Why Gloria Steinem thinks ’30 under 30′ lists are ridiculous

It’s kind of been Gloria Steinem Quote Christmas as of late. I mean, real talk, it’s been Gloria Steinem Quote Christmas since she burst onto the scene as a journalist in the early 1960’s. But with her new memoir My Life On The Road having just come out, Steinem has been making the press rounds which means we’ve been getting maximum wisdom from this great lady on the regular as of late. In the past month, she’s given killer profile to the New Yorker, an A+ interview to Lena Duham, not to mention giving us the perfect comeback for the next time some jerk calls us a b-word. Now, she’s telling us why we shouldn’t stress if we don’t make it onto a 30 under 30 list, because honestly, she thinks the wunderkind obsession is kind of a joke.

In a recent interview with Elle.com, interviewer Mattie Kahn brought up the fact that “There is tremendous pressure right now to get a lot done when you’re still very young. It’s given rise to a whole genre of journalism.” Kahn used the example of “30 under 30” lists, to which Steinem replied “That is such bulls*t.” Steinem then elaborated:

Kahn acknowledged the truth in this, and added “It’s that sense that we need to ‘have it all.’”

To this, Steinem countered, “But nobody can have it all if it means doing it all. And anyway, who wants it all? Frankly, it sounds terrible. You’re a unique person. You should do what you’re suited to do. We all should. It’s the only way to be happy. That pressure is all outside. It’s external.”

We love Steinem for cutting through the shenanigans of contemporary expectations. After all, what good is aspiring to early external success if it leaves us unhappy and unfulfilled? Steinem is right, we should be adventuring all over the place and not worrying about having it all, we should be living big lives on our own terms, not losing our minds over whether or not we are impressing other people on arbitrary deadlines.

Here’s hoping we’re all as badass as Gloria Steinem when we’re 81 years old.

(P.S. The entire interview is over here at Elle.com and super-worth a read. BECAUSE STEINEM, you guys. Because Steinem.)


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