Feminist icon Gloria Steinem joined Annie Leibovitz at a press preview for a new exhibit of the renowned artist’s photographs in New York City on Tuesday, offering a bit of salve to Hillary Clinton supporters still licking their wounds.
“The popular vote — two million more people — voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump, remember that. And it’s also true that all of the issues that we consider human rights issues have majority support,” Steinem told the crowd who had gathered to glimpse “WOMEN: New Portraits,” commissioned by UBS, during a pop-up exhibit hung in a former women’s prison in Manhattan.
But Steinem, who admitted, “I am concerned, I am worried,” about the Trump administration, also issued a challenge. “I think what has been revealed to us is a truth that we must now deal with: Never again is anybody going to say ‘post-feminist’ or ‘post-racist,’ because we understand there is something like a third of the country that is still locked into these old hierarchies.”
Leibovitz, who has been touring her new collection of images around the country, from Mexico City to Singapore, introduced her exhibit by noting, “This is not the way we imagined this week would turn out, but mark my words, this is still a celebration. It’s a somber, sobering, emotional celebration. There is much to talk about.” Her shows have been staged in spaces that “would eventually have another life,” including a World War II airport hangar in San Francisco and a historic house in Mexico City. And the former prison, built as a YMCA for sailors in 1931 and serving as the Bayview Correctional Facility for women from the 1970s until 2012, is slated to be transformed into the Women’s Building — a space for nonprofits working to improve the lives of women and girls — over the next few years.
“Welcome to a place of freedom that was formerly a place of limits and difficulty and discrimination,” Steinem said, speaking in the prison’s former gymnasium that was filled with Leibovitz’s old and new photographs of women including Joan Didion, Sheryl Sandberg, Katie Ledecky, Lena Dunham, Jane Goodall, Patti Smith, Anna Wintour, and Hillary Clinton. “This is a very symbolic building… and the timing worked in order to have [it be] this enormous symbol of what women can do when they are free.”