so much to me. That could help her so much, so they must be hiding something. Also, her first job after college she got because of Bill. They literally called for Bill, and he turned it down and said you should talk to my girlfriend Hillary. The amount that she has accomplished with out the aid of her husband is TINY. I think it is the antithesis of feminism to ride your husband's coattails. Also, on the biography I saw, which could have been biased, it said that she knew he was cheating on her before they even got married! I just don't see how people could think that Hillary was a figurehead for the feminist movement. "She won't win against McCain running on experience - and I think Obama is right to take the other tactic of running on better judgment." Great point!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
And, while no one knows her motives, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to argue that Hillary's success isn't due in part to Bill's success. Could she have achieved the same success on her own? Maybe, but we'll never know.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Harmonyfrance, if you read my comment a bit more carefully, you will see that I am stating what the book says, not my own thoughts. In fact, I explicitly state that I agree with some things in the book and not with others.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
lilkimbo and others:I can say with absolute certainty that the only person that knows why Hillary stayed with Bill is Hillary herself. Any speculation that it was for political reasons or anything else is just that...speculation.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Citizen, I wasn't directing my comments at you, either. (I guess I was being unclear, not you!) I just hate when people say things like, "I didn't have to take a secretary job because I was shown other career paths." In a lot of fields, a secretarial/support staff job is the first step in a career path. Just because someone's a secretary, it doesn't mean that person doesn't have a good education, etc. And Bella, I agree! While I don't agree with Steinem on this (or a lot of other things), I do think she made a significant difference in the history and course of feminism, and continues to do so. Lastly, polarbear, I agree with you, as well. I kind of see the point behind what she's saying with the secretary comment, but it's poorly worded and doesn't really get her point across. I thought the McCain comments were much worse than the secretary ones!
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
i get what she's saying, but there is definitely a better way to say it. makes sense, you learn by observing and example, from bill's experience, and even her own. like her failure with health care reform while she was first lady.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I wouldn't call Hillary's time in the White House "secretarial," but she did definitely have much more of a supportive function than a leadership one IMO--even when she was allowed to take a "leadership" stand, one has to admit that she did have to reflect the White House and promote its agenda and interests. She was the First Lady, not the Co-President, after all. I'm a secretary as well BTW, and I actually like that term better than "administrative assistant."
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Wow. The hatred for Steinem is incredible.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Citizen - No no, I wasn't directing that at you, I just mean in general why did the term secretary get thrown out? I don't understand what was wrong with that word to begin with. She uses the word secretary and feminists gasp... why? Thats what I don't get...
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Of course there's nothing wrong with being a secretary. I was commenting more on the fact that term seems to have fallen out of fashion in favor of other titles like administrative assistant — also that I wasn't sure that Hillary considered what she did in the White House as administrative support to Bill. That's all. Sorry for any confusion :)
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I think she did so so much for feminism years ago, but the problem with the modern feminsts is that they haven't evolved with the rest of society. Her statement on McCain was ridiculous...obviously just being a POW doesn't make you presidential material, but there's a lot more to him than that. Besides, his experiences as a POW certainly say a lot about his character and I think it's childish to attack him that way. As for her secretary statements, I think she was trying to make the point that women who work as Admins are just as smart as their bosses. Speaking from my personal experince and the industry I started working in, there were far more women, but it was the men who were always at the top. Why that was, is a whole other topic, but I just think she was trying to get feministy comments in there. So, yes I think her views are oudated.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
She is such a great example of feminism. I mean she was one of the first in her movement to have the courage to marry a wealthy man and then never do anything again.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Gawd Gloria go home you freaking socialist. Sorry your all alone in the world and not relevant anymore.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I was wondering the same thing Cabaker!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I was wondering the same thing, cabaker. I have a college education; I graduated at the top of my class; I am starting graduate school in the fall. And I am a secretary. For the field I want to get in to (politics), it's a good stepping stone to meet people and prove to people that I am a hard worker.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
This reminds me of that award acceptance speech some actress gave, and thanked "the _late_ Gloria Steinem" for her groundwork in feminism or whatever. Hee hee. That has to suck. She apparently put out a news item the next day that she was still alive.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
why is "secretary" a bad word again? i guess i missed that... excellent point piper!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I agree, piper! There's an interesting book called the Hillary Trap. It's much more complex than I can explain in a CitizenSugar comment, but the gist of the book is that Hillary is actually the anti-feminist because she could have been very successful on her own, but instead she used a man to get her to the top and then stayed with him simply to advance her career. It's like she sends the message that the only/easiest way for a woman to get to the top of her field is to ride a man's coattails. I agree with some things in the book and disagree with others, but it's definitely an interesting read.
piper23 piper23 9 years
And another thing about Ms. Steinem, why is she endorsing a woman who stayed with her cheating womanizing husband? I don't get it.
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