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Self-Disclosing Days

Jenny Turner, 23 April 1992

Holograms of Fear 
by Slavenka Drakulic, translated by Ellen Elias-Barsaic and Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 184 pp., £13.99, January 1992, 0 09 174994 8
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Revolution From Within 
by Gloria Steinem.
Bloomsbury, 377 pp., £14.99, January 1992, 0 7475 1006 7
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How we survived Communism and even laughed 
by Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 193 pp., £15.99, January 1992, 0 09 174925 5
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... is why North American feminist figureheads of the stature of Barbara Ehrenreich, Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan have given it their impeccably feminist imprimatur. As North American feminist figureheads of great stature, Barbara Ehrenreich, Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan are all ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Myths of Marilyn, 8 July 2004

... her half-sister (Berniece Miracle), her stalkers (Robert Slatzer, James Haspiel), her saviours (Gloria Steinem, Kate Millett), her driver of one summer (Colin Clark), her coroner (Thomas Noguchi), to say nothing of half a dozen big novelists and enough conspiracy hacks to fill a jumbo jet. In some cases (usually academic) the more books written about a ...

Various Woman

Penelope Fitzgerald, 2 April 1987

A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley 
by Katherine Frank.
Hamish Hamilton, 333 pp., £14.95, February 1987, 0 241 12074 8
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Marilyn 
by Gloria Steinem and George Barris.
Gollancz, 182 pp., £12.95, February 1987, 0 575 03945 0
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Joe and Marilyn: A Memory of Love 
by Roger Kahn.
Sidgwick, 268 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 283 99427 4
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I leap over the wall 
by Monica Baldwin and Karen Armstrong.
Hamish Hamilton, 308 pp., £4.95, March 1987, 9780241119747
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Diary of a Zen Nun: A Moving Chronicle of Living Zen 
by Nan Shin (Nancy Amphoux).
Rider, 228 pp., £5.95, January 1987, 9780712614320
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... her ‘magic friend’, her beauty, and saw no way of surviving without it. Whose fault was this? Gloria Steinem’s Marilyn generously tackles the problem from a feminist viewpoint or, more precisely, like the most understanding kind of schoolteacher, looking for everything favourable to say about the anxiously smiling pupil. Joe DiMaggio ...

Would I have heard of you?

Lauren Oyler: ‘The Female Persuasion’, 21 June 2018

The Female Persuasion 
by Meg Wolitzer.
Chatto, 464 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78474 236 2
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... the life-changer is Faith Frank, a dazzling second-wave feminist ‘a couple of steps down from Gloria Steinem in fame’. At 63, Faith still wears the suede boots she favoured in her glory days, and they ‘let everyone know she had once been a knockout, a sexual powerhouse, and maybe still was’. In the 1980s Faith wrote a manifesto called The ...

J’Accuzi

Frank Kermode, 24 July 1986

The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 208 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 224 02385 3
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... The agent might be the Supreme Court (even as at present constituted) or it might be Gloria Steinem. We, who tolerate limitations on freedom unknown to Americans, might feel a bit embarrassed about some of the consequences. Pondering Steinem’s ideals, Amis asks: ‘Would I want to be a writer in a ...

Not Enough Delilahs

Andrew O’Hagan: Lillian Ross, 4 July 2019

Picture 
by Lillian Ross.
NYRB, 219 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 68137 315 7
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... shy. Bending back each digit and making a face, she’d offer a defining word after each name:Gloria Steinem – phoneyJanet Malcolm – pretentiousRenata Adler – crackpotSusan Sontag – nobodyNora Ephron – liarOther hand:Kenneth Tynan – creepTruman Capote – leechGeorge Plimpton – slickTom Wolfe – talentlessPhilip Roth – jerkIt was a ...

Ultra-Sophisticated

Hilary Mantel, 7 December 1989

Life Lines: Politics and Health 1986-1988 
by Edwina Currie.
Sidgwick, 291 pp., £13.95, November 1989, 0 283 99920 9
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My Turn 
by Nancy Reagan and William Novak.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £15.95, October 1989, 0 297 79677 1
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Heiress: The Story of Christina Onassis 
by Nigel Dempster.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 297 79671 2
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... first lady of modern times.’ Joan Didion called her smile ‘a study in frozen insincerity’. Gloria Steinem called her ‘the marzipan wife’. The Chicago Tribune berated her in terms that could be applied, mutatis mutandis, to the present Princess of Wales or to Marie Antoinette: ‘Queen Nancy the Extravagant’, an ‘aloof former debutante and ...

You, You, You, You, You, You, and Mom

Curtis Sittenfeld: Sean Wilsey’s memoir, 1 December 2005

Oh the Glory of It All 
by Sean Wilsey.
Viking, 482 pp., £14.99, September 2005, 0 670 91601 3
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... in French maids’ uniforms – had joined the table for lunch with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. (Said Mom: “They were the perfect people to talk with domestic workers about the difficulty of working in someone else’s home.”)’ After the divorce, Pat alternates between tearfully eating tubs of ice cream in bed and leading ...

The Female Accelerator

E.S. Turner, 24 April 1997

The Bicycle 
by Pryor Dodge.
Flammarion, 224 pp., £35, May 1996, 2 08 013551 1
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... means of shifting goods which would otherwise have to be piled up on women’s heads. Whatever Gloria Steinem may have said, a fish may well need a bicycle. According to Dodge, more than 95 per cent of American bicycles are now of the mountain variety; good news for a nation which is in urgent need of exercise, bad news for the landscape. The ...

Dressed in Blue Light

Amy Larocca: Gypsy Rose Lee, 11 March 2010

Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee 
by Noralee Frankel.
Oxford, 300 pp., £12.99, June 2009, 978 0 19 536803 1
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Gypsy: The Art of the Tease 
by Rachel Shteir.
Yale, 222 pp., £12.99, March 2009, 978 0 300 12040 0
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... she was funny. Shteir sees her not as some sort of ur-feminist, but certainly as ‘anticipating Gloria Steinem’ in that ‘Gypsy created a sexy, smart persona to protest both burlesque’s crassness and Puritanism’s mean-spiritedness. She is more Sister Carrie than Carrie Bradshaw.’ But Shteir also believes that what sustained the ...

Very Inbred

Helen McCarthy: Coeducation Revolutions, 10 May 2018

‘Keep the Damned Women Out’: The Struggle for Coeducation 
by Nancy Weiss Malkiel.
Princeton, 646 pp., £22.95, May 2018, 978 0 691 18111 0
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... women’s movement on student and faculty opinion, which had been tilting towards admitting men. Gloria Steinem delivered an electrifying graduation speech at her alma mater, Smith College, in 1971. Taking women’s political consciousness as her theme, she argued that patriarchy’s ideological hold was still too strong to risk coeducation: ‘Our ...

Driving through a Postcard

Christian Lorentzen: In New Hampshire, 3 March 2016

... there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.’ The night before Gloria Steinem had appeared on a chat show and explained millennial women’s support for Sanders: ‘When you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.’ I watched the Republican debate at the Radisson bar next to a pair ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... the ‘never-ending club’. In ‘A Bunny’s Tale’, first published in Show magazine in 1963, Gloria Steinem recounts her undercover adventures at Manhattan’s Playboy Club, where she was kitted out in a satin leotard with cantilevered bra, white cuffs, bow tie, three-inch heels, rabbit ears and a fluffy tail. She was ‘programmed like an IBM ...

Hormone Wars

A. Craig Copetas, 23 April 1992

Crazy Cock 
by Henry Miller.
HarperCollins, 202 pp., £14.99, March 1992, 0 00 223943 4
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The Happiest Man Alive 
by Mary Dearborn.
HarperCollins, 368 pp., £18.50, July 1991, 0 00 215172 3
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... consecrate testosterone, and push the sale of Iron John. In Revolution From Within, Campfire Girl Gloria Steinem chronicles her exasperating fall and rise and fall and rise and fall and rise in male-dominated America with the crackle of a marshmallow heaving over a flame. Miller would have loved it all and outraged them all. During his cameo appearance ...

‘The most wonderful person I’d ever met’

Wendy Steiner, 28 September 1989

Waverley Place 
by Susan Brownmiller.
Hamish Hamilton, 294 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12804 8
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... convinced that Hedda had actually perpetrated the murder. The public was equally divided. Gloria Steinem summarised the spread of opinion among American women: ‘Either you allow yourself to realise that it could have been you, or you’re so invested in making sure it couldn’t have been you that you reject the victim.’ Experts in battered ...

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