Fashion Reverie Interview: Gloria Steinem at the Apne Aap Dinner

Ruchira Gupta, Ashley Judd, Gloria Steinem, Mona Sinha, and Dorchen Leidholdt attend the APNE Aap dinner  in New York City. (Photo by CJ Rivera/Getty Images)

At Fashion Reverie, we love to give witness to when powerful women come together for a cause. It was a meeting of the activists and the feminist principle at the Cosmopolitan Club where feminist and social activist icon Gloria Steinem, Emmy-nominated actress Ashley Judd, and Apne Aap founder Ruchira Gupta came together for the Apne Aap Dinner.Apne Aap’s mission is to combat child prostitution and sex trafficking, a cause that Steinem has been involved in for many years. This year, the organization presented special awards to Judd, Dorchen Leidholdt, and Mona Sinha. The evening included a screening of a short film by Maemae Dylan (Bob Dylan’s granddaughter) “Call to Action by Girls For The Last Girl,” and a special theatrical performance by Dipti Mehta titled “Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan.”

After the event, Fashion Reverie had the privilege of talking with Gloria Steinem about her continuous activism and involvement with this cause.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get involved with this incredible organization?

Gloria Steinem: Ruchira Gupta and I have known each other since before she formed this organization. We were both journalists who were writing about things that were pretty unjust, so, we became activists. I’m grateful that I have known her as a way of support and extension of what I care about. Also, India is my second home. It’s where I lived when I first got out of college. I lived there for two years, so my oldest friends are there.

FR: So, what do you think the US can do in order to stop sex trafficking abroad?

Gloria Steinem: We can stop supplying customers. It’s what creates the sex trafficking industry, even in this country. We have a massive sex trafficking industry here. The average age of entry into prostitution is something like 12 or 13.

FR: What else can we do to dismantle some of these systems of oppression against young women?

Gloria Steinem: You can make clear to the guys you know that it is not acceptable to buy another human being. Body invasion is a level of trauma that is greater than getting beaten on the outside. You can do so much to just delegitimize sex trafficking by simply reaffirming that it is just not acceptable. If you are going to a business meeting or convention and there are prostitutes or call girls who are a part of it, you can say that is not okay. That can do a lot.

                                      Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

FR: What is the greatest thing that has come out of contemporary feminism that is helping put a stop to things like this?Gloria Steinem: The miracle of individual women, who, with no encouragement, and sometimes opposition from their own families, even facing ridicule and violence, joining the cause in spite of obstaces. It’s the miracle of empathy, survival and community. I see it everyday.   

—Kristopher Fraser


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