I really hate Esquire’s Women we Love feature. I also hate their Sexiest Woman Alive feature. Yes it’s probably true that they (them) speak for the larger swath of male human but it’s just so … small. But okay fine. Indeed, from my perspective one of the greatest women ever has to be Gloria Steinem, not just for who she was but for who she IS and what she’ll leave behind. Sure, it seems like a no-brainer that a feminist would choose a feminist to admire – okay, one of THE feminists — but to call Steinem merely a feminist is to miss so much about her.

Recently she turned 80. She had a few ruminations worth noting on her 80th year and one was that she felt finally free of the libido. Because of that she was able to really get some things done. Who can’t relate to that? The desperate reach is so annoying, isn’t it? Love and lust, those two awful things. What else could take their place? Imagine it. This, of course, probably only applies to women like Steinem (and me) who are unsettled in the matters of the heart and body. It feels like a quest of sorts. What is the end goal to that? Both of us, and many like us, prefer our freedom over all other things. I know I need a lot of time alone to just think about things. As I almost turn 50 I know this about myself. That makes me mostly unsocial a lot of the time. On the other hand, we need other people or we’ll go insane. I mean, even more than usual.

Steinem has given so much back to the world. She has taken very little. That is, to me, the ideal life.

Here are my top ten most admired – you have to imagine it in 12 year-old girl scrawl, optimistically written in my journal at one point. It never was. I never did. I was too busy admiring Olivia Newton John back then to notice.

Jane Goodall
Gloria Steinem
Oprah Winfrey
Susan Sarandon
Diane Keaton
Maya Angelou
Emily Dickinson
Georgia O’Keefe
Hillary Clinton
Jane Campion

That many of these women are tortured in love makes me feel a little better about the sorry state of events in my personal life. There are probably many more women to admire who ARE in stable marriages. They didn’t immediately leap to mind but I’m sure they’re there.