After finishing her degree in 1956, Steinem received a fellowship to study in India. She first worked for Independent Research Service and then established a career for herself as a freelance writer. One of her most famous articles from the time was a 1963 expose on New York City’s Playboy Club for Show magazine. Steinem went undercover for the piece, working as a waitress, or a scantily clad “bunny” as they called them, at the club. In the late 1960s, she helped create New York magazine, and wrote a column on politics for the publication. Steinem became more engaged in the women’s movement after reporting on an abortion hearing given by the radical feminist group known as the Redstockings. She expressed her feminist views in such essays as “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.”
In 1971 Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, in forming the National Women’s Political Caucus, which worked on behalf of women’s issues. She also took the lead in launching the pioneering, feminist Ms magazine. It began as an insert in New York magazine in December 1971; its first independent issue appeared in January 1972. Under her direction, the magazine tackled important topics, including domestic violence. Ms. became the first national publication to feature the subject on its cover in 1976.
As her public profile continued to rise, Gloria Steinem faced criticism from some feminists, including the Redstockings, for her association with the CIA-backed Independent Research Service. Others questioned her commitment to the feminist movement because of her glamorous image. Undeterred, Steinem continued on her own way, speaking out, lecturing widely, and organizing various women’s functions. She also wrote extensively on women’s issues. Her 1983 collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, featured works on a broad range of topics from “The Importance of Work” to “The Politics of Food.”