In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem gave a sage piece of advice to young women: When someone calls you a bitch, say “thank you.” While Steinem said it is easier now for women to be ambitious, she acknowledged that if women still do not play a submissive role, they are labeled with negative stereotypes.
“The best thing I've ever thought of to say when somebody calls you a bitch is ‘Thank you,’ ” Steinman told Cosmopolitan. “I mean, it totally disarms them. They don't know what to do. Marlo Thomas always used to say that for a man to be called aggressive, he had to take over your business, but for a woman to be called aggressive, she had to only put you on hold. It's just a terrible double standard. We have to call them on it. If you call them on it, it changes people's heads.”
Steinem, a trailblazer for women’s rights for decades, touched on myriad topics during her interview with Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, including feminism, Beyoncé, gaps between men and women in leadership roles, and sex. When asked about how to combat everyday sexism, Steinem brought up Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
“To an a------ like Donald Trump, we just need to come back and say, ‘You think she's not a 10? You've never been a 1! If you lost your wallet, every woman would be gone.’ Saying something is almost always better than swallowing it and then thinking about it for two days,” Steinem told Cosmopolitan. “So if you put that [exchange] in a little text and then you can share it -- and we all learn from each other.”
Steinem, 81, has been working on her memoir for 20 years. The book, “My Life on the Road,” is scheduled to published Tuesday. It's described by publisher Random House as a “candid account of how her early years led her to an on-the-road kind of life traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change." The book looks back on the women’s movement in the 1970s, and when asked about whether she feels that a lot of change has come to women and that they are able to now achieve their ambitions, Steinem gave a refreshingly honest response.
“I thought we would be much further,” Steinem told Cosmopolitan. “Because I think I was just naive. I thought things would change if we won majority support for issues -- which we have on every issue now, from abortion to marriage equality. But it's not reflected in the power structure.”