What a Purple Motorcycle Taught Gloria Steinem About Stereotypes

Season 6 Episode 627
Aired on 10/25/2015 | CC tv-14
In her decades fighting for women's rights, feminist icon Gloria Steinem has traveled the world. The open road has taken her from rural India to the streets of New York and virtually everything in between.

Sometimes, she says, her trips lead to personal epiphanies. On a flight to a powwow in Grand Rapids, South Dakota, Gloria and her friends, including author Alice Walker, noticed scores of men wearing studded leather jackets and chains. When they arrived at their destination, Gloria confirmed with a waitress that they were amidst a biker rally.

Gloria tried to play it cool, but the media representation of biker gangs portrayed them in a negative light. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that something bad might happen. That's until she had an encounter that challenged her preconceptions.

"One of the motorcycle wives, she came over and she said, 'I just want to tell you, I really enjoy Ms. magazine.'," Gloria says. The biker continued to say she likes Alice Walker's poetry and then pointed out the window at her purple motorcycle with a license plate that read 'MS.'

Gloria continues, "She said, 'You should see my grandkids when grandma drives up in her purple motorcycle.' It was just wonderful. And so my conclusion is that we all have a purple motorcycle inside."

Watch as Gloria explains the power of "purple motorcycle" moments and Oprah shares her own story of having a prejudice challenged.