The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Gloria Steinem And Roxane Gay: It's Time For A Female President

By Rachel Cromidas in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 30, 2015 4:39PM

Image courtesy of

One of the most iconic feminist writers of the 20th century (ever?) met one of the most iconic feminist writers of this one in Chicago Thursday night, and the pair drew a crowd of over 1000 to hear them talk about the future of feminism, the presidential race, police brutality and their respective new books.

Gloria Steinem has for decades been an outspoken voice on so-called women's issues, from abortion access to equal pay, and she is currently traveling to promote her latest book, the memoir My Life on the Road. Roxane Gay's 2014 essay collection Bad Feminist sparked a national conversation around the popular meaning and utility of feminism in a world of contradictory images and expectations of women and femininity, and she frequently contributes op-eds to the New York Times.

In their hour-long book talk, hosted by Women and Children First Bookstore and the People's Church in Uptown, Steinem and Gay said they believe it's time for a female president of the United States, and that they support Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

"I think she has a chance," Steinem said. "I didn't in '08."

"I like her. She's a barracuda. She looks like she knows where all the bodies are buried. Just look at her experience alone," Gay said, noting Clinton's record as a senator, Secretary of State and First Lady, among other offices.

Gay also invoked the now-viral image of Clinton looking unfazed during the hours-long Benghazi hearings. And responding to an audience question about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, both Steinem and Gay said he is not their favorite candidate.

"Bernie Sanders has a good heart, he's like a great old fashioned socialist who is good on economic issues, not so much there about sex and race and other things," Steinem said. "I'm glad he's there, but he's definitely not my candidate."

"I feel perfectly comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton because she is a woman," Gay said. "I think it's time."

Gay and Steinem also fielded questions about intersectionality, debt and the concept of white allyship, to which Gay responded that she is tired of telling white women how to support black women within feminism.

Members of the audience behind us joked that the attendees with gray hair were here for Steinem, while the younger crowd was here for Gay, whose active social media presence and smart essays in hip online publications have drawn a following. We told them that we were there to hear from both women—but yes, we did first hear about the event from Gay's Twitter.

Gay played it cool in her post-event Tweets.