At Tuesday’s press preview for Annie Leibovitz’s new photography exhibit“WOMEN: New Portraits”,opening Friday in New York, Gloria Steinem had some wisdom to share about the obstacles we’re facing in our country today—and how we might move forward.
Leibovitz and Steinem—longtime friends, fellow creatives, activists and OG feminists, who collaborated on the project and have taken it on an international 10-city tour—are the rallying voices we need to hear right now.
Grouped together, Leibovitz’s portraits of powerful women, from Joan Didion to Malala, remind the viewer of our strength in numbers. Listening to Steinem and Leibovitz discuss the intersection of art and activism — and how their list of female contenders to include in the exhibit is so long, Leibovitz will just have to keep adding to the “sea of women” — it was hard not to feel hopeful.
During the Q&A portion, when Steinem was asked about her concerns and fears for women under a Trump presidency, she made a powerful analogy to a domestic violence situation:
What we know is that at the moment of just before escaping or just after escaping is the most dangerous time for a woman (could be a man, too, but usually it’s a woman) escaping from a violent household. That is the time she’s most likely to be beaten or murdered. I think that we are, similarly, at a time of maximum danger in this country and we need to look after each other….But it is also true that just as we would not tell anyone to go back into a violent household, we will not tell each other to go back. And even though it is a time of danger, maybe we are about to be free.
Her words reflect the vulnerability of our country right now, which, in the week since Trump was elected has seen a rise in hate crimes and mass anxiety. The analogy isn’t far-fetched for a nation soon to be under the rule of a man accused repeatedly of sexual assaultwho,almost daily, proposes policies that would discriminate against his electorate. Working together—”don’t agonize, organize,” as the saying goes—whether it means donating to Planned Parenthood or marching on Washington, is the only way we can get through the next four years and onto a more humane future.