Gloria Steinem biopic The Glorias shines light on a sisterhood of activists


By: AP |

October 1, 2020 8:49:55 am





Julianne Moore is one of 4 actors enjoying Gloria Steinem at completely different levels of her life in The Glorias. (LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions by way of AP)

Among the pithy quips attributed to Gloria Steinem over time is that this reply to why she wasn’t keen on getting married: “I can’t mate in captivity.”

She did ultimately marry, to her personal shock, at age 66. But that scene takes up barely a minute in Julie Taymor’s 139-minute lengthy new biopic about Steinem, The Glorias, not simply because it got here late in a lengthy (and nonetheless actively ongoing) life, however as a result of there are such a lot of different necessary relationships to focus on, particularly the important thing ladies who partnered with Steinem — in friendship, and in activism — on her lengthy journey to changing into America’s most seen feminist.

Women like Bella Abzug, Florynce Kennedy, Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Wilma Mankiller, all of whom (and extra) are portrayed within the movie, giving moviegoers a fast however priceless schooling within the historical past of the ladies’s motion.

“One of the great things about this movie,” Steinem, 86, mentioned in a current interview, “is that it will lead viewers into knowing more about these women.” Women who, maybe excepting Abzug, weren’t practically as acquainted to the general public as their very recognizable colleague.

Lorraine Toussaint, who offers a memorably vivid flip as Kennedy, the outstanding Black activist and founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, mentioned Steinem herself helped information her efficiency.

“We realized we had a champion, and that was Gloria herself,” Toussaint mentioned in an interview. “She was very, very helpful for me in terms of her memories with Flo Kennedy and her appreciation of Flo. She speaks so candidly and openly of figures like Flo who did not get the credit she believed they deserved.”

History, added Toussaint, has not heard a lot about Black ladies in both the suffrage motion or in second-wave feminism. “But Gloria tried to give these women credit,” Toussaint mentioned. “The press wasn’t particularly interested in giving them credit, but Gloria certainly spoke out as often as she could.”

In the movie, primarily based on the memoir My Life on the Road, there are poignant scenes with Steinem and longtime talking accomplice Pitman Hughes (Janelle Monáe), the Black activist with whom she appeared in a well-known 1971 {photograph}, firsts raised. And with Mankiller (Kimberly Guerrero), one other shut Steinem good friend and activist who turned the primary feminine Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Then there was Abzug, performed by Bette Midler within the movie reverse Julianne Moore’s Steinem. (Moore is one of 4 actors enjoying her at completely different levels of her life.)

the glorias Lorraine Toussaint as Flo Kennedy, (left) and Julianne Moore as Gloria Steinem in a scene from The Glorias. (Dan McFadden/LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions by way of AP)

Outwardly, the 2 ladies couldn’t have appeared extra completely different. The New York congresswoman, nicknamed “Battling Bella,” was unapologetically brash and exuberant, recognizable instantly by the big hats she at all times wore. Gloria Steinem was often known as a “quiet warrior,” in Taymor’s phrases, with a pure Midwestern reserve, lengthy streaked hair and people iconic aviator glasses.

But their friendship ran deep. “She was my teacher and my friend,” Steinem mentioned within the interview. “She was enormously funny. Absolutely New York, you know. And I used to say things like, ‘Oh, you’re the person I should have had as my mother.’ And she would say, ‘I’m not old enough to be your mother.’” (Steinem instructed the identical anecdote, by way of tears, at Abzug’s 1998 funeral.)

Moore says she was unfamiliar, earlier than making the movie, of Steinem’s shut relationship with Abzug.

“We had so much research available to us, and one of the things I drew on was just how much Gloria loved Bella,” the actor mentioned in an interview. “You could see it in the research, the way she looked at her. And so Bette and I hadn’t met before and I fell in love with her right away, and I thought it was wonderful to have our relationship and base it on Gloria’s love for Bella at the same time.”

the glorias Alicia Vikander as Gloria Steinem (left) and Janelle Monae as Dorothy Pitman Hughes in a scene from The Glorias. (LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions by way of AP)

Midler, too, was struck by the connection between the 2 ladies.

“There was so much respect there, so much respect and so much fun,” she mentioned. “I think they had a great time together. I think they howled. And I wanted to make sure people knew that it wasn’t the kind of adversarial relationship that lots of people seem to have with Betty Friedan, although I worship Betty Friedan … but that wasn’t the case with Gloria and Bella. That was real love.”

Taymor says her favorite second between the 2 ladies occurs within the places of work of Ms. Magazine, which Steinem co-founded, and Abzug is explaining to the conflict-averse Steinem that she will’t draw back from battle with Friedan, the feminist chief and writer.

“The difference between them is that moment in the Ms. office where she says ’You can’t avoid conflict, and if you try to avoid conflict, conflict will seek you out.” And they had been very completely different personalities. Gloria … didn’t wish to have ladies combating ladies.”

“And Bella said sometimes we argue, sometimes we fight, sometimes we don’t get along. You know, she understood that women aren’t superwomen, but we’re after the same thing.”

Midler mentioned she thought of one of the achievements of Taymor’s movie to be that “You see them together planning, step by step and being in a room and actually making this movement from scratch. I thought it was very exciting. … these women stayed together for over 50 years, as a clan. They really did. And they moved mountains.”

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