Form and Content
Gloria Steinem’s Revolution from Within locates the possibility for revolution in the psyche rather than in the ability to act decisively and independently in the world. Wherever she traveled, Steinem found that although women were acting in courageous, ambitious, and committed ways, they did not see that they were doing so. Steinem began to admit to her own feelings of self-doubt and emptiness. Through her personal experience and the personal experiences of others, Steinem located a crucial problem for contemporary women that accompanies the great expectations they hold for themselves: As they try to succeed in many roles, their self-esteem can be damaged by the ongoing expectations that they should fill those roles. After Steinem had written 250 dry, unsuccessful pages, Steinem’s friend, a family therapist, read the manuscript and commented that Steinem had a self-esteem problem. Yet Steinem had been named one of the ten most confident women in the United States. The coincidence made her even more convinced that women were in serious trouble.
To rewrite her book, Steinem added autobiographical elements and invited her readers to connect her stories with their own. Her approach reflects feminist consciousness: the movement back and forth between the personal and the political. Steinem has a political purpose for addressing self-esteem; she sees it as the basis of any real democracy. By locating strength in the self-belief, she draws...
(The entire section is 583 words.)