All Hail Gloria Steinem, Who Proved Feminists Can Kill It in Miniskirts and Leather Pants

All Hail Gloria Steinem, Who Proved Feminists Can Kill It in Miniskirts and Leather Pants
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

"The miniskirted pinup girl of the intelligentsia."

That's the description reportedly used by a Washington Post columnist to describe Gloria Steinem back in the day. Reductive? Yes, incredibly so. But there was a kernel of truth in it, too: Steinem, an activist, writer and trailblazer for modern-day feminism, is also really stylish.

Steinem, who turns 82 (!) today, has always been subject to the gaze of critics, many of whom have fixated on her good looks. "She was so glamorized by the male world and treated for her exterior more than her interior," her friend Robin Morgan told the New York Times

With Gail Sheehy, a fellow editor of New York Magazine, discussing current affairs on CBS' "The Urbanites," September 28, 1970
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At a news conference at the American Civil Liberties Union, July 12, 1973
Source: Richard Drew/AP
December 14, 1971
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Like so many other women, Steinem's beauty and style have been a double-edged sword, earning her attention and praise but also the judgment of men who would dismiss her. 

"There is the notion that an attractive woman, whatever that means in society, a pretty girl can't be smart," Steinem told Teen Vogue in 2011. "We are still identified by our looks instead of our hearts or heads."

But Steinem has spent her life turning that assumption on its head. Since the 1960s, with her long, bouffant hair, through the 1970s, when she sported her iconic aviator glasses, up through today, when she's still rocking leather pants and perfectly painted nails, Steinem has proven that style and substance are not mutually exclusive.

All hail Gloria, still a feminist fashion icon at 82. 

On the "Helen Reddy Show," June 21, 1973
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With Geraldo Rivera, April 3, 1974
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April 3, 1974
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With Pat Schroeder, October 3, 1974
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July 9, 1983
Source: Ted Powers/AP
With Nancy Dick, July 1, 1984
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February 13, 1986
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With Dottie Lamm, December 12, 1986
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Protesting outside the South African embassy in Washington D.C., December 20, 1984
Source: AP
At the Ms. Foundation for Women 3rd Annual Gloria Steinem Awards, May 20, 1991
Source: Malcolm Clarke/AP
At the 10th Annual Reproductive Freedom Award Luncheon, October 9, 2002
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In New York City, July 4, 2005
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At Sundance Film Festival, January 2011
Source: Danny Moloshok/AP
At a preview for photographer Annie Leibovitz's exhibition, "WOMEN: The New Portraits," March 22, 2016
Source: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images