MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Gloria Steinem & Dyllan McGee

MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Gloria Steinem & Dyllan McGee

Video Transcript

DYLLAN MCGEE: Oh, hi-- just me hanging out with my friends. We were watching the [INAUDIBLE] segment-- love them. All right, it is time for the final segment of today, a conversation with Gloria Steinem. But before we bring her out, I just wanted to share some news that you may or may not have heard.

15 years ago, I went to Gloria and I asked her to do a film on her life. And she said, no, you can't tell the story of the women's movement through the story of one person, that there's a collective of stories that have never been told, that need to be told before they're lost to history. And that no created a brand that has memorialized so many stories and been shaped by so many individuals.

And so it felt like it was time to take Gloria's advice. The women's movement can't be led through the lens of one woman, and MAKERS can't be led by one woman forever. And so nine years after launching and being the creative nudge behind the brand, I am moving on to my next chapter, leaving an incredible team and board of directors to take MAKERS to new heights. And so it felt only appropriate that my last conversation at a live MAKERS event be with Gloria Steinem. But before we bring her out, we just want to share with you a short clip from our recent documentary, "Not Done." Take a look.



GLORIA STENEIM: I've never seen this much activism in my life, in all of my long life.

- It is us we're going to change this. It is us who have the responsibility to make our voices heard.


GLORIA STENEIM: Now it's a majority, and it's unapologetic.

- I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don't make the front page of every national newspaper.


I'm here to say never again for those girls too.

GLORIA STENEIM: Now we know it's a revolution.


- Our house is on fire.

GLORIA STENEIM: When I look at 16-year-olds and 22-year-olds, I always say, oh, I just had to wait for some of my friends to be born. I'm so glad to see you.



DYLLAN MCGEE: Hi, hi. This is so fun.

GLORIA STENEIM: I know. We're so far away, and by the magic of this screen-- if only I could hug you.

DYLLAN MCGEE: I know. I know-- same. But you know what, you're in sunny California and it's snowing in New York. So--

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, it's not so hot here in California at this moment, if it's any comfort. And also, I'm homesick for New York. I mean, it's wonderful there. I'm lucky to be here, but I'm looking forward to being able to go walk around the block.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Maybe when they clean up the snow--


DYLLAN MCGEE: All right.


DYLLAN MCGEE: Gloria, here is the thing. We only have five minutes together, and so I could either-- I could have asked you about three questions, or I could ask you a bunch of questions with short answers, and I decided there was so much wisdom that I wanted to share that we were going to go through a bunch of questions with like one-sentence answers. How does that sound?


DYLLAN MCGEE: You'll try.

GLORIA STENEIM: I'm a little too talkative, but I'll try.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Here's what nobody knows is, actually, early on in MAKERS, we did this thing where-- and we're not doing this today, so don't feel the pressure. But it was, how many questions could you get through in a minute? And you actually held the record. So I know you see this. But we're not-- it's not a race today, because we're on Skype, and it's weird, and there are delays, so we're going to take our time.

All right, everyone, here we go. You have said, Gloria-- one of my favorite quotes is, the truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off. So what is pissing you off right now?

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, the big thing it was pissing me off left the White House. That's good.


GLORIA STENEIM: And the other thing is I'm not sure we're using COVID in a good way. That is, if it doesn't recognize race, and gender, and class, and nationality, we shouldn't either. I wish we were using this change state of mind in a positive way.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Do you think we're starting to now? Do you think, with the new administration, we will?

GLORIA STENEIM: Oh, yes. No, no, no. I think so, but since we can't control what happens, but we can use what happens, I think the global consciousness of human beings as sharing a vulnerability could be used to a better purpose.

One other thing, I think, that's very important is that we are also now forced to see on television nationally the racist violent part of this country that has always been there. But in my experience, I would see it in demonstrations or opposing the police in repossessing a farm-- something. But now we've seen these violent white guys-- or mainly white guys-- on television, and I hope we use that in a positive way to deal with it where it comes from.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Me too-- well, my next question is very different, and we're going to move into-- it's impossible with you. All I want to do is just sit and listen to you go like this forever.


DYLLAN MCGEE: OK, here we go. All right, what is your favorite city in the world?

GLORIA STENEIM: New York, Manhattan-- it's home. And I can walk around. I don't need a car-- lots of different people everywhere. It's heaven. Next to New York is India, which is my second home, where I lived when I first got out of college. My oldest friends are there. So that's second. And within India, my favorite place is Kerala at the southern tip.

DYLLAN MCGEE: All right, I think our next MAKERS-- when we can go back into the world, we're going with you to India. How does that sound?

GLORIA STENEIM: Oh, great-- I would love that.

DYLLAN MCGEE: OK. All right, so tell me, what is-- and I know there are many-- what is the best thing about being in your 80s?

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, I would say that the best thing is that you're past this time, say, from about 11 or 12 to 60, when the feminine role comes down upon you. You may be rebelling against it, but you're still putting energy into it, either conforming or rebelling. It's still taking a lot of energy. But after 60 or so, society kind of doesn't care about you, because you're past all the childbearing, child rearing thing you were supposed to do, even though I didn't do it.

And you're much more free to do whoever the-- what you want and be who you are. So I would say that who you are at 60, or after 60, has a lot in common with the little girl you wore were before you were 10, and you were climbing trees, and saying, I don't care. I know what I want. So these two ends of life have a share of freedom.

DYLLAN MCGEE: So what's the downside of being in your 80s, if there are any?

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, of course, there's a downside, because I think, oh, I'm going to do this or that, and I think, no, wait a minute-- I've already past average life expectancy in this country.

DYLLAN MCGEE: And [INAUDIBLE] keep going, so you're going to just keep going, right?

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, I am, but I have to face the fact that, even if I make it to 100, 100 is not that far away. And that's shocking, especially when you're the slow rider that I am.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Any more books in you?

GLORIA STENEIM: Yes. My publisher certainly hopes [INAUDIBLE] Yeah. No, no, no-- no shortage of books, no shortage.

DYLLAN MCGEE: OK. So if there were one person we could bring back an interview for MAKERS, who would that be?

GLORIA STENEIM: Oh, that's so hard. Oh my gosh, I don't know that I can--


GLORIA STENEIM: The person who comes into my mind and my heart is Wilma Mankiller, because I think-- she was a long and dear friend, and-- but more important, she had the knowledge that was in this country before Europeans showed up and messed it up for quite a while. It was pre-monotheism. It was communal. It understood that we organized in circles, not in hierarchies. Personally, and in every other way, I devoutly wish she were here.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Well, she is someone-- Wilma Mankiller-- everyone should look up. She is an extraordinary--


DYLLAN MCGEE: OK, so our theme this year is keep going. So what keeps you going?

GLORIA STENEIM: You and programs like-- I just watched your whole program, and lots of ideas and people I didn't know-- and curiosity keeps me going, humor. Laughter is the only free emotion. Nobody can make you laugh. They can make you afraid. They can even make you think you're in love, if you're isolated and dependent for long enough. But nobody can make you laugh. It's free. And that and my dear friends, my chosen family, that's what keeps me going.

DYLLAN MCGEE: I love that. Well, then, if laughter's the thing, then let's have a little fun. I'm going to ask you either/or questions, and you just answer which relates to you. Ready?


DYLLAN MCGEE: Zoom call or phone call?

GLORIA STENEIM: Wait a minute. Say that again.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Zoom call or phone call?

GLORIA STENEIM: Oh. I have to say phone call. It may be an age thing. But then I don't have to comb my hair.

DYLLAN MCGEE: OK. Moderna or Pfizer? Have you had the shot yet?

GLORIA STENEIM: Yes, I did. And I'm pretty sure it was Pfizer. I'd have to look. But there's no difference, so I don't think we should seem as if there is-- one is better.

DYLLAN MCGEE: You got it. OK. Lake or ocean?

GLORIA STENEIM: Ocean-- absolutely, because it connects you to other continents and other people.

DYLLAN MCGEE: A kiss or a hug?

GLORIA STENEIM: A hug-- a hug, because it's comforting, and universal, and enveloping.

DYLLAN MCGEE: I know. And don't we miss it? I wish I could hug our whole MAKERS community. Shower or bath?

GLORIA STENEIM: Bath, absolutely-- comforting.


GLORIA STENEIM: No-- bath with-- I don't know-- suds and whatever-- I don't know, it's just great.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Luxurious bath.


DYLLAN MCGEE: Good-- OK, well, then marijuana or alcohol? No, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. You don't have to answer that.

GLORIA STENEIM: Neither, neither-- I've never been interested in either one of them. I've never thought they were at all interesting.


GLORIA STENEIM: I want all my perceptions going.

DYLLAN MCGEE: We're the better for it. So my last question to you, Gloria, is-- you have called yourself a hope-aholic, so I wonder what makes you hopeful.

GLORIA STENEIM: Well, looking at our poet laureate, I mean, you know, looking at young people, at the future, and hoping-- I'm hoping, and I think maybe that the downside, or the upside of the downside of COVID is that we-- because it understands that race, and gender, and class, and nationality, and all that stuff doesn't matter, it knows we are all human beings, that maybe that consciousness is coming to us in a positive way on spaceship Earth.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Gloria, I look at you and I get teary just knowing everything that you've done for MAKERS. You have literally shown up every time we've asked you to. This happened because you gave me a big fat no. I'm so grateful for that. That was the best no I've ever received. And for all you've done for all of us, thank you.

GLORIA STENEIM: You've created MAKERS. I never could have done that. And you have turned thousands of women into MAKERS, who are going off their-- to make more than we-- we can't even imagine. I'm so grateful to you.

DYLLAN MCGEE: Well, I can't wait until I can-- until you're back in New York in your favorite city in the world, and I can wrap my hands around you and give you the biggest hug ever. So Gloria--

GLORIA STENEIM: Soon, soon, soon--

DYLLAN MCGEE: --on behalf of all of us, we love [INAUDIBLE]

GLORIA STENEIM: Love, love, love--