• Elma Radoncic

Meet the Iconic Gloria Steinem

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Taking a trip down memory lane with writer and activist, Gloria Steinem

By Elma Radoncic

Gloria Steinem dressed as a Playboy Bunny

Gloria Steinem not only created groups for women equality but has inspired several movements. One of the biggest movements that were inspired by feminists such as Gloria Steinem is the MeToo Movement. #MeToo is a movement against sexual abuse and harassment faced by women. Gloria Steinem is considered to be a feminist whose groundwork has opened doors for women to speak up.

Steinem’s Work

Steinem has written numerous articles regarding feminism. In 1962, she wrote an article about contraception and women being forced to choose between a career and marriage. She also covered abortion speak-outs for New York Magazine and in 1972 she co-founded a feminist-themed magazine Ms. My personal favorite of Steinem’s work is her article “A Bunny’s Tale.”

Photo of Gloria Steinem

Working Undercover

Going undercover at a New York Playboy Club, Steinem wrote an article detailing how women were treated at the club for Show magazine.

Steinem responded to an ad promoting Bunny positions at the club. Once she was hired she began training. First, she was fitted for the Bunny outfit. Second, she was handed the Playboy Club Bunny Manual, informally called the “Bunny Bible”.

The “Bunny Bible” was filled with Bunny rules for hair, nails, and overall appearance. The rules stated what would deem a demerit for pay. If a girl’s ears were crooked, if their bunny tail was dirty, or if they did not smile enough - they would receive docked pay. The bible also contained the 143 drinks that the Bunnies had to memorize. Steinem was also made to go through a “complete physical exam” which was held in a private doctor’s office - with a gynecological table.

Steinem worked undercover at the club for a month. Her expose about the club revealed that the women were not making as much money as was initially promised, the women worked long hours, and were constantly harassed by the male customers.

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes

After “A Bunny’s Tale”

Her work undercover at the Playboy Club not only changed and improved working conditions for the Bunnies, but it also was a key part of the 1970s wave of feminism.

Steinem found it difficult to receive other assignments after “A Bunny’s Tale” was published. In her words – “because I had now become a Bunny – and it didn’t matter why.”

Gloria Steinem later helped found the Women’s Action Alliance, “a pioneering national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children’s education.” She also helped to found the National Women’s Political caucus which is a group that works to advance the number of pro-equality women in elected and appointed offices at national and state levels. Steinem worked to truly create change and this is one of the reasons why I admire her work.

Steinem’s Influence

Gloria Steinem is an icon in the world of journalism, feminism, and social activism. I admire Gloria Steinem because of the impact she has had on women. Considered to be the “world’s most famous feminist,” Steinem has paved paths for women in journalism, academia, and in the political sphere.


About the Author:

Elma Radoncic is a public relations major at the University of North Texas with a minor in sociology and a sports certification. She is also on staff at the Lakes at Castle Hills where she is responsible for social media and some member relations.