“’Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men, Too”
Gloria Steinem, The Washington Post, June 7th, 1970
“ONE FINAL myth that women are more moral than men. We are not more moral; we are only uncorrupted by power. But until the old generation of male chauvinists is out of office women in positions of power can increase our chances of peace a great deal.”
“I personally would rather have had Margaret Mead as President during the past six years of Vietnam than either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon. At least she wouldn’t have had her masculinity to prove. Much of the trouble this country is in has to do with the masculine mystique: The idea that manhood somehow depends on the subjugation of other people. It’s a bipartisan problem.”
I do not fully subscribe to Steinem’s logic that women are uncorrupted by power. I believe absolute power corrupts absolutely, with no exceptions. However, it may very well be true in the time the words were first spoken that if the so dubbed ‘masculine mystique’ were removed from the scenario that many atrocities committed in Vietnam might have been averted.
The greater issue, in my mind, is always resources and the means of production. Such matters supersede the confines of gender and gender roles. I am, however, quite willing to commit to the idea that if only women were allowed to hold administrative offices that there would indeed be far less warfare in the world as a whole.
Ultimately, there would be no end to wars and subjugation of one over the other. I envision a world of more practical wars and even more decisive moves than those we see in leaders both of the past and today. The War Machine would continue, but take a form it has known before. A much more humble machine.
Gloria Steinem is a free-lance writer and a contributing editor of New York Magazine. The accompanying article [above quote] is excerpted from a commencement address at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Miss Steinem says that it “was prepared with great misgivings about it’s reception, and about the purpose of speaking at Vassar.”