Considering today is International Women’s Day, it’s appropriate that feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s series about anti-woman violence will premiere on Viceland UK tonight. Among so much turmoil, Steinem offers the silver lining in the dark clouds I need. Because of her show’s UK premiere (it already aired in the U.S.), Steinem has been all over the news, dropping some serious wisdom and inspiration.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the Jewish feminist activist explained that her parents inspired her to become who she is today, because they allowed her to believe in herself:
“My mother, a huge debt for creating a loving childhood for me when she didn’t have one. My father, for being OK with insecurity. As he always said, “If I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, it could be wonderful.”
In a time where political unrest goes everyday, Steinem has made no secret of her feelings towards Trump–but she also doesn’t believe we should lose hope for a better future.
For instance, she previously stated that she’s using her position of influence to bring other women into positions of power:
“My job is to bring people up. I almost never speak [at functions] alone, I bring people with me so they become better known. I try to do only what I can do. But sometimes I am the only person who can get someone on the phone. Sometimes you need to send a signal to people who would otherwise not know the names.”
In an interview with Pop Sugar, she said that women “all have different ways we can be effective,” and explained that women have “dollar power, voting power, and ass power,” meaning that we can all choose where to spend our money, who we support, and how we can fight for the causes we deem important. That means supporting smaller businesses, for instance, could be a way to protest.
It’s also not about what you ought to do, but what you can, Steinem explained. She added that women need to stop guilting ourselves, saying that we need to “get up in the morning and do whatever you can. Instead of ‘should,’ start using words like ‘I know, I can, and I will.'”
Honestly, I can’t argue with that. I am all too guilty of using words like “should” in ways that make me feel guilty about all the things I couldn’t get done in time, or that I can’t because of things like time and money–things I can’t always control.
This reminder is not only necessary in general, but necessary when there is so much work to do in our society right now. Anxiety and guilt can be debilitating, and instead of feeling stymied by those emotions, it’s so more productive to just repeat Steinem’s mantra: do what you can.