Ruchira Gupta: How much is non-violence a component of the feminist movement?
Gloria Steinem: Non-violence has not been enunciated by the women’s movement because it’s assumed. Not because women are better or different human beings or intrinsically less violent than men but because we haven’t been raised with our masculinity to prove, we haven’t been encouraged to be violent towards others. Indeed, we haven’t even been encouraged to defend ourselves. We could use some more encouragement towards, I wouldn’t call it ‘violence’ exactly, but ‘forceful self-defence.’
How do you define ‘non-violence’?
I’ve never tried to define it. But I would say that ‘non-violence’ also includes non-humiliation, not depriving an individual of the basics of life, and using non-violent language. Language shapes not only our alternatives, our interactions with each other, but also our idea of what is possible. It has to do with the way we communicate with each other. Therefore I would say that a form of non-violence that, though not as urgent as stopping people from being killed, is still a means by which to stop people from being killed. Continue Reading.