The Time Factor – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Gloria Steinem

The Time Factor

`The main thesis of Gloria Steinem’s essay “The Time Factor” is that our sense of time is partly a function of power or lack of it. Time-sense is always governed by power- either monetary power or social power. Planning ahead depends on class, sex, and caste.

The rich and the middle-class plan for the future generations while the poor plan for a week or a few days. Women also can not plan ahead as they are dominated by men. Even well-to-do women have to adjust their life according to the life of their husband and children. Females are powerless in society so they also only plan for a few days.

They live in flux, present, and uncertainty. Even some feminists only look at their painful past and do not focus on the future. Women are limited to day to day existence. While men always live in a dreamy future without living in the day to day present. Blacks who are socially and culturally powerless also can not plan for the future. A black, successful journalist and critic also could not plan beyond one assignment.

Important Questions:

  • How do you interpret Steinem’s thesis that your sense of time is partly a function of power or the lack of it?”
  • How does Steinem differentiate future planning, which is ‘culturally masculine habit of planning’, to women’s plans for the future in the essay?

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