Oh eminent speeches.
I have written many speeches, however I always stress about them and slightly go crazy yet end up finishing with flying colours. People say I’m a good public speaker, and I think that I’m good at it, just when I get up to speak I don’t know if it’s nerves or adrenaline running through my veins. As well, once I finish the speech I don’t speak for a while because all I’m thinking is “Wow, I just did that.” Anyways, I wrote a total of four or five speech drafts and here I will present the typed ones, as the hand written ones are illegible and on paper.
Typed Speech Draft #1:
“The big click” was when I went to cover an abortion meeting held by the Redstockings in a church basement in New York. I had one when I was 22, however never told anyone. I sat in the back and just observed. Hearing these women’s stories, sharing laughter, sorrow, rage, I was overcome. That was when it happened. Suddenly I was no longer learning intellectually what was wrong with this situation, I knew.”
That was the moment that a feminist icon was born. It was her awakening. Gloria Steinem wasn’t born a feminist icon, she became one.
Born March 25th, 1943 in Toledo Ohio, Gloria Steinem was a Christmas wish by older sister Suzanne and was named after her favourite doll. Her parents Leo and Ruth ten moved the family to Clearwater, Michigan. Shortly after moving, Ruth suffered a “nervous breakdown” which left her with mood swings, anxiety and hallucinations. Wanted by Ruth, her parents divorced. Leo left for California, Suzanne went to collage and Gloria and Ruth moved back to Toledo. Herself and Ruth lived in poverty however little knew about their situation.
Once graduated, Gloria left for Smith collage. She majored in politics. Studied political sciences, international politics, literature and even joined a sorority. She studied abroad in Europe in her junior year and won a fellowship in India once she graduated.
After returning from India, she moved to New York City to pursue her journalism career. Gloria started off as a freelance writer with magazines such as Esquire and Help! However was having trouble receiving stories that had depth to them. Due to sexist male editors, she wasn’t trusted to handle the “big stories” to cover and instead was given stories on textured stockings and “fifteen ways to make hamburgers”
It wasn’t until 1963 while working with Show magazine that she finally got some attention. Gloria was going to go undercover as a Playboy Bunny. Named “the most glamorous job for young women in New York” she was going to investigate and see if the job lived up to the name. Yet during that one month, she lost more then 10pounds, nearly ruined her feet, endured propositions and fended off worse. She talked to the other bunnies, asked her employers as many questions as she dared and scribbled any notes worth taking. Working at the Playhouse she experienced the discrimination and underpayment of the bunnies and how they were really treated. She learned everything from the bunny bible to the coat check assistants tips on hiding tips.
Now although this article brought her attention, it attracted both good and bad attention. She was given more serious topics to write about, however was given offers to go as an undercover prostitute as well.
Flash forward to 1969. Redstockings, a radical feminist organization of the Women’s Liberation Movement, was holding a meeting or seminar for abortion. Gloria attended thinking she could get some new material to write about in the future. However after hearing the other women’s stories and struggles, she realized that her “personal problems” that she was facing were actually problems for many other women, and they were even political problems. Gloria, who had an abortion at 22, was overcome. She then dived head first into the world of radical feminism.
Another thing about my speech writing, I usually don’t finish the entire draft unless it’s “the one”. I tend to get stuck at one point in my speech and my mind draws a blank, so I re-write that one section, or re-write the entire speech. This may have happened a couple times…
Final Speech Draft
I was a housewife. A mother. But then I wrote the feminine mystique. I had changed thousands of women’s lives, alerted human history, I took charge of my life and did what I wanted. Because of this, I wanted to help other women across the country as well. Then she came along. Gloria Steinem was young, beautiful and the medias darling. She was thought to be kind, smart, caring. I however, was a bored housewive, a egotistical bitch who just wanted power. Our names were constantly the topic of conversation, “Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem! Power team of the women’s liberation movement!” No. They were wrong. This wasn’t a team situation. Especially with her.
Gloria Steinem is a feminist icon, I will give her that. She is looked up to by thousands of women but thousands more of those women read my book! She grew up in small town, Toledo Ohio. Won a scholarship to smith collage, got her degree in political sciences, and won a fellowship in India for a year and then moved to new york city to pursue her journalism career. When I first heard of her, it was her “A Bunny’s Tale” article that got my attention. I won’t lie, I loved it. I have written to Mr. Heffner numerous times to stop objectifying these girls, but he obviously didn’t listen. Gloria however, went undercover as a Bunny, went through intense bunny training and worked at the New York Playhouse for a month. She revealed the discrimination, underpayment (around 50 percent of tips were confiscated) and the disgusting propositions that the girls were “offered”. She writes that she learned everything, from the bunny bible to how to hide tips from the coat check’s assistant. Publishing this article really brought attention to the working conditions and opportunities for the present day woman.
After that article, I kept my eye on her. I read most of her stories, no matter what subject they were and as time went on, I noticed that the content was slowly lacking depth. I had worked at multiple magazines and knew that because of these men as our superiors in the workplace, she wasn’t advancing or being given the right type of stories for her expertise. Her work continued like this, and while I was off founding and becoming the first president of the National Organization for Women, she went to a Redstockings meeting on abortion. She had one when she was 22 in London, or so I was told. Myself am very pro-choice. Even after a husband and three wonderful children I strongly believe that women should have the choice to bear a child or not. This was her “feminist awakening”. After that abortion meeting, she dived head first into the Women’s Liberation Movement. I was touring the nation with the National Organization for Women as their president when she published her most notable story, “After Black Power, Womens’s Liberation” She, who participated and was an ally for the Black Panther Party says and I quote, “a Liberated Woman was somebody who had sex before marriage and a job afterward.”
We never crossed paths until now. It was 1971, and although N.O.W. had left marks on the wall of womens rights in America, there was still a lack of women in office. So, along side Gloria Steinem, New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and several congresswomen, heads of national organizations, and others who shared the vision of gender equality we founded the National Women’s Political Caucus or the NWPC to help recruit, train and support women who seek elected and appointed offices. Together, we marched in the Strike for Equality in New York City alongside 50,000 other women however congress still failed to pass the equal rights amendment in 1970 and thus, the NWPC was created. All that the amendment and we asked for was for men and women to have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction and that Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
We had our differences. We butted heads and said some words and had different ideas. Men, the media, women, everyone loves Gloria. She has an eternal aura of calm and I have never once seen her yell. She cared about everyone, listened to people’s stories and looked you dead in the eye to say that she was listening. She founded Ms. Magazine. They told her that it wouldn’t sell any copies, yet the first issue sold out in the first three weeks. She gave an outlet, a voice for women across the country and let them know that the problems and secrets they were holding inside weren’t only theirs but that other women were experiencing them as well. They talked about outrageous ideas that no one dared to print and that is why I think that they were so popular. Ms. Magazine is still running and putting out issues to this day. Obviously, time flies when you’re leading the women’s liberation movement, and before any of us realized it, we were getting old. By the late 80s, Gloria was still editing and writing for Ms. However she then perused her writing career. Gloria published many best selling books with her most notable title being Revolution From Within, which is essentially a cult classic for feminist self-help books.
Gloria Steinem didn’t just do one thing; she tried everything and somehow succeeded in all. She wasn’t born a feminist icon, she became one and I leave you with a few of her words ” The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
My final draft is the speech that I presented to the class. I was extremely nervous going up, as I was scheduled to go up on wednesday, yet ended up going tuesday however expect the unexpected? Apparently I crushed it, which is very comforting and I am confident with my presentation.
**Learning centre post is soon to follow**