Book review: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Before I start this review, I want to address an issue that’s very prominent in this book and one I’m not sure where I stand on – the “F” word. And by that, I mean FEMINISM.

I’ve been asked more than once if I identify as a feminist. The truth is, I don’t think I do. I don’t like labels, and I don’t want to BE labelled as part of a “group”. I’m my own person, with my own views.

Feminism is a touchy subject. Say you are one and people get the idea that you’re a “feminazi” with hairy armpits who believes men are evil and all that is wrong with the world. Say you’re not one and you get scornful looks, accusations of not being “sisterly” and being gutless. I’ve sat down and thought about it a lot over the years. Do I think men and women are equal? No. Do I want men and women to be equal? Sure. Do I think men and women will ever be considered equal? Honestly, no I don’t. Double standards exist. They always will. Despite all of that, would I want to be male? Never in a million years.

So, moving onto the book. Gloria Steinem is a feminist and activist who lives a nomadic lifestyle. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of hestudents, . The book was a selection by one of the book clubs I’m in and actually fits in with one off the list of my 2016 book challenge – “a book that teaches you something new.”

From the title, I was expecting it to be a book about travelling. I was a little bit disappointed in that sense – apart from a brief mention about her travels in India, the book was entirely set in America (granted, she did travel across quite a few states but there wasn’t really that much focus on it). What fascinated me about the book was Steinem’s stories about the people she met. Taxi drivers, truck drivers, college students, bikers… everyone has their own story to tell and a lot of them were quite surprising.

Being a feminist, Steinem also spends a lot of time talking about strong women she’s worked with and spent time with. I did enjoy reading about this and was inspired by the way they stand up for what they believe in and never stop fighting. I did think she was overly harsh in her descriptions of her mother – I’m aware that a lot of people think being a housewife is a waste of a life but I think different things make different people happy. Who are we to judge other people’s lifestyles?

Has this book made me convert to feminism? No. What is has done has made me realise that you can inspire change, no matter how insignificant you may feel. Never let anyone silence you and always stand by your opinions if you think they’re right. That’s why I’m giving this book 4/5 stars. ☺

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