Fifty years ago, a new magazine first appeared as an insert in New York magazine. It was called "Ms." And it was more than a magazine. It helped — and continues to help — ignite a revolution for women's rights.
For 50 years, Ms. has given voice to feminism. It has published pathbreaking articles about every aspect of women's lives — from date rape to divorce, from health care to foreign policy, from politics to family issues, and everything in between.
Now published quarterly under the sponsorship of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and with a growing digital presence, Ms. reaches millions of women with its revolutionary spirit designed to empower women and promote women's rights.
On Tuesday night, the founders and leaders of Ms. for all these years — Gloria Steinem, Katherine Spillar, Eleanor Smeal, to name a few, each of them legends in the feminist world — gathered in New York to celebrate the anniversary and the publication of a new book, "50 Years of Ms." which includes "The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution."
To be honest, it could have been a depressing night. The founders are now senior citizens. Blonde hair has turned gray. We are still fighting so many of the same battles. Essays written decades ago — about access to abortion, fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment, date rape and voting rights, about battles we thought we had won, only to be fighting again — are sadly still relevant.
But it was a celebration. Yes, the founders were there. But so were women who were not even born when Ms. was founded and are now taking leadership roles in the movement.A new generation finding inspiration.
And rather than bemoaning the fact that we are fighting the old fights — again — the spirit of determination and commitment was palpable. There was Sarah Kovner, one of my heroines, who has been doing politics since I was a kid, and what is she up to? She's focused on House and Senate races in 2024. Of course. There was Steinem, inspiring that new generation to follow her lead.
On my first day of law school, almost 50 years ago, my torts professor called on me, but before he got the question out, he launched into a long diatribe about what he should call me.
He said he found "Ms." to be "aesthetically displeasing." So, should he call me "Miss"? But what if I was married? Should he call me "comrade"? But what if I was an alien? I sat there shaking, waiting for the question.
But here's the punchline. The next year, we were running the Women's Law Association, Ms. was already a magazine, and we sent a delegation to his first torts class to ensure that, aesthetically displeasing or not, women were to be called "Ms." And they were. A small victory, but one that mattered to us. Thanks to Gloria et al. I have been a "Ms." ever since.
The book is empowering because that's what Ms. has always been about. Helping women to seize the power we have and to use it, to act collectively, to realize that together we can make change happen, even if it takes 50 years.
Susan Estrich is a politician, professor, lawyer and writer. Whether on the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post or as a television commentator on countless news programs on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, she has tackled legal matters, women's concerns, national politics and social issues. Read Susan Estrich's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.