Growing up in the 1950’s through 1970’s in Toledo, Ohio, my peers and I boasted of Danny Thomas, our world renowned Art Museum and Zoo, the Mudhens, Jeep, Tony Packo’s; and, as we entered the era of Woodstock, Gloria Steinem. She was our own internationally known “women’s libber” who proclaimed that women need to break free from the patriarchal shackles of old. We didn’t need men (“a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”); we could raise children without them if we wished. We could have sex whenever we wanted, with whomever we wanted. And if we didn’t want to raise children, it was our right to abort them. Our bodies were our own, and we owed nothing to anyone,
Well, now that Gloria is back in the news again, this Toledoan wants to tell her: You are a big liar, Gloria. It was all a lie, and your lies caused suffering for millions of young, impressionable girls who believed you.
According to Gloria, it was normal and acceptable for a woman to have sex with a man after meeting him just once (just as they did on TV shows and in movies). Girls believed her, and did.
According to Gloria, it was normal and acceptable to have as many sexual partners as you wished. Girls believed her, and did.
According to Gloria, it was normal and acceptable to have an abortion, even more than one. Girls believed her, and did.
According to Gloria, it was normal and acceptable to partner with whomever you wished for as long as you wished whenever you wished without any bonds or vows. Girls believed her, and did.
But now, Gloria, we know that you sold us a big lie.
Women who have sex with a man they hardly know come away with little respect and no love.
Women who have multiple sexual partners come away with sexually transmitted diseases and even less respect and less love.
Women who have abortions come away with regret, depression, physical damage to their reproductive organs, infertility, suicidal thoughts, even less self-respect, and the incurable loss of a loved one whom they killed but always remember.
Women who have children with multiple partners or no partners come away with children who are desperate for fathers, unstable homes, less education, and in greater poverty.
Gloria Steinem did more to objectify and demean women than all of the “patriarchal” men who came before her.
Before Gloria, girls could stand up to those men and say “No, this is not right,” and walk away with heads held high and society behind them.
After Gloria, those good girls were made to feel prudish and suppressed because now it was not only “good” to objectify your body (after all, it’s yours), but it was “liberating.” Now it wasn’t only demeaning men who were telling us to go ahead and just “do it,” it was Gloria and the “cool” Cosmo women, too.
In the end, they not only threw millions of naïve girls under the bus of “liberation,” but the millions of unborn babies who suffered the ultimate punishment. Meanwhile, the men walked away, laughing.
I was reminded of your legacy when I was thinking of an old acquaintance who recently passed away. Many years ago, during the height of your heyday, she decided to abort a baby because she and her husband didn’t want more than two. A few years ago, one of her children died tragically, and the pain in that mother’s eyes was something I will never forget. She realized the lie after it was too late, and I am sure it hastened her own subsequent death. Now all that remains is her husband and the one child, and I wonder if that child ever knew that there was another sibling who could have been there.
I will pray for you Gloria, even though you may not want them, especially when you wear that t-shirt proclaiming that you had an abortion. I pray that someday you too will see the lie that you lived and spread, and learn that it is the truth that sets you free.
God help us all.