Wednesday 5: Gloria Steinem, Arianna Huffington, and Aretha Franklin

In this week’s Wednesday 5: Gloria Steinem shows us what 8o looks like in deeds and images; Arianna Huffington on her new book, Thrive; what happens when a mother gives back an adopted son; and happy birthday, Aretha Franklin.



Gloria Steinem, Living Out an Unlived Life

The face of contemporary feminism turned 80 yesterday. Of the many media tributes she has been given, we were particularly moved by Barbara Lovenheim’s write-up in NYCitywoman.  “An Award for My Mother” neatly captures the story of Gloria’s life, from her childhood years caring for a mentally ill mother to her continuing activism on behalf of women worldwide. Most poignantly it conveys Gloria’s acute sorrow at the constricted life of her mother, Ruth—an intelligent, ambitious woman who longed to be a journalist. Like many women of her generation, Ruth was quenched by her lack of opportunity to flourish in the working world. Accepting the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Salurians (an organization of veteran New York City journalists) last year, Gloria declared, “What really stirs me up is the memory of my mother who, when I was very little, began to show me how to take a piece of typing paper, fold it into threes, so it was in columns. Later I realized it was what she had done to take notes before there were reporter’s notebooks. And indeed when she tried to be a journalist, her very first writing had to be under a man’s name, otherwise she couldn’t be published . . . .  I suspect that, like many women here, I am living out the unlived life of my mother. And this is a huge step forward. We should be proud of this, but it’s also true that we need to move forward to a time when parents live out their own dreams. And children don’t feel that they have to carry on in order to make up for lost talents and lost lives.” No one could have done more to bring about that time than Gloria Steinem.



A Life Lived in Images: 80 Glorious Years

Gloria Steinhem

Since most of her life has been lived on the public stage, almost every move Gloria Steinem has made has been documented. Head over to The Daily Beast, which, in honor of Gloria’s 80th year, has put together a gallery of some her most iconic moments as she marked several milestones in her life.



Go Beyond Surviving, and Thrive

Arianna Huffington has a new book, Thrive, to help us redefine success on our own terms. Here she sits down with Marie Forleo of MarieTV to talk about the importance of sleep, the challenges created by our perfectionistic tendencies, and our own struggles with time.



When a Mother Gives Back an Adopted Son

Last week, Yahoo Shine published the story of the 41-year-old mother who gave back her adopted son because, according to her, “I was committing the worst maternal sin: I felt like I loved one child less than the others.” As you can imagine, the story kicked up a lot of dust. The mother shared several other reasons why she returned the 5-year-old Haitian boy, most of those reasons resting on “attachment disorder,” a broad term used to describe an inability to build meaningful bonds. One form of the disorder can develop when a small child feels repeatedly abandoned or powerless—things it’s not hard to imagine a kid in an orphanage might experience. But Rebecca Carroll at counters:

Adoption is many things—difficult, painful, complex, wonderful—but here’s what it is not: Taking in a child as your own, a child of whatever age, from whatever country or continent, and with whatever acclimation struggles, scars, issues, outbursts, and then deciding you’re not into it. That there is even a term for this action, “failed adoption,” seems entirely, exactly, a thousand times wrong to me. Read more at and hear what readers have to say.



Happy Birthday, Aretha Franklin!


While Gloria Steinem is showing us what 80 looks like, the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin, is showing us what 72 looks and sounds like. The folks at The Huffington Post put together this awesome YouTube playlist featuring all of Aretha’s best songs. Rock on!




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