A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Vanity Fair's Women on Women - Edited by Radhika Jones and David Friend - Feature and Review


Looking back at the last thirty-five years of Vanity Fair stories on women, by women, with an introduction by the magazine's editor in chief, Radhika Jones

Gail Sheehy on Hillary Clinton. Ingrid Sischy on Nicole Kidman. Jacqueline Woodson on Lena Waithe. Leslie Bennetts on Michelle Obama. And two Maureens (Orth and Dowd) on two Tinas (Turner and Fey). Vanity Fair's Women on Women features a selection of the best profiles, essays, and columns on female subjects written by female contributors to the magazine over the past thirty-five years.

From the viewpoint of the female gaze come penetrating profiles on everyone from Gloria Steinem to Princess Diana to Whoopi Goldberg to essays on workplace sexual harassment (by Bethany McLean) to a post-#MeToo reassessment of the Clinton scandal (by Monica Lewinsky). Many of these pieces constitute the first draft of a larger cultural narrative. They tell a singular story about female icons and identity over the last four decades--and about the magazine as it has evolved under the editorial direction of Tina Brown, Graydon Carter, and now Radhika Jones, who has written a compelling introduction.

When Vanity Fair's inaugural editor, Frank Crowninshield, took the helm of the magazine in 1914, his mission statement declared, "We hereby announce ourselves as determined and bigoted feminists." Under Jones's leadership, Vanity Fair continues the publication's proud tradition of highlighting women's voices--and all the many ways they define our culture.



Vanity Fair's Women on WomenVanity Fair's Women on Women by Radhika Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vanity Fair’s Women on Women is a 2019 Penguin Press publication.

Fascinating women, fascinating lives!

This is a strong collection of profiles of the women who appeared in Vanity Fair Magazine over the years. All were influential in their way, some were controversial, all are interesting and unique!

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to Vanity Fair and today it is the only magazine I still take. While I may have read some of these profiles over the years, there were many that were before my time- such as Emily Post. I was most surprised by the profile on Barbara Bush. Matronly grandmother? I think not!!

Others profiled included several other first ladies, including Michelle Obama, and the royals- Grace Kelly, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. Actresses and musicians from Tina Turner to Meryl Streep and important feminist icons like Gloria Steinem. From Cher to Lady Gaga, the book covers roughly four decades.

The book also includes articles examining two of the most prominent feminist issues of today- The #MeToo movement and the Silicon Valley Boy’s Club.

The book also serves as a profile of the magazine itself, showing the various ways the publication as evolved and changed and the influence it has had on society from a feminine standpoint.

Overall, this a very interesting compilation of profiles and articles. It is a short book, an easy read, and is a book one can put down and pick back up easily, read between other books, or while sitting in waiting rooms, or on your lunch break. But, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down!!

Great history, strong women, thoughtful, eye-opening articles-all reminding me of why I continue to support this publication! Thank you, Vanity Fair!






David Friend is an editor for Vanity Fair Magazine, and an Emmy-winnning documentary producer. He is also the author of Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11.


Radhika Jones is an American magazine editor and the fifth editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair Magazine.



  1. Fantastic review Julie! I have not seen this one before.

    1. Thank you, Kim! It is a short, but a truly interesting group of essays and articles about the women profiled over the years in Vanity Fair magazine. Highly recommend! 💖


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