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Gloria Steinem reveals her biggest regret

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(Flickr/Mindy Kittay)

Today on the Afternoon Shift, activist, author and constant traveler Gloria Steinem reflects on her career and life as a leader in the feminist movement. Steinem was in town last week for a talk at Columbia College as part of their Conversations in the Arts series, during which she swept the city by storm in a media whirlwind. That’s something she’s become accustomed to: she didn’t become arguably the most famous figure in the feminist movement without understanding the power of the press.

That doesn’t mean that Steinem’s immune to the sort of controversy that often plagued late feminist peer (and supposed rival) Betty Freidan. In an interview with TimeOut Chicago‘s Novid Parsi in anticipation of her Chicago visit, Steinem reiterated long-held beliefs about the danger of pornography for women, but also spoke about her thoughts on sadomasochism that might be surprising to some: "...obviously the statistics for child abuse as a reason for S&M are huge,” she said. “Nature tells us that something is good for us by making it pleasurable, and bad for us by making it painful. To get those two things mixed up generally involves very early and severe child abuse.” She then clarified that that not necessarily “true of everybody, but our bodies do give us pain as a sign of danger.”

Listen to the interview with Gloria Steinem

So what do we cover today that TimeOut didn’t? Well, in Steinem’s interview with Steve Edwards, she tells him about her biggest regret, one that will surprise you, considering her prolific life. (For some background on her thoughts about aging and her life thus far, watch this recent TEDxWomen talk with Salamishah Tillet below.) She also discusses how she’s gotten to a place of contentment now that she’s almost eighty. Plus: the phrase “orgasm of the mind” is used. And in case you were wondering: this interview most definitely did not take place at the Playboy Club.

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