The Sibyls Salute: Gloria Steinem

by The Sibyls

Gloria Steinem Quote

Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, founding editor MS magazine, social activist and commentator is currently on tour in Australia. In an article titled Gloria Steinem at 82: a hopeless hopeaholic always on the move by Susan Wyndham (18 May 2016, SMH) Gloria claimed she will have to live to 100 years of age to keep up with her current commitments.

‘On her to-do list: help get Hillary Clinton elected as US president (“I think she can win and she has to win”); introduce a Vice series of documentaries on violence against women around the world; consult on an HBO TV series about Ms, the feminist magazine she co-founded in the ’70s; work on a one-woman theatre show in which actor Kathy Najimy plays Steinem and the real Steinem joins in for an audience Q&A.

Gloria Steinem Sibylesque

We, The Sibyls, salute Gloria Steinem for her lifetime involvement in social reform and her continuing commitment to improving the lives of minority groups and the disadvantaged. She has been politically active for over 50 years and an inspiration for generations of women. Now, at 82 years of age, she is a role model for older women. She is an articulate, intelligent and vital life force, who demonstrates how much can be achieved at any age by anyone willing to put up their hand and become involved.

1 hour interview on ABC Radio 774 with Jon Faine and Kaz Cooke

This is what 74 looks like: FABULOUS!

by the Sibyls

Arethra Franklin Quote Sibylesque

Despite all her fame and success, Arethra Franklin has not had an easy life. Her mother died when she was only 10 years old. She was first pregenant at 14. She’s had 2 marriages, one involving domestic violence, given birth to 3 sons and struggled with weight gain issues all her life.  In 1979 her father C. L. was shot at point blank range in his Detroit home. Aretha moved back to Detroit in late 1982 to assist with the care of her father, who died 1984. Yet, despite all of her struggles, Arethra has bounced back again and again. This is Arethra Franklin singing and playing piano at the Kennedy Centre for President Obama in 2015. She is  74 years old and magnificent!

We, the Sibyls, salute Arethra Franklin not only for her sublime artistry, but for her gutsy attitude to dealing with so many of the tragedies and difficulties life can throw at you.

Vote 1 Wisdom ….. or How not to be a victim by Hillary Clinton

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Wise woman quoteHillary Clinton is 67 years old and running for President. If she is voted into office, an increasingly unlikely scenario, she will be 70 years old and, after 2 possible terms, she will be 78 years old.

Why all the brouhaha? Opponents have dubbed Hillary ‘grandma’, which, indeed, she is, but the term is used as an insult. It is meant to demean her status.

Sibylesque Vote 1 for WisdomThere have been 44 presidents with 3 in Hillary’s demographic. Margaret Thatcher was 54 when she became Prime Minister in 1979 and held that office for 11 years. Golda Meir was 71 when elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. Angela Merkel was 51 when elected German Chancellor. She remains in office at the age of 61.

There are now 46 million Americans over 65 and the numbers are rising. Last election they represented 23% of the voting population. Only a fool would set out to insult 23% of potential voters. Then again, fools rush in where the older and wiser fear to tread.

Hillary had the last say. She started a Twitter account #Grandmotherknowsbest.

Thus ends the lesson in how not to be a victim.

curlicuePhotosource: Winedentity


Notable Women: Christine de Pizan

by Lorna Ebringer

 Sibylesque Virginia Woolf Quote

A lot has been written about the life and work of Christine de Pizan, late medieval scholar and writer but I had never heard of her until Sibyl in chief Kerry asked me to write about her for Sibylesque. Here is a potted history for those of you who would like to become acquainted with this extraordinary woman.

Sibylesque Christine de Pizan in her studyAccording to the British Library Christine de Pizan was born in Venice in 1365, the daughter of Tommaso de Benvenuto da Pizzano who was a physician and a court astrologer. After her birth the family moved to France where Tommaso accepted an appointment as court astrologer to Charles V. It was here at the court that Christine received an extensive and wide ranging education supervised by her father, an education that was normally reserved for men of the wealthy class in that time.

City of Women by Christine de Pizan. She supervised the production of the illustrated manuscript.

City of Women by Christine de Pizan. She supervised the production of the illustrated manuscript.

At the age of 15 Christine married Ettiene du Castel. She had three children before being widowed 10 years later. It is clear from her poems that Christine loved her husband and felt her loss deeply

Alone and in great suffering in this

deserted world full of sadness has my

sweet lover left me. He possessed my

heart, in greatest joy, without grief.

Now he is dead; I’m weighted down by

grievous mourning and such sadness has

gripped my heart that I will always weep

for his death.

(from One Hundred Ballads, completed before 1402, translated by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski)

As her father had also died four years earlier Christine had to find a way to support herself, her children and her mother. She turned to writing and in the following 30 years published both prose works and poetry enjoying great success serving as court writer for several dukes and the French royal court of Charles VI. It is claimed that she was the first woman in western literature known to have made a living as a writer.

 Sibylesque Christine de Pizan being instructed by the Sibyl in the spheres of heaven

Initially she wrote love ballads for wealthy patrons often on commission. These proved very popular and she wrote 300 in all. Her prose works include The City of Women, the Faytte of Armies or The Deeds of War and Chivalry, The Book of Peace and the book of the Changes of Fortune.

Nowadays Christine is of interest to feminist scholars for her writings on the position of women in society. Simone de Bouvoir wrote in 1949 that she was the first woman to take up a pen in defence of her sex. In her plea for the education of girls Christine wrote

“If it were customary to send little girls to school and teach them the same subjects as are taught to boys, they would learn just as fully and would understand the subtleties of all arts and sciences.”

Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

 Sibylesque Christine de Pizan and 'The City of Ladies'

and on domestic violence

“How many women are there … who because of their husbands’ harshness spend their weary lives in the bond of marriage in greater suffering than if they were slaves among the Saracens?”

Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

At the age of 55 Christine retired to a convent at Poissy.




Lorna Ebringer’s passions include trekking  in remote areas of Georgia, China and Japan, opera appreciation and rock ‘n roll dancing. Her previous post was When god had a wife.


Photo Source: British LIbrary Manuscripts online.………………………………………………..