Form and Content
Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and founder of Ms. magazine, has been a writer throughout her career. Most of her works have been essay-length magazine articles, and this book is a compendium of selections of those writings. It is a volume of essays that give, in various ways, insights into the experience and character of the author. Some of the essays are comic (“If Men Could Menstruate”), some are sad (“Ruth’s Song”), and others evoke horror (“The International Crime of Genital Mutilation”). Some are autobiographical (“I Was a Playboy Bunny”) and others are about public figures (“Marilyn Monroe: The Woman Who Died Too Soon”). All are told from a feminist perspective; that is, they flow out of Steinem’s conviction that women matter and that women’s needs are important. These essays are widely varied in content and focus. What they have in common is that each illustrates an aspect of Steinem’s view of the world and her commitment to women’s concerns.
The volume begins with an introduction that tells the reader something about Steinem’s feminist activism, including her work in founding Ms. magazine in 1972, at that time the only magazine editorially controlled solely by women. More than an introduction, however, this initial portion of the book is an essay in itself, whose purpose is to explain the experiences and observations that shaped the author of all the essays that follow.
(The entire section is 514 words.)