Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, May 27

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Eye on #OCHI: Aldermanic Puppets and Protests City Employee Expenses Are Now Public and Searchable »

Social Issues Fri Feb 10 2012

Gloria Steinem Visits Columbia College

By Joycelene Fernandez

On Tuesday, Columbia College welcomed Gloria Steinem as the second guest in their "Conversations in the Arts" program. Steinem, a seasoned journalist, speaker, and feminist activist, started off the night with a light joke that the auditorium was in fact the "smallest biggest place on a campus" that she had ever lectured within. But regardless of how big or small the space, Steinem found herself facing a completely full house — just another aspect that sets Steinem apart from the average septuagenarian.

Not that Steinem is your "average" anything. A co-founder of Ms. magazine, a bestselling author and founder of several women's rights organizations, Steinem's long career has not only been prolific, but pivotal in the fight for human rights. For over half a century, she has contributed years of work in helping change the world, and all for the better.

But when talking to Steinem, this legacy of life-changing activism would not necessarily be immediately apparent. Steinem herself was more modest than even her streamlined biography found in the event's program. While it could have easily been an evening spent discussing Steinem's career highlights or groundbreaking journalistic endeavors, Steinem instead turned to what she does best: reporting on current human rights injustices, fleshing them out, and connecting the dots and the seeming spaces between them.

Naturally, the recent news of Planned Parenthood's defunding (and its reversal) and the overturning of California's Proposition 8 were hot topics, but Steinem brought plenty of additional news and information to the discussion. From the issue of rising student debt, a suggestion of googling "sex trafficking Chicago" and the underlying privilege found in language ("The dominant group gets the noun, and everyone else requires an adjective"), Steinem's objective was readily clear: "It helps us to see the world whole, instead of partially."

After a brief Q&A session, moderator Kathy Brock of ABC 7 News drew the lecture to a close. Her final question was deceptively simple: what did Steinem want her audience to take away that evening?

Steinem offered some advice. "Look around you, and see if you see two, three, four people you don't know. Introduce yourselves; say who you are, what you're doing," she suggested. "It's about us, you know? It's about change that's built from the bottom up, like a house."

GB store
GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15