History and Vision
In 2013, Feminist.com’s partner Maiden Nation developed the Imagine Project with Yoko Ono to create a campaign with an “Imagine” phrase on a bracelet to benefit a non-profit organization. Feminist.com approached an advisory board member Gloria Steinem, to ask if she would like to create a bracelet too. Gloria agreed. When asked to suggest a phrase that summarized her overarching vision, she selected a phrase that had deep meaning to her: We Are Linked, Not Ranked.
Gloria wore the bracelet and talked about its origins in this 2015 conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg that appeared in The New York Times, stating, "A group called Feminist.com made these baby bead bracelets. On one, they spell “Imagine,” and on the other, they asked us to write what we want. I went with “Imagine” and “We are linked, not ranked.”
Gloria was involved in the bracelet design, and they were sold through the Feminist.com website and at our events over the past several years. Gloria has loved giving them as gifts too!
Recently, the bracelets received renewed attention when Gloria gifted the bracelets to Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle during a taping of MAKERS and discussed the message of We Are Linked Not Ranked. “We are linked, not ranked' is the shortest way I've ever found to say what our goal is," Steinem told Markle. "It means everything to me on every level," Markle responded. The story and bracelets received widespread media attention, and was featured in high-profile outlets including The New York Times, People, Refinery29, Marie Claire, Huffington Post, and British Vogue among others.
A Timely and Powerful Message to Meet This Moment
The message of the bracelets - one of unity and interconnection, across differences and divides - is especially timely and powerful in this moment. We have exciting plans to create a global campaign to spread its inspiring message. Our dream is to use these bracelets to spark conversation, create community, spread hope and positivity, and build solidarity.
Join the We Are Linked Not Ranked mailing list to stay informed about our plans!
Interview with Gloria Steinem About the Creation of the Bracelet
Marianne Schnall: For the beautiful Imagine bracelets that you designed with Maiden Nation that benefit the organization I run, Feminist.com, you selected this phrase, "We are Linked Not Ranked." I've heard you use that phrase many times, and in your book you write, "When humans are ranked, instead of linked, everyone loses." What does that phrase mean to you, and how do we make that principle operational in the world?
Gloria Steinem: It was the shortest way I could think of saying what our goal is. Nothing else seemed short enough to put on a bracelet [laughs]. It's the paradigm that was the paradigm of societies for most of human history, and still is of some, and that is the circle not the pyramid. That we are literally linked in a circle, including with nature, as well as with other human beings. Old societies didn’t have and still don’t have "he" and "she." They don't have gendered pronouns. They don't have a word for nature, because we're not separate from nature. Viewing the world as linked, not ranked, is profoundly different from viewing it in a hierarchical way, which causes you to label everyone with their place in the hierarchy.
Listen to the interview with Gloria Steinem about the bracelets:
MS: I was struck in your book when you wrote that when you first started speaking on the road, you discovered "an intense interest in the simple idea 'that our shared humanity and individual uniqueness far outweighs any label by group of birth whether sex, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religious heritage or anything else.'" So if there is such interest in this concept, why all these years later is it still so hard for the human race to see our common humanity, beyond all these divides?
GS: We've lived with the labels for somewhere between 500 and 5,000 years, depending on what part of the world we're in. And what we experience in our childhoods that comes to seem normal, or even inevitable, is that if you are placed in a hierarchy, you probably are immediately anxious about going further down and you're striving to go further up, so your energies get placed into becoming "more than," or at least not becoming "less than," instead of becoming "part of." But there is a longing, as we see in our communal lives, to be in a group, to sit around a campfire, to talk to each other, to tell our stories and listen to other people's stories. If you say to a group, two things are true: one, we've grown up with the idea of gender and race and so we think it's real, and the other truth is that it's an invention, people are relieved.
MS: Do you think that’s part of what we need? There's been a lot of conversation, not just about getting women in leadership, but about what types of paradigms of leadership and power we most need now. Do you think that part of it is redefining how power is used?
GS: Yes, and that's been true from the beginning. In the late '60s, people were saying we need power to, not power over. Power to do, accomplish, create, not power over other people.
From an interview with Marianne Schnall, founder of Feminist.com.