Moving Beyond Words – Bonus Post

This blogger skimmed the ebook “Moving Beyond Words” by Gloria Steinem, published in 2012. It is a collection of articles about Phyllis Freud (a fictional character created to explore how things would be if Sigmund Freud was a female), Steinem’s experiences working at Ms. Magazine in the early 1970’s and other topics.

At Ms. Magazine, Steinem writes that it was like pulling teeth to try to convince Philip Morris to advertise its Virginia Slims cigarettes without the slogan “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” in the magazine. “No amount of saying that we, like men, are a segmented market, that we don’t all think alike, does any good.” Through the years, Ms. lost a vast quantity of ad dollars for sticking to its guns, not only at the hands of Philip Morris. “…But no matter how desirable the Ms. readership, our lack of editorial recipes and traditional homemaking articles proves lethal.” This, despite the fact that the Ms. ad sales reps did their homework in providing ample evidence of women’s lifestyle changes, to potential advertisers. Four years of research went into showing that “…women make their own travel choices and business trips” to try to persuade airlines to advertise in Ms. The airlines made various unrelated excuses for advertising elsewhere. The late 1980’s saw the financial troubles of the magazine continue to worsen– not caused by poor subscriber demand, but caused by misguided advertising departments run by men.

In her 1990’s article on economics, Steinem opines that her checkbook was a reflection of her values– what her spending consisted of, and in what amounts. This blogger thinks that the modern-day equivalent of that is physical keys and online passwords. The author also discusses unequal pay for men and women: “Because I was helping to establish speaking fees for other feminists and was giving away some of what I earned, I had become part of the problem.” Recently, this blogger has observed women doing themselves a similar disservice–perpetuating the degrading of all women with their behavior– but might not realize it: Many women post profile-photos on job websites, in which they are nearly topless. This blogger guesses that they think looking sexy will advance their careers. Wearing a strappy or sleeveless top in a professional photo is inappropriate. It’s as unprofessional as wearing flip-flops in a white-collar office. Wearing a top with short sleeves at minimum, would be appropriate. It appears that they want to be treated like sex objects rather than as professional workers who want to be taken seriously.

Read the book to learn of Steinem’s views on and/or experiences with Freud, the strongest woman in the world, working for a women’s magazine, Victoria Woodhull, economics and aging.