Gloria Steinem Calls Romney 'Anti-Equality, Extremist'

The feminist icon was in St. Petersburg, Florida, to campaign against Amendment 6. She also criticized presidential candidate Mitt Romney as an 'extremist.'

Saturday, a crowd began swelling outside the gates of Jannus Live in downtown St. Petersburg. While that is certainly a familiar scene, this crowd wasn’t waiting to hear a big-name rock band hitting town.

They were waiting on an icon of another sort. Across the generational spectrum, women and men were talking of seeing an icon who has been championing the call for equality for the past 40 years: Gloria Steinem.

Steinem was in Florida, a key battleground state, to rally against Amendment 6, seen by opponents as tightening abortion restrictions. But the feminist legend also used her time before an adoring crowd to blast GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney as "anti-equality."

Mitt Romney is “the most undemocratic, anti-equality, authoritarian, extremist candidate I have ever seen, and there is the most distance between what he says and what he does,” Steinmen said.

Steinem was introduced as a self-described “Hope-aholic.”  Her name is synonymous with the feminist movement. She is known best as an activist and author. Steinem appeared before the crowd with eloquence and timeless messages, stating that she stands for equality and democracy.

“Do what Democracy demands,” said Steinem. “And, that is to make change from the bottom up. It is a lie that it comes from the top down. No. That’s what they want us to think—to disempower us. No, it comes from us. Like a tree, it comes from the bottom up.”

Here is an excerpt from Steinem’s speech:

[Romney] has the nerve to say he is for job creation. His entire career has been job elimination. He is not even willing to say he is for equal pay. And it happens that equal pay for women of all races is the greatest economic stimulus this country could ever have.

Equal pay, and I mean for equal work, would put $200 billion more into the economy every year. That means about $137 for every white woman per pay check—something like $300 for every woman of color who are doubly discriminated against. And you know that those women are not going to put that money into a Cayman Islands bank account—they are going to spend that money, and that is going to create jobs.

And he has the nerve, the nerve, and I have never seen anything like it, even in the Eisenhower era, anybody who refused to say they were for equal pay. Even if they didn’t do anything about it, they at least said they were for equal pay, and [Romney] refuses to support the Ruby Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is crucial to gaining equal pay.

[Romney] has pledged, on the Republic Party platform, to go around the Supreme Court, and achieve the human life Amendment to the Constitution, which would declare the fertilized egg to be a person.

I would like to say that neither the corporation nor the fertilized egg is a person. Pregnant women do not have two votes.

By declaring the fertilized egg to be a person, he would effectively nationalize women’s bodies throughout our child-bearing years. We would be legally restrained for all nine months of our pregnancy if there were reasonable cause to believe we might damage the fertilized egg. And indeed this is already going on with women who are drug addicted. Who really have no options, and yet there is more concern about their pregnancy than there is about them and getting free from drugs on their own.

It would give the government the right to legally search our wombs. To see if we were pregnant or not and if you think that’s impossible, think about the trans-vaginal probe that is legalized rape.

Steinem wasn’t the only voice to grace the stage. Local politicians and community leaders stepped up to speak their mind as well.

Florida House Rep. Rick Kriseman, District 53, said, “It is critical that people get out and exercise their right to vote. The state government has done everything they can to suppress votes. We need to vote.” Kreiseman echoed the mission of I Am Choice to “no” on all amendments and “yes” to the justices and “yes” to the education referendum.

“You know, when I want to hear what a woman’s perspective is about something, I talk to real women, and I ask them what they think,” said St. Petersburg Councilmember Steve Kornell. “I don’t have to use a binder to know what matters to women. I just ask them.”

Kornell went on to describe how the last thing women need is Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan or the Florida legislature interfering with medical decisions that belong between a woman and her doctor.

Another prominent voice for the day belonged to Jessica Ehrlich who has been shaking up the scene here in Florida in her bid for United States Congress, 13th District of Florida, opposing C.W. Bill Young. She made a point to reference Young’s voting record. 

“After 42 years, Bill Young has simply lost touch with who we are in Pinellas County and with what we need,” said Ehrlich. “Over half of Pinellas County is made up of women – over half of our workforce is made up of women.”

Ehrlich mentioned Young’s voting record stating that he voted against equal pay for women; voted to cut funding to Planned Parenthood to give women access to early detections to cancer and mammograms; co-sponsor a bill that tries to redefine legitimate rape with Todd Akin and Paul Ryan; voted twice for a budget that would essentially turn Medicare into a voucher program, do away with important programs like slashing funding for Pell Grants, for education, for college scholarships, and cause 200,000 children to go off of Head Start.

“This is not what we need. It is not who we are. And, it is not how we are going to move into the future,” said Ehrlich. She said that this election will determine what Pinellas County and the State of Florida will look like and be like for years to come.

“Are we going to go backwards to a time when the Vinoy was a boarded up building, and a relic of a faded past and there were empty lot all around here because of an economy that was so devastated, or are we going to work to make sure that we have a brighter future going forward?” asked Ehrlich.

'I Am Choice'

With Election Day less than 30 days away, I Am Choice organized Steinmen's visit, headlined as “GOTV Unplugged: Rally Our Way Forward.”

“This is a celebration of our ability to use our voice and our vote in the upcoming November election to make decisive change and move our community forward,” said Ayele Hunt, executive director of I Am Choice.

I Am Choice, located in St. Petersburg, was formed earlier this year with the goal of launching a grassroots campaign to defeat Amendment 6 on the state ballot. The amendment is seen as tightening restrictions on abortions.

Organizers of I Am Choice is clear that they want voters to say “no” to all 11 proposed amendments, and “yes” to returning the all three Florida Supreme Court Justices to the bench and "yes" on the referendum for education.

The event boasted an impressive line-up, including progressive politicians and community leaders and lined up The Betty Fox Band, voted Best Blues Band in Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay,” but most importantly, the headliner, Gloria Steinem, brought the house down.

Daphne Taylor Street October 22, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Hi Janice and Anti-Liberal. Again, I do appreciate the passion and the differences of opinion, but please do keep the personal insults and insinuations of lying, etc. outside of this thread. We have had great input so far whilst remaining mostly civil. I'm hoping we can keep it that way. It's my small dream. Thanks so much!
Daphne Taylor Street October 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Hi Spencer and Joe -- Thanks so much for your vibrant comments here. Joe, please just watch how you might phrase your comments to avoid personally insulting someone because of his/her view here. Thanks again for your contribution!
Janice M. October 22, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Aww, did anti-Liberal have his feelings hurt by a woman smarter than he is? I can tell it is frustrating you to have a woman not believe your load of crap and request facts. Which choice of words confirms my limited intelligence - laissez faire, capitalism? Perhaps it is because you don't undertand them. I am sure that written report will be provided as soon as you get the studies and documents you promised on birth control. So sorry this is so frustrating to you.
David Conkle October 22, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Anti-liberal should perhaps follow the age old adage of, "better to have people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Feminism is simply the radical idea that women are people. When women are considered equal and have the right to choose how and what they want to be treated for by their own doctor, then and only then will women really be free. Beyond that, it is no one elses business and people such as "Anti-liberal" could then do us all a favor by minding their own bees wax!
-Ed Harris- October 22, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I actually disagree with Gloria about Romney. Paul Ryan, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove are much worse. Mitt is being put there to sign bills and nothing more. I disagree with my President on many issues but find him still a worthy leader who can compromise and is anything but a liberal. Moderate Candidates are hard to find these days but our president happens to be one and so am I. I have already sent in my ballot and I voted for our president. I also voted no to every single state amendment. BTW I am a registered Republican.
TransPlant October 22, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@ Anti-Liberal and Janice M, word is they are sleeping together
Daphne Taylor Street October 22, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Thanks for your comment, Ed. I value your point of view, and thanks especially for your civil tone :o)
Freedom October 22, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Sweetheart, I hate to disappoint you but I am a WOMAN had you done your homework you would have known that, as for intelligent conversation I call it the way I see it now we can all express ourselves without the name calling & bashing but you can't seem to stay away from crude words which proves the fact you are frustrated, don't be too hard on yourself learn to accept others views & move on, life is too short to be stressed out about things you cannot control :)
Michael D. October 22, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Joe C, Anti-Liberal and Jaminetea, He has the same documentation that anyone else has, and he currently is president. Which means he passed multiple background checks that have a lot more sources than the majority of media and private citizens. He was born of American citizen(s) and spent most of his formative years under the age of 14 on U.S. soil which is all the requirements by law. So the whole birther agrument is not needed. It is just as bad as the Romeny birther agrument. Both are unnesscary. As far as the birth certificate of someone who was born in a terriotry of America. My father was born in Alaska before it was a state while my grandparents were stationed there for the Air Force. His documentation is just as shotty, does that make my dad born in another country? Because that is what I hear with this agrument. People born in terriorties of American while their parents were protecting this country are not American because we think Obama isn't. Same rules would apply to them that are being applied to Obama and Romney in these agruments. Obama and Romney both fit the legal definitions of what is required.
Freedom October 22, 2012 at 09:55 PM
David stop embarrassing yourself, you are a control addict & this shortcoming of yours doesn't affect me or my views at all, just because you calling me a fool doesn't make me one, I believe in myself so does many people who know me:) as for you David the only reason you want abortion to be legal is if you get a woman pregnant you can tell her to go get an abortion. Take a lesson from a mother who chose life :) Lee Nicosia 8:49 pm on Sunday, October 21, 2012 Oh and btw, I was conceived by rape. My father drugged my mom. He wanted an abortion, she refused.
Freedom October 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Thank you Michael D :) I always appreciate your intelligent conversation even though we sometimes don't see eye to eye, we are a nation of mixed breeding but have the freedom to choose whatever is best for us, I applaud you for not resorting to name calling & bashing, I really appreciate that :)
Freedom October 22, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Hi Daphne thank you for your input here when Janice called me an idiot, I should have just ignored it cause two wrongs don't make a right, I won't let that happen again :)
Daphne Taylor Street October 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Hi Anti-Liberal -- No worries. I'm actually quite impressed with the overall tone of this thread. I could have easily gotten bitter much more quickly and much more harshly. Thanks so much for your contributions here. I appreciate the lively debate! I value your thoughts.
Daphne Taylor Street October 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM
"It" ... It could have easily gotten bitter much more quickly and much more harshly. :o)
TransPlant October 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Obama is 'the amateaur" for nothing
Freedom October 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Janice take it easy with Koolaid :) it is clouding your judgement, you need some smart juice :) I love my screen name, you noticed my name so that means my message is working, I am not a liberal & never will be :) As for your objection to what I wrote about birth control pills, why don't you do your own google search & list your objections factually :)
Pamela October 23, 2012 at 02:33 AM
You are so out of touch.Most families have two incomes.These are college grads.You strike me as codependent.You are still dependent on your spouse who has the burden Of you. You seem to forget Bush had devastated our country and we were on the verge of disaster.Check your facts it started in 2000.Obama inherited this mess.It is going to takes. Years just like the 80's bank defaults and the Reagun. it took us almost 20 years to rebound.
David Conkle October 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Anti-liberal "me doth think thou protest a bit much." Your aurgument that I want to be able to tell a woman what to do in case of an unplanned pregnacy is laughable; when in fact it is you who really want to tell others how they should act and what they should really do. I'm truly sorry your mother experienced what I can only imagine as one of the most traumatic events that could ever happen in a woman's life. What your mother did in response was a couragous act, however that was her choice and what your mother chose doesn't automatically make it the right choice for every other woman in America. As a side note, I normally refuse to engage in a battle of the wits with the intellectually unarmed, I made an exception in your case though and now regret it. To once again quote the immortal bard, "he who would aurgue with a fool, be the greater fool."
TransPlant October 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM
A woman who didn't want to have children so she had an abortion.
Jolene October 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I would never listen to a thing that Gloria Steinman has to say. I remeber when she thought that the LA fire dept should lower thier physical standards just to let woman join and that it was better anyway for someone to be dragged down the stairs instead of carried because they would be breathing the smoke. Really?!?! It embarasses me that she is the same sex as I am.
Linda October 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Linda October 24, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Vote yes for Obama.
dreamjoehill October 24, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Gloria Steinem worked for the CIA under Cord Meyer (who Howard Hunt claimed was in charge of JFK assassination and who's ex-wife Mary Pinchot Meyer was JFK's lover) and met with CD Jackson (OSS psyops chief who later purchased and supressed zapruder film while head of Life Magazine). Ms. Magazine´s first publisher was Elizabeth Forsling Harris, a CIA-connected PR executive who planned John Kennedy´s Dallas motorcade route. Steimem used the media connections that she made while with the CIA to vault to the head of the feminist movement and to gain funding for Ms Magazine. Gloria Steinem was the great de-radicalizer of feminism. Her mission was to sap it of revolutionary potential and she did a great job. She is currently fomenting support for an invasion of Syria tp "protect Syrain women."
Linda October 24, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Don't you know, if the man wants to do it, it's not rape, that's the Republican line.
Linda October 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Your as goofy as Anti-liberal, well all most.
Freedom October 25, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Guess who is wrong, oh yeah YOU! It was not my mother who went through the traumatic event, it was a young lady who posted here, her name is Lee Nicosia, I see that you don't read thoroughly & not good in spelling either as for you calling me intellectually unarmed guess again, I am very happy in knowledge that you are wrong, it's amazing how liberals always resort to name calling when they are unable to win an argument, you should take a lesson from Ed Harris, we may have different views but we both have respect :)
Freedom October 25, 2012 at 12:55 AM
You know Linda, you need to read a book on internet etiquette, your foul language is the indicator of a very small person who is incapable of a meaningful conversation, which makes you look very foolish, now I am sure you are an intelligent person so why don't you act like one :)
Linda October 25, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Blah blah blah, that makes as much sense as what your saying.
-Ed Harris- October 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM
You know what? Regardless of the outcome of this or any election, the world will not come to an end! Someone will win and someone will lose, in two years there will be a mid-term election and if people are not happy they will have another shot at changing things again. I would be willing to bet most if not all who have posted here have or will vote. I think, while we all have our own individual passions about which issue is the most important, none of it matters at all if more people don't get registered and vote. It really should not be about Obama/Romney going head to head, it should be like breathing. You gotta breath, you gotta vote. No matter how you feel on any given issue, if people don't get out an vote it's pointless. I hope turn out is good and really would love to see over 250 million actually cast a vote. Sorry to ramble on, just food for thought.
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