Before attending the lecture “Media: More Real than Reality”, held by The Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers, I did not know who is Gloria Steinem . So it was surprised and astonished to see numerous people came far away from here. However, after listening to the lecture, I think I can understand why.
Gloria Steinem, writer, lecturer, editor, feminist activist, leading media spokeswoman on issues of equality, founded Ms. Magazine in 1972, and helped to found New York magazine . She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom , the nation’s highest civilian honor, awarded by President Barack Obama in November, 2013. Despite the sense of humor and special personal charisma, Gloria is someone who has real stuff and personal experience about the issue she concerns. I just want to pick out a few aspects that really interest me.
First, although media may seem more real than reality, it is not. Gloria said, “Media is not reality. Reality is reality.” Although people in the room can find an article, a video or tweet the event, she said, it would not be the same to be present and listen to what she had to say. By just giving this simple example, she demonstrated her point really well. Indeed, with the advanced technology, we seem to surrender to the virtual world and cannot help ourselves get out from it. When going online, we feel like we are still in the real world and we cannot tell the differences. Then many tragedies happen: some teenagers become more violent or indecent under the influence of misleading online information; some students are so addicted to computer games that they give up their education; people’s relationships are not as intimate as once they have before. We have overused technology and there are some problems. But if we want to change the situation, we have to realize what is happening right now and get controlled by ourselves.
Second, I want to discuss the media’s representation of women that she provided. She said, “If you added up all the deaths from Iraq and other modern wars, it would still be less than the number of women who died from gendered violence.” “Women make up a large percentage of game players but a small minority of game developers.” “On the Internet, female users are much more likely to be bullied than males.” On one hand, I am surprised by the number she gave us; I am surprised by the hard times women in the world are experiencing. On the other hand, I am also curious about why most people do not recognize all these facts, including me. I believe all these numbers she gave us can be found online, but still most of us do not know. We have all the resources at hand, but we do not use them. If we do, there will be more people get a better sense of the situation that women are undergoing now. Therefore, there will be more people to fight for women’s right.
Finally, I want to share my overall opinion about media as well as some of Gloria’s most famous quotes. As the old saying goes, technology is a two-edged sword. We can use it either for good or for bad. However, we have the right to choose and decide. We should not let technology control us, but just the opposite, we have to control it. Now, here are some quotes from Gloria I want to share with you. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” “I am not the one who passes the torch. I am the one who lights my own torch to brighten others. There is not just one torch, but everyone has their own ones.” “Hierarchy came with patriarchy, and neither of them work anymore.”