Despite FX’s newest series Mrs. America’s portrayal of Second Wave feminist Gloria Steinem as being the heroine of the women’s movement, there’s a little-known interview from 1967 in which the icon came very close to exposing herself as being the antithesis of everything she claimed to be: a CIA operative used to subvert radical feminism. As someone who was once an admirer of Gloria Steinem about 12 years ago, it gave me no pleasure coming to the realization that she is in all likelihood an enemy of the Radical Left and has been pretending to be someone she is not. The evidence that her mission was in fact to undermine the feminist movement and steer it away from radical left-wing politics, however, cannot be easily dismissed.
- In 1967, Ramparts Magazine exposed both the Independent Research Service, which Steinem directed from 1958-1962, and the National Student Association as C.I.A. front groups. The same year that Ramparts made this revelation public, Steinem told an interviewer that the CIA had given her the funds to organize American participation in the Soviet-sponsored World Youth Festival in Vienna, Austria in 1959. The CIA funds, she claimed, came without any restrictions. In the interview she ridiculously described the notoriously ruthless anti-revolutionary agency as “enlightened, liberal, non-partisan activists.”
- In 1979 her CIA connections once again came under public scrutiny after The Village Voice previewed a chapter of a book on radical feminism by the Redstockings detailing Steinem’s work with the Agency and their role in funding her much-heralded Ms. Magazine. The publisher, however, spiked the entire chapter before publication once Steinem’s lawyers threatened to sue.
- In 1975, Carol Hanisch and Kathie Sarachild, members of the National Organization for Women, openly accused Steinem of being a CIA infiltrator steering the women’s movement towards “moderation and capitulation.” Betty Friedan, co-founder of the organization and author of The Feminine Mystique, seemed to agree that the accusations could have some merit.
- Over the years Steinem was romantically-linked with unrepentant war criminals and all-out fascists, such as Henry Kissinger, ex-Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Latelier, and Stanley Pottinger. (Pottinger undermined the investigation into the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.) Certainly no one who claims to be a radical feminist could honestly find any redeeming qualities in such terrible men.
One has to seriously wonder, why would the anti-revolutionary Central Intelligence Agency provide funds for Gloria Steinem’s organization and magazine if she were not working to undermine the radicalism and revolutionary politics of the women’s movement? How is it that someone who was largely inactive in the early organizational work of the women’s movement was suddenly around 1970 portrayed by all major media as the spokeswoman of the feminist movement? Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall’s exposé gives us insight.
Co-opting Radical Feminism for Corporate Interests
While preeminent American feminist Gloria Steinem’s CIA background receives wide attention on the Internet, it’s a totally taboo topic in either the corporate or the so-called “alternative” media. Steinem’s work for the CIA front group Independent Research Service first entered the public domain in 1967 when Ramparts magazine exposed both the Independent Research Service and the National Student Association as CIA front organizations.
Fearing unflattering publicity, Steinem gave interviews to both the New York Times and the Washington Post defending her CIA work (see video below). In both articles, she claims to have taken the initiative in contacting Cord Meyers, who headed the CIA’s International Organization Division and their top secret Operation Mockingbird.* Her goal, allegedly, was to seek CIA financing to encourage American participation in the seventh postwar (Soviet-sponsored) World Youth Festival in Vienna in 1959.
The article quotes her: “Far from being…
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Something I found on YouTube about her CIA work:
It’s a revealing interview with a member of the Redstockings warning about Ms. Magazine being a CIA front.
Not surprised at all sadly,
cynicism is a very important tool that one should always apply to everyone and everything they claim.
Although I am not old enough to experience what was going down in the sixties, being gen x, I have had half a century of first hands experience and even though I am a female am not a feminist, I am an egalitarian because in my reality that is what I have experienced from most men whom I have working or social relationships with. Whenever feminists claim all men are wrong, I ask them to teach me how to hate my sons and love my daughters. The response is often silence, or they call me a man and exclude me from the conversation.
My understanding of Gloria Steinem now is that she helped de-radicalize what was a very radical movement and brought it back to supporting capitalism and imperialism. To her it’s not that imperialism itself is bad. She just wants there to be a woman leading the Empire.
In the feminist movement, this is called “Queen Bee” feminism.
That’s a great way to describe it.
That is what the feminist movement has become about. The sad reality is that no matter what the cause or issue some of those who join do so it is because of their ego than their empathy. Getting in the spotlight for some more important than actually wanting to make change and create equality. Narcissism is rampant in activism, it is something that is a serious problem and very hard to deal with, they are doing a great deal of damage to people who have actually been victimized. I have never had the need to fight for equal rights because I had them so cannot speak a great deal about that group but I have witnessed this in native environmental activism, and they are doing a serious amount of damage and creating more conflict and animosity which is really disheartening because if serious change doesn’t happen soon, it will be too late.
I see what you mean about narcissism is rampant in activism. It’s supposed to be about creating a better world for people, not about trying to be famous or receive credit. Thank you very much for sharing this.
Thanks for reblogging.
Thank you for writing this. I remembered reading this a few years ago and thought about it again due to the new show on Hulu.
What a stunner – very intriguing.
Yes. It was disappointing to learn about this.