An activist in Springfield explains the viral comment she left on Gloria Steinem’s Facebook page

“You chalked up an entire generation of women as brainless who vote for a man’s approval. That’s not why we earned the right to vote.’’

–Getty Images

After making controversial comments about young female voters during a television appearance, Gloria Steinem publicly apologized to her fans on Sunday.

In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been...

Posted by Gloria Steinem on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Steinem, a journalist, social activist, and feminist icon, appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on February 5 to talk politics. In the interview, Steinem claimed that female voters who back Bernie Sanders only do so for male attention, which led to an outcry in the feminist community and her subsequent apology.

But to many, including Chelsea Donaldson of Springfield, Steinem’s apology felt incomplete and insincere. Donaldson expressed this in a reply to Steinem’s post, which has gained over 7,000 likes since she posted it on February 8, bumping it to the top of the comment thread (Facebook’s algorithm awards comments with higher engagement from other users).

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“She didn’t apologize for what actually pissed [people] off,’’ Donaldson said. “Nowhere in her apology does she own up to what she said.’’

Donaldson, 26, is an activist in Springfield and a law student at both Western New England University School of Law and Springfield College. She works in tenant advocacy, fighting eviction and educating tenants about their rights. She cites Steinem as a major influence in her decision to become involved in social issues.

Donaldson supports Sanders, and to hear Steinem – one of the world’s most recognizable feminists – criticize that support felt akin to a betrayal.

“Women are sick of being accused of misogyny just because we don’t want to vote for a woman,’’ she said.

“There’s [been] this constant rhetoric in the past weeks from Clinton’s endorsements, that millennial women don’t understand the significance of having a female president,’’ Donaldson said. “It’s possible to have great admiration for the fact that we have a great female candidate for president while disagreeing with her politics. That’s not a misogynistic thing to do.’’

Despite Steinem’s comments, Donaldson said that she still deeply admires the writer.

“I would love to have a conversation with Gloria Steinem,’’ she said, “if only to impress upon the fact that I truly do have her in the highest regard, and I respect her immensely. But I want to make it clear that women in my generation, we know what we’re doing. We’re not stupid.’’

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