“It’s still subversive to help women take control of their brains,” Gloria Steinem told an audience of hundreds at the Girls Write Now gala last night. The 80 year-old-icon (wearing a red-leather studded belt fit for Lita Ford) was honored by the non-profit for her work as a feminist activist and, most of all, writer, as Girls Write Now has helped over 5000 girls “write the world” and express themselves through fiction, poetry and journalism since its inception.
Steinem criticized the prevailing idea that narrative is “soft news” and said that there’s “nothing sacred” about expressing a story through facts alone. “We’re starved for narrative,” she pressed, reminding the audience of a time before the telegraph where journalism was driven by passion and personal investment before the dispassionate “who what when where how” model became the ideal method of inquiry. This line between hard and soft news is gendered, as well, Steinem reminded us, and women’s experiences as expressed in narrative form are highly undervalued. By pairing a professional writer mentor with a high school mentee, Girls Write Now is cultivating a generation of young women who have the acumen and drive to give voice to their experiences through fearless narratives of their own.
For more info about Girls Write Now’s mentor/mentee program, how to volunteer (I had a blast!), and where to get their 2014 anthology that will literally have your brain on fire (these girls can seriously write) go HERE.