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Lecture series highlights Gloria Steinem (VIDEO)

Feminist and feminism are two words most people use interchangeably and often think both mean the same thing when in fact they do not. Feminism refers to a person who exudes what is traditionally considered womanly character traits, while a feminist is an individual that supports equality rights for women.

Renowned feminist woman’s rights advocate, Gloria Steinem, traveled to Fresno to share her exuberant passion for the equality of women’s rights in the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series, Oct. 17.

Steinem’s first appearance in the political spotlight was in 1970 when she testified before the senate advocating the equal rights amendment. She also began speaking around the country, building up young and old women and supporters of the women’s rights, something that not every woman had the courage to do.

While at the Town Hall lecture a plethora of topics were talked about, from the presidential debate remarks, abortion, gay rights, reproductive freedom and of course, woman’s rights. Steinem understands that the cause she stands for is only at the beginning stages and there is far more to accomplish, even after her time.

“I realize that just like the suffragist and abolitionist I won’t live to see many things that we are envisioning now, but that’s OK,” Steinem said. “Even in the age of Twitter you can tweet something and throw a haiku.”

According to Steinem this generation has much to complete, being at the forefront of change. She believes as one the country has come very far pertaining to rights; although other countries have had equal rights since the early seventies, while America was still fighting segregation within.

“You {students} are living in the land of the future . . . I think you are coming into something that is both great and hard,” Steinem said. “There is a lot of anxiety in this country about the fact that in 20 years we are not going to be a majority white country anymore. Now that seems to be great; we are going to be able to understand the world better.”

One topic that seems to find its way back to the spotlight was the remark Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said about the binder lists full of qualified women to serve on the President’s board. Along with that, the idea of equality was a main factor during the lecture. At one point Steinem passionately talked about how equal pay for women could be considered a stimulus for the economy.

“The average woman will earn two million dollars less than the average man,” Steinem said.

Steinem talked about the fact that women are starting to rise to the top in the corporate world. For example, there is a growing number of women becoming Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) and bosses compared to men. But she argued the fact that some men cannot handle women being equal.

Violence was one topic that was spoken about. Steinem considers domestic violence as the “original violence.” She explains how if violence is normalized in the house, then that is where it all begins.

“In this country the biggest indicator of whether there is violence in the community or even foreign policy is whether or not the decision makers have violence in there homes,” Steinem said. “Conventional and empirical studies say that the best predictor of the states peacefulness is not its level of wealth, its level of democracy, its religion or its natural resources, but the very best predictor of the states peacefulness is the level of violence against females.”

The level of violence against women has skyrocketed over the last 20 years. Steinem makes the irrelevant to some, relevant to all, whether the audience agrees with her statements or not. To most the equality of women’s rights might seem to be a minuscule problem, but Steinem emphasizes on women rising to power and advocates to break the barrier between the machismo attitude that some males still practice.

Steinem closed with an analogy of “humans are like butterflies;” she describes to the audience the scientific process of the evolution of a caterpillar into a butterfly. She explains the importance of the imaginal cell, which is a main factor in the transformation. Steinem then informs the audience that every person in the lecture hall are imaginal cells that have the potential of accomplishing great feats. Steinem believes thats together, as one unit, we {people in the hall} can change the world for it to become a better place to live.

Everyone might not agree with Steinem’s views, but it is her passion, her drive and her moral duty to continue preaching the sermon of equality and women’s rights. Many commend Steinem for her brave altruistic attitude she carries with her, but that is what makes her relatable to the cause itself.

For more information about Town Hall, read the Oct. 15 article, Lecture series to feature acclaimed speakers. The next speaker will be legendary entertainer and Broadway star, Ben Vereen, Oct. 30. So join a San Joaquin Valley audience as we welcome Ben Vereen to the Saroyan Theatre stage! Tickets are $30 or $100 (includes dinner).

5 p.m: Backstage reception at the William Saroyan Theatre
6 p.m: Dinner at the Valdez Hall
7:30 p.m: Main event at the William Saroyan Theatre

On Nov. 14, Platon Antoniou will be the next speaker during the morning edition of The San Joaquin Valley Town Hall.

For more features, read the Oct. 17 article, Sophomores construct ‘Wizard of Oz’ float.

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    GabrielaAug 17, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Im so excited to play in powerpuff! Although we are new we are going to try our best to beat the seniors 🙂