Feminist activist, journalist, and icon Gloria Steinem, the subject of a recent HBO documentary, appears to have outed herself as a capital-P Pagan at a recent speaking engagement with Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy.
“Eltahawy’s family lived in England for most of her childhood, until her parents moved to Saudi Arabia when she was a teenager. She said she was raised Muslim, but not strictly traditionally, adding that she is now much more liberal than her parents and that her feminism was formed, in large part, in response to the restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia. Steinem’s father was Jewish, her mother was not, and she was raised without religion. She now calls herself a “pagan,” inspired by a trip down the Nile, where she witnessed how the ancient Egyptians incorporated nature into their worship.”
Feminism has always walked arm-in-arm with the modern Pagan movement, just ask Starhawk, Vicki Noble, or Diane Stein (among many, many others).The image of a Goddess, even if seen as only a symbol, is a powerful recurring element within feminist writing and theology. My only question is how recent is this shift? While there’s long been evidence that Steinem has been sympathetic to Paganism and the Goddess Movement, I think this is the first time I heard her label herself as a Pagan. In any case, welcome! Maybe we’ll see you at the next PantheaCon?