Women Must Fight President Trump: Gloria Steinem Delivers Powerful Post-Election Message

Women Must Fight President Trump: Gloria Steinem Delivers Powerful Post-Election Message  At an exhibition of Annie Leibovitz portraits of famous women, Steinem told the audience, We may look up and feel powerless and think theres nothing we can do, but its not true.”>

On Wednesday afternoon, a first year female student at New York Citys Barnard College was vividly recalling the excitement of casting her first-ever vote in a presidential election for Hillary Clintonand then the crushing despair of Donald Trumps victory.

I told a friend shortly afterwards that Id lost faith in American exceptionalism, she said, her voice shaky, echoing the grief felt by millions of young women since last Tuesday.

She was one of 200 women gathered at the old the Bayview Correctional Facility, a former womens prison in Chelsea, to participate in a talking circle led by 82-year-old activist and womens advocate Gloria Steinem.

The women had been invited by Steinem and renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose new traveling exhibition commissioned by UBS, Women: New Portraits, officially opens to the public on Friday in the gymnasium at Bayviewthe pop-up exhibits penultimate stop on a 10-city international tour. After the exhibition moves from New York to Zurich in December, the former prison will be transformed into The Womens Building, a hub of activism for womens groups that is set to open in 2020.

Steinem is one of dozens of female leadersfrom Patti Smith to the Williams sisters and Andrea Medina Rosas, a womens rights lawyer in Mexicophotographed last year by Leibovitz for the new exhibition, an update to her 1999 book project, Women, which featured portraits of female senators, artists, businesswomen, actors, athletes, and Supreme Court justices.

Women Must Fight President Trump: Gloria Steinem Delivers Powerful Post-Election Message

They sat on folding chairs in a loop of circles that expanded from the middle of Bayviews gymnasium, surrounded by Leibovitzs portraits: the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in her study; Malala Yousafzai in a classroom; Hillary Clinton at her desk; Caitlyn Jenner on set for her Vanity Fair cover shoot.

The 41 new images hang on makeshift walls, while a slide-show of earlier pictures from Leibovitzs oeuvre are projected on large screens that frame the gymnasium.

Steinem, who on Wednesday wore all-black with a Navajo concha belt around her hips (the activist has previously said she frequently wears something that has a resonance from the past before the patriarchy came along), partnered with Leibovitz on the new exhibition and has spoken to audiences in a series of Women for Women talking circles about subjects ranging from sexual violence against women in Mexico City to gender imbalances in Silicon Valley.

Women Must Fight President Trump: Gloria Steinem Delivers Powerful Post-Election Message

You can donateto Planned Parenthood in the name of Mike Pence so he gets to know how much he has strengthened the organization, said Steinem, unflappable as ever, to laughs.

She told the audience to trust their own instincts; to have empathy for one another; to not demonize the 53 percent of (white) women who voted for Trump.

Theres a voice inside all of us that says we are all human beings. We are linked, we are not ranked. Thats why these circles are so important, she said.

She applauded the women (and men) who have protested President-elect Trump in cities across the country, noting that Poland was recently considering banning abortion, which is already illegal in the country except in cases of rape, incest, or irreparable damage to a fetusuntil 6 million women protested the ban. 

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We have all the powers we had [before Trump was elected] of lobbying and pressuring and making clear that the political consequences are great, Steinem told the audience. We may look up and feel powerless and think theres nothing we can do, but its not true. There are things we can do at each level. And theres always civil disobedience. Trump is not my president.

Its become familiar slogan since the electionchanted by protesters and hashtagged on Instagramand now championed by Steinem, whose matter-of-fact, hell no delivery galvanized the crowd at Bayview.

I dont think were going to hear post-feminism in a hurry now. We're not going to hear post-racism in a hurry now. The truth has revealed itself. A third of this country is still in backlash against the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Every single issue that we care about has majority support in every public opinion poll.

Im telling you this is new. This is different. We were like crazy old ladies in the past! Part of the reason were having this backlash is because theres a frontlash. Dont let them invade your head and tell you that’s not true. Feel sorry for these bastards. They’re a thing of the past!

As the talk came to a close, Steinem invoked the image of domestic violence, a personal image for her which, she said, resonates stronger than ever right now.

When a woman is about to escape a violent household is the time when she is most likely to be beaten or murdered. Shes about to get outside of control. Just as we wouldnt send a woman or child back to a violent household, were not going to go back. And maybe we’re about to be free.

Women: New Portraits by Annie Leibovitz is at the former Bayview Correctional Facility, the future home of The Womens Building, at 550 West 20th Street, NY, until December 11. Additional "talking circles" will be hosted at Bayview on the evenings of December 5, 6, and 7. Register to atttend here

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/17/women-must-fight-president-trump-gloria-steinem-delivers-powerful-post-election-message.html