Gloria Steinem, Publisher of the Magazine Ms. Magazine

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Gloria Steinem, Publisher of the Magazine Ms. Magazine


By: Anonymous

Date: December 16, 1977

Source: "Gloria Steinem, Publisher of the Magazine Ms. Magazine." Associated Press, December 16, 1977.

About the Photographer: This image was taken by a staff photographer for the Associated Press, the world's largest newsgathering agency.


Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. Her father left home when she was about ten years old; from 1944 until 1951, she cared for her mentally unstable mother. In 1951, Steinem moved to Washington, D.C. to live with her older sister, where she attended high school and in 1956 graduated Magna Cum Laude from Smith College.

Gloria Steinem is a prominent women's activist who began writing political articles in college. A two-year internship to India after graduation was an inspiration for her first book, The Thousand Indias. Upon her return to the United States, Steinem moved to New York City to begin a journalism career—her first major article was entitled "The Moral Disarmament of Betty Coed." Like much of her later work, the piece remarked on changing social guidelines, the rise of females on college campuses, and evolving "rules" for dating. This latter phrase referred to previous generations courting their significant others at their homes. Dates usually met parents first, and much of a dating relationship occurred under the watchful eye of family, friends, and relatives. However, with the advent of the automobile and its ready availability to teenagers, along with increasing numbers of women at college and women staying, entering, and re-entering the workforce, social customs were forced to evolve. By the mid 1960s, it was not uncommon for a young woman to spend an evening with a man without a chaperone.

Four years after writing her first major article, Steinem co-founded New York Magazine in 1968, and in 1969 she wrote her first feminist article: "After Black Power, Women's Liberation." The story derived from a feminist convention she attended while on assignment for New York Magazine, and the piece won the 1970 Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. Then, a year later, she co-founded Ms. Magazine—a feminist counter to popular culture. The creation of Ms. reflected social trends as well as agendas of the feminist movement. Nearly all major publications had been attributing sections of their work to the feminist movement, but Ms. was the first magazine to solely devote itself to the causes and concerns of women.

In 1973, Steinem told a reporter for the American Newspaper Publishers Association that the press was letting down American women because "mundane" things like basketball scores appeared to take precedent over matters of national concern. She furthered her argument by stating that the lack of coverage concerning the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and the press' focus and manipulation of images reflected badly on the women's movement. Steinem took particular concern with the press' use of images because her looks were often focused on in pieces covering the women's movement. She—like many others—felt that a woman's appearance was her personal choice and not a statement about the movement.



See primary source image.


Covers of Ms. Magazine, much like the one shown here, reflected current political trends and women's health concerns. These were the issues that Steinem and many others considered vital to women's liberation, and the magazine made its mark by consistently holding U.S. political leaders to higher standards.

By 1973, Ms. Magazine had a subscription rate of over 200,000, and its rise and social focus showed its importance on social and political fronts. More importantly, the name of the magazine made a social statement—that "Ms." is a sexist neutral name. Married women and single women could both use the title, and removing sexist social denominators was a central goal of the feminist movement.



Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1994.

Steinem, Gloria. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, 2nd ed. New York: Owl Books, 1995.

Web sites

National Organization for Women. 〈〉 (accessed March 27, 2006).

National Women's Hall of Fame. "Women of the Hall: Gloria Steinem." 〈〉 (accessed March 27, 2006).