Power-Full Quotes

“My #1, most detested Domestic Violence question EVER!!
QUESTION: Why do you/did you stay with him?
ANSWER: BECAUSE HE DIDN’T LET ME LEAVE!!!!!
Don’t ask this to anyone. Ever. It is so hurtful and so ignorant and so utterly victim blaming that there is absolutely no possibility for any good or loving conversation to come from it.
Domestic violence is real. It is nuanced. It is overwhelming. It is not simply a ‘bad day’ or a ‘mean look’ a ‘bruised cheek’ or a ‘raised voice.’ It is a systematic destruction of a whole person. Sit with this for a while and think about how you might move through the world if you were, every minute of every day, being removed from yourself through the abuse of another.
Cultivating Empathy — it’s what we should do.
Have a good day — take on the world — hug someone — be kind”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Leadership is not wielding authority — it’s empowering people.”
~Becky Brodin


“I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad – human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a “feminist” story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.”
— Natalie Portman


“One of the first things people usually ask me is, ‘Gabourey, how are you so confident?’” Sidibe began.
[...]
“What I would say, is my mom moved my brother and I to my aunt’s house. Her name is Dorothy Pitman Hughes, she is a feminist, an activist, and a lifelong friend of Gloria Steinem. Every day, I had to get up and go to school where everyone made fun of me, and I had to go home to where everyone made fun of me. Every day was hard to get going, no matter which direction I went. And on my way out of the house, I found strength. In the morning on the way out to the world, I passed by a portrait of my aunt and Gloria together. Side by side they stood, one with long beautiful hair and one with the most beautiful, round, Afro hair I had ever seen, both with their fists held high in the air. Powerful. Confident. And every day as I would leave the house… I would give that photo a fist right back. And I’d march off into battle. [She starts crying] I didn’t know that I was being inspired then. On my way home, I’d walk back up those stairs, I’d give that photo the fist again, and continue my march back in for more battle.”
~Gabourey Sidibe


“I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [tears up] If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable. [wipes tears] So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!”
~Gabourey Sidibe


“Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
— Audre Lorde.


“And I tell you this. My friends, there will always be someone seeking to use one part of your selves, and at the same time urging you to forget or destroy all of the other selves. And I warn you, this is death. Death to you as a woman, death to you as a poet, death to you as a human being.”
— Audre Lorde, Self-Definition and My Poetry


“In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.”
— Audre Lorde


“Even if a woman had the income and independence necessary to pursue a career as an artist she might find the doors barred against her as the great academies and institutions of art refused to admit women, often on the grounds of morality. The idea that women would be allowed to paint nudes – especially male nudes – from life was shockingly improper. Drawing from life is key to learning how to paint realistic human bodies, and you’ll notice that most of the ‘Great’ works from before advent of modernism feature full-length figures, particularly in religious scenes. The fact that women weren’t allowed to study human anatomy alongside men effectively restricted female artists to portraits, still lifes and landscapes and thus excluded them from the most prestigious and lucrative commissions.”
~Sarah Jackson, Where are women in the history of art?


“For every man who gets upset over feminist discourse and says, ‘But I am not an abuser!’ — the reality of women’s lives is such that rather than complain in a self-absorbed rant, you should give all of your effort, time, and talents until you can say unequivocally of all men, ‘We are not abusers” because we can see the proof of your full personhood and your flourishing lives.'”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The abusive man’s problem with anger is almost the opposite of what is commonly believed. The reality is:
Your abusive partner doesn’t have a problem with HIS anger; he has a problem with YOUR anger.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you —as will happen to any abused woman from time to time —he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straightjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
— Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men


“I often use “emasculation” in quotes in my writing, to imply that I am questioning the word itself. The correct word to use is dehumanization. But a man is not even dehumanized solely because a woman does something better than he does, unless he views his humanity as the conglomeration of patriarchal norms, not a real humanity of complexity and nuance. That’s the issue. Any patriarchal norm deviated from is viewed as a threat to their existence versus them realizing that the real threat to their existence is making it predicated upon a list of limiting and rigid norms. When men state that women can’t do X, they often are also stating that they must do X. They imprison themselves via patriarchy as well. The only reason why it impacts women much worse is because men still have male privilege, can enforce misogyny with greater power and sexism benefits them.”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“The task of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much personal integrity as possible; it is to dismantle those systems.”
— Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance


“The aim of each thing which we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible. Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision – a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered.
Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. So we are taught to separate the erotic demand from most vital areas of our lives other than sex. And the lack of concern for the erotic root and satisfactions of our work is felt in our disaffection from so much of what we do.”
~Audre Lorde


“The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to the exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need – the principal horror of such a system is that it robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love. But this is tantamount to blinding a painter and then telling her to improve her work, and to enjoy the act of painting. It is not only next to impossible, it is also profoundly cruel.
As women, we need to examine the ways in which our world can be truly different. I am speaking here of the necessity for reassessing the quality of all the aspects of our lives and of our work, and of how we move toward and through them.”
~Audre Lorde


“I want to emphasise the importance of approaching both our theoretical explorations and our movement activism in ways that enlarge and expand and complicate and deepen our theories and practices of freedom. Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialities, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.”
— Angela Davis, “Feminism and Abolition: Theories and Practices for the 21st Century”


What do you see as the biggest barrier to young women connecting to feminism today?
“The word itself comes with such bad baggage. You’ll have women who if you listed out major ideas of gender equality, they would agree with them, but then if you said, “are you a feminist?,” they’d say “no.” That’s one of the reasons I wanted to use the word feminism. [I wanted to] talk to young people, and say, ‘forget the history of the word and the baggage it carries, and think about the idea of it.'”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian author and activist


“The future of our earth may depend on the ability of all women to identify and develop new definitions of power and new patterns of relating across difference. The old definitions have not served us, nor the earth that supports us. The old patterns, no matter how cleverly rearranged to imitate progress, still condemn us to cosmetically altered repetitions of the same old exchanges, the same old guilt, hatred, recrimination, lamentation and suspicion.”
—Audre Lorde


“When someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world, and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing. Yet you know you exist and others like you, that this is a game with mirrors. It takes some strength of soul – and not just individual strength, but collective understanding – to resist this void, this nonbeing, into which we are thrust, and to stand up, demanding to be seen and heard.”
-Adrienne Rich


“Margaret Atwood once wrote that “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them,” but it’s even more complicated than that. Women aren’t just afraid that they’ll be hurt; they’re afraid that they’ll be hurt and they’ll get blamed for it.”
— Ana Mardoll


“As a Native American, I can’t tell you what an absolute pain it is to traverse through aisles of costumes this time of year, especially with children in tow. Mommy doesn’t like explaining why Party City is selling a “Cheeky Cherokee” teen costume that promises to send its wearers “heading for the woods,” or why Spirit Halloween is displaying a “Naughty Navajo” mini dress that will have women “sending out smoke signals.” Like any decent parent, I try to teach my daughter to carry herself with pride and dignity. These racist costumes, that specifically target her purely because of her race, send her the message that Native American women are viewed as sex objects. It makes her sad and angry. She knows those costumes are not who we as Native women are, and that we should not be depicted that way. Statistically, a shocking one in three Native American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Encouraging the public to view Native American women as disposable sex toys is more than a grave insult, it’s irresponsible and negligent.”
— Ruth Hopkins The Difference Between Being a Slut & a Racist: Pochahottie Hottentot


“There is a link to local issues and global jargon. Recognizing that link will help us make the connections to further social change. What we call gun culture is militarism; domestic violence at the local level is women’s peace and security at the international level; and sweatshops in the community are smaller reflections of systemic poor labor practices at the global level. Therefore, when you address the needs of your local community, you are addressing global issues. Global activism is never successful without local strength. There is no global movement without local roots. When you are doing local activism, you know the terrain, you the actors, and you know where to hit and where to evade. Activism is not an intellectual pursuit. It is conviction from within that keeps you going.”
~Leymah Gbowee shares her thoughts during a class lecture with undergraduate students.


“The abusive man’s problem with anger is almost the opposite of what is commonly believed. The reality is:
Your abusive partner doesn’t have a problem with HIS anger; he has a problem with YOUR anger.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you —as will happen to any abused woman from time to time —he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straightjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
— Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men


“For every man who gets upset over feminist discourse and says, “But I am not an abuser!” — the reality of women’s lives is such that rather than complain in a self-absorbed rant, you should give all of your effort, time, and talents until you can say unequivocally of all men, “We are not abusers” because we can see the proof of your full personhood and your flourishing lives.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.”
— Philip K. Dick


“I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you.”
~Gloria Anzaldua


“The only thing that changed when I was shot, is that weakness, fear and hopelessness died.”
~Malala Yousafzai


“Put simply, child marriage is killing our girls.”
– Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation


“I feel most people’s sexuality is enormously complicated. That’s what it means to be human. Wouldn’t it be great if we honored that complexity rather than turn it into gossip or ridicule? Wouldn’t it be great if we accepted sexual diversity, in ourselves and others, without condemning it?”
— Janet Jackson, Essence Magazine


“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
— Margaret Atwood


“What I find very attractive, what I find sexual, are people who are unapologetic for who they are and comfortable with themselves. And I think with those two things sexual energy does come out because you’re not hovering or censoring yourself, you’re just being who you are. And being who you are is a very attractive quality in a person.”
— Katherine Moennig


“Men still have trouble recognizing that a woman can be complex, can have ambition, good looks, sexuality, erudition, and common sense. A woman can have all those facets, and yet men, in literature and in drama, seem to need to simplify women, to polarize us as either the whore or the angel. That sensibility is prevalent, even to this day.”
— Natalie Dormer


“Don’t let us allow our girls to believe from an early age that their only value is their looks [...]”
~Chantal Jouanno


“I am convinced that discrimination against women and girls is one of the world’s most serious, all-pervasive and largely ignored violations of basic human rights,” Mr. Carter, 88, wrote in the proposal, adding: “It is disturbing to realize that women are treated most equally in some countries that are atheistic or where governments are strictly separated from religion.”
~Jimmy Carter


“The elders are a group of distinguished leaders from around the world geographically, and we include in our group, people who are Muslim, Hindus, Protestant of the Catholic and Protestant faith. We’ve spent a year or two trying to analyze the basic causes of violations of women’s rights, and one of the conclusions we have reached is that it’s the practice of religion that is the basic cause of the foundation of excuse for the other abuses; where women are deprived of an equal right to serve God. And where they are treated as subordinates or inferior people. And this example set by religions leaders gives an excuse to other dominant males to persecute, or abuse, or deprive women of their justifiable rights. This is a question that has never been publicly discussed before, and the Elders help this will arouse and interest in the world in trying to seek corrections made to religions themselves to set an example for full rights for all women.”
~Jimmy Carter


“Constantly worrying about your reflection and criticizing your body, shape and size is an act of violence against yourself.”
— Emma Thompson


“You know what’s really, powerfully sexy? A sense of humor. A taste for adventure. A healthy glow. Hips to grab on to. Openness. Confidence. Humility. Appetite. Intuition. … Smart-ass comebacks. Presence. A quick wit. Dirty jokes told by an innocent-looking lady. … A storyteller. A genius. A doctor. A new mother. A woman who realizes how beautiful she is.”
— Courtney E. Martin


“who taught you
that the
value of a woman
is the ratio
of her waist
to her hips
and the circumference
of her buttocks
and the volume
of her lips?
Your math
is
dangerously wrong
her value
is
nothing less
than
infinite.”
— ‘Greater than’ by Della Hicks-Wilson


“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
— GD Anderson


“Women’s so-called freedom is often equated with imitation of man. Frankly, I feel that is merely an exchange of one kind of bondage for another. To be liberated, a woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and her personality.”
– Indira Gandhi, first female Prime Minister of India and world’s second female head of government


“To my daughter I will say,
‘See your beauty
without a compliment
or a mirror.’”
~’Blind’ by Della Hicks-Wilson


“Indeed, the idea of ‘winning the girl’ – of overcoming female objections or resistance through repeated and frequently escalating efforts – is central to most of our modern romantic narratives. (Female persistence, by contrast, is viewed as pathetic.) And the more I think about instances of creepiness, harassment and stalking that culminate in either the threat or actuality of sexual assault, the more I’m convinced that a massive part of the problem is this socially sanctioned idea that men are fundamentally entitled to persist. Because if men are meant to persist, then women who say no must only be rejecting the attempt, not the man himself, so that every separate attempt becomes one of a potentially infinite number of keys which might just fit the lock of the woman’s approval. She’s not the one who’s allowed to say no, not really; she should be silent and passive as a locked door, waiting patiently while the man runs through however many keys he can be bothered trying. And if he gets sick of this lengthy process and just breaks in? Well, frustration under those circumstances is only natural. Either the door shouldn’t have been there to impede him, or it shouldn’t have been locked.”
~ foz meadows

http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-creepiness-question/


“We teach girls shame. Close your legs, cover yourself, we make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up–and this is the worst thing we do to girls–they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”
-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“Woman has been associated in a stereotypical way with both good and evil. As an “angel in the house,” woman been created with natural goodness, an innate allegiance to “a law of kindness.” But this same description extols her as infantile, weak, and mindless — a creature in constant need of male supervision and protection.”
~Nel Noddings


“Studies have shown that viewing images of objectified women gives men “greater tolerance for sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance,” and helps them view women as “less competent” and “less human“. Certainly singing about “blurred lines” ["Blurred Lines" Writer(s): Pharrell Williams, Clifford Harris, performed by Robin Thicke] will at the very least reinforce a culture that already trivializes the importance of consent.”
– Eric Claps


“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
― Maya Angelou


“I have to say to myself think about how quickly things have changed for women since I was a little girl – it’s like we went from using a rock to smash some shit to being on the moon. And I want to tell younger women that.
Tell them that our momentum is huge. Keep it going. Don’t stop here and fight about why you’re calling yourself a feminist or not. Don’t get into these bitchy little fights about who does what, where. Because the women who marched and fought so we could vote, they didn’t do it so we could sit around bickering about what we called ourselves. Move. Forward. Move forward. Decide you’re equal. Don’t take anything less. And don’t stop.”
~Neko Case


“Some mothers become anxious when their daughters get angry. They may try to resolve their daughters’ anger before the girls are ready to talk it out. This can convey to a girl that her anger is a problem, even a crisis, and communicate that her feelings are unacceptable
If you cannot tolerate your daughter’s anger, you teach her that anger is not OK and she may start to suppress it. But when anger is not properly expressed, girls start talking behind each others’ backs — and may engage in self-destructive behaviors or become depressed.”
~ Rachel Simmons, author of “The Curse of the Good Girl”


“Even if a woman had the income and independence necessary to pursue a career as an artist she might find the doors barred against her as the great academies and institutions of art refused to admit women, often on the grounds of morality. The idea that women would be allowed to paint nudes – especially male nudes – from life was shockingly improper. Drawing from life is key to learning how to paint realistic human bodies, and you’ll notice that most of the ‘Great’ works from before advent of modernism feature full-length figures, particularly in religious scenes. The fact that women weren’t allowed to study human anatomy alongside men effectively restricted female artists to portraits, still lifes and landscapes and thus excluded them from the most prestigious and lucrative commissions.”
Sarah Jackson, Where are women in the history of art?


“Of course, such exotifiying sentiments are meant to be complimentary. After all, the patriarchy asserts, what could be higher praise for a woman than the approval of a white man?
Only…it isn’t praise. It is patronizing and dehumanizing, and inextricably bound up with the social power of race and gender. To them, ‘Asian’ is our defining characteristic, in a way that ‘white’ would never be used to define themselves. When the “Yellow Fever”ed men speak to me, they aren’t speaking to me, they’re speaking to their idea of an Asian woman, their fantasy made flesh. They’re speaking to every Asian woman they’ve ever seen in the media, every Asian porn actress they’ve ever leered at on their computer screens. My personality tries to push itself forward, but is rendered invisible, obscured by the lenses of racial stereotype.”
— Leopard, Exotification – I’m Not Your Pretty Little Lotus Flower


“Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady (Nichelle Nichols, playing the part of Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek) on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
— Whoopi Goldberg


“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“How [stories] are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told — are really dependent on power.”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“We are obligated to each other. Our obligation to each other is neither determined, guaranteed, nor enforced by deity. It is a responsibility that comes from being human, being rational, and being able also to understand with the heart. Rights are meaningless until their underlying obligation is internalized as an ethical imperative. It is clear philosophically, theologically, and politically, that the rights of women have not yet been internalized as one of the obligations of humanity; thus the needs and full personhood of women cannot yet be fulfilled or attained.”
–Leanne Dedrick


“After all those years as a woman hearing ‘not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,’ almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, “I’m enough.”
~Anna Quindlen


“Man created God in his image: intolerant, sexist, homophobic and violent.”
~Marie de France


“The pursuit of normality is the ultimate sacrifice of potential.”
— Faith Jegede


“I don’t spend much time thinking about labels, however, because I believe all feminists should focus on fighting for the same goals: social, economic, and political equality for the 3.5 billion women who make up half the world’s population. If we lose that focus, we lose sight of the real fight.
Thoughtful criticism and civil discourse are beneficial when they address ideas rather than personally attack individuals. But if feminists can’t respect and accept each other as equals, how can we expect men to do the same?”
~Laurel Hermanson (freelance writer and editor in Portland, OR)


“What seems to be most lacking in the conversation among some online feminists is inclusivity, the acceptance that women (and men) are free to identify with and advocate for feminism in whatever way they choose. Diversity strengthens progressive movements as long as we respect that diversity rather than feel threatened by it. When feminists attack each other personally, they waste time and energy fighting people with whom they are 95% ideologically aligned, rather than focusing on the real, shared work of feminism.
How we live our lives may be inextricably linked to how we “do” feminism, but we aren’t obligated to share or defend every personal detail or ideology.”
~Laurel Hermanson (freelance writer and editor in Portland, OR)


“That’s a shame, because many of us [...] would like to believe that the feminist movement can be inclusive. Lidia Yuknavitch, writer and professor of literature, film, and women’s studies, believes there is no single definition of feminism. Instead, she considers the movement a collection of feminisms, each with their own constantly evolving definition.
‘In my own life it’s a consciousness, an educated understanding of the history, and a living practice centered on the health, welfare, and future of women and girls, and by extension, humans,” says Yuknavitch. “The definition is alive, not static. One must live it every day, not point to it as ‘other.’ The point is not some objective definition. The point is understanding a history and its relationship to a living practice, and other living practices, personally, locally, and globally.'”
~Laurel Hermanson (freelance writer and editor in Portland, OR)


“While it’s productive to discuss and debate the objectives of feminism, I hate to see disagreements devolve into personal attacks between feminists with different ideas of what defines feminism. Online activism makes it easy to dash off missives intentionally trashing other feminists. At best, these conflicts are distracting. At worst, they are divisive and destructive to the very causes for which so many women have fought for so long.”
~Laurel Hermanson (freelance writer and editor in Portland, OR)


“What I find more troublesome is the sometimes vitriolic discourse within the online feminist community, and its potential to alienate all women. I see this happening in different ways.
Some older women have lived and breathed feminism but no longer consider themselves feminists because humanism seems softer, less aggressive. Some younger women don’t identify with feminism because, lacking the historical context of the women’s movement, they see only the backlash against shrewish, man-hating bitches. And some women who still consider themselves feminists have distanced themselves from the movement because it feels exclusionary, a dangerous place to express one’s opinion.”
~Laurel Hermanson (freelance writer and editor in Portland, OR)


“After all those years as a woman hearing ‘not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,’ almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m enough.'”
~Anna Quindlen


“What it means to be a man also varies across race and class. Historically, working-class women have always had to work, and men from disenfranchised backgrounds (gay, immigrant, men of color, incarcerated populations, differently abled, trans) have never benefited from the privileges of being a conventional man. Yes, masculinity has been in crisis for a long time, but it’s only now starting to be paid attention to because it’s impacting middle-class white men.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“And what are the subliminal messages we’re sending out when we propagate the message that female success is ruining traditional ideas of masculinity? It suggests that women should stay in “their place.” It suggests that women should have not been given access to jobs and education, as this disrupts normal ideals of masculinity. And it suggests that the only way men can feel comfortable is when women are inferior to them. The rhetoric also assumes that in order to be a man you must be better than a woman, echoing traditional ideas of masculinity that are predicated on the belief that men are superior to women.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“The idea that female empowerment equals male disempowerment puts women in a position where they feel like they have to downplay their successes for the benefit of the male ego. Often, women become afraid to claim their successes for fear they will not meet a man who wants to be with them for the long-term.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“The problem with the “masculinity crisis” is not that women have excelled too much and therefore created a crisis for men, but that we have such a strong inability to let go of what it has traditionally meant to be a man. [...] As long as we perpetuate the myth that men have inherent qualities that make them more suitable than women for certain types of work, the shifting nature of the economy (and women’s attainment of better and better jobs) is going to continue to be interpreted as a crisis of masculinity.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“The assumption that certain skills are for women and others are for men ignores how men and women are socialized to excel in certain roles. We are taught from a very young age that certain skills and characteristics are masculine while others are feminine, and then we are pummeled with constant messaging based on our sex as to which of these roles we should be fulfilling.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“Only when we understand that masculinity, like femininity, is something we are taught, can we come to terms with the ways in which masculinity is socially constructed. Male-identified folks are hurt by unfair expectations to “be a man,” and this form of gender essentialism is harmful across the board. The insistence to be a “man” and act in ways that are propagated by conventional ideas of manhood is implicated with violence (think bullying, prisons, sports, the military), repression (chastising little boys for liking “girly” things), and unfair expectations (men always have to pay, etc.) and often results in violence (intimate partner violence, sexual assault, etc.).”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“According to the mainstream media, masculinity is in a state of crisis. Men are not “men” anymore, because women are not “women” anymore. Women today go to college, have their own apartments, jobs, and their own money; they are no longer reliant on men for their financial needs (hypothetically). Meanwhile, the expectation for men to be the primary breadwinner, while unrealistic, is still encoded in our culture. These two competing stories, one of women’s empowerment and the other of men being chivalrous manly men, have been characterized as a crisis, not of gender essentialism, but of manliness itself. The shift in actual gender disparity is quite slim, but the media circus that makes much ado about the whole thing would have you believing that men are the ultimate underdogs. As a result, men are receiving competing messages about what it means to be a man today, and the side effects include everything from anger and resentment to alienation and disaffectedness.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay

http://beta.alternet.org/story/152613/the_distorted_idea_that_the_so-called_%22masculinity_crisis%22_is_caused_by_successful_women/?page=entire


“When we buy into the idea that female and male are “opposites,” it becomes impossible for us to empower women without either ridiculing men or pulling the rug out from under ourselves.”
—Julia Serano, Whipping Girl


“It’s a strange thing, but when you’re a girl and someone sexually abuses you, maybe puts things in your body without your knowledge or consent, you take it seriously and consider it an assault and a violation. When girls and boys who are friends together do something like share inappropriate photos that fit the definition of child porn, the girl isn’t thinking she’s the only one who will be blamed even though she will be. When these things happens, a boy’s future — athletic or not — isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. The fact that it does to adults with authority is surreal. It’s a lie to tell these kids they’re equals.
If boys don’t want to risk penalties then they shouldn’t sexually assault people.”
~Soraya Chemaly


“[B]oys are twice as likely to forward pictures of girls and girls’ photos travel farther and faster. Phones aren’t making these decisions; people with ideas about whose bodies are communal and how they can be treated are making these decisions. Last month I was invited to speak at a college, about sexual assault on campuses in the U.S. The Q & A session turned to sexting when a boy asked a question that I think about every day since: ‘How is forwarding a picture a girl sends me of herself different from forwarding a picture of my toaster?'”
~Soraya Chemaly


“In my experience, and I attended three very good ones, Catholic schools are no place for children. How’s that for a sweeping statement? Not done, though: It’s no place for children, especially when it comes to social justice and how it’s applied differently to boys and girls.
In addition, like all conservative, traditional cultures this one has a demonstrable sex-based hierarchy and isn’t teaching kids to question the dominant culture — basically thinking for themselves and challenging authority. Aren’t these the exact things we need children to do when they see an incapacitated girl being dragged around and sexually acted upon by a group of powerful athletes? Teenage witnesses in Steubenville were concerned but didn’t help Jane Doe.
To be clear: this isn’t a “Catholic” thing, it’s just that Catholic schools illustrate the issues so well, over and over again.”
~Soraya Chemaly


“The shameless conformists are the rapists. The transgressors — who are treated as whistleblowers — are the victims who dare to speak up. When they are bullied and threatened, it is by others who are conforming to silence and abuse of power and expect the raped to as well.”
~Soraya Chemaly


“The issue is: Why are so many boys so very sure that they can get away with raping? Or learning that their status and prestige are enhanced by sharing photo-documentary evidence of their actions? They think they can get away with it because we teach them that they can and that they might even be rewarded for it. Their victims feel shame and are shamed. What we have to do is reverse this trajectory.”
~Soraya Chemaly


“Only once we reach a point where we can recognize that men get hurt from acting “manly” and women are hurt from men being “manly,” can we stop the cycle of feeding into regressive and restrictive gender expectations”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay


“It is hard to feel safe and comfortable when the only measures for what is safe and comfortable are normative ideas you don’t abide by.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life


“The problem with the ‘masculinity crisis’ is not that women have excelled too much and therefore created a crisis for men, but that we have such [an] inability to let go of what it has traditionally meant to be a man…As long as we perpetuate the myth that men have inherent qualities that make them more suitable than women for certain types of work, the shifting nature of the economy (and women’s attainment of better jobs) is going to continue to be interpreted as a crisis of masculinity.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life


“Through fetishizing the inequality embedded in the romance story, women have somehow become convinced that being in, or even vying for, a relationship is something we should want — regardless of whether that relationship might hold equal power or doesn’t serve us.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life


“The notion that women shouldn’t care about personal success — or the work that gets them there — is disengenuous; it is impossible for women not to have jobs anymore, so it doesn’t make sense to expect them to structure their lives around getting married. The real failure is our cultural incapacity to make room for women to live and thrive outside of traditional conceptions of femininity and relationships. After all, we can eat without marriage, but not without work.”
― Samhita Mukhopadhyay


“It’s about as real a smile as girls can do for each other, considering we don’t practice real smiling every day, you know, cause maybe we too busy being flowers or fairies or strawberries instead of something honest and worthy of respect … you know … like being people.”
— Toni Cade Bambara, from “Raymond’s Run”


“Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.”
— The Sociological Cinema

http://queerintersectional.tumblr.com/post/40636346442/male-privilege-is-i-have-a-boyfriend-being-the


“I learned today that it’s really, really, REALLY hard for men and boys to understand that women and girls don’t want to be whistled at, pssst at, “Excuse me, miss”-ed at, touched, “Hey beautiful”-ed at, “Yo shawty can I talk to you for a minute”-ed at, none of that stuff. At all.
Men and boys do NOT understand that women and girls just don’t want to be approached on the street PERIOD. Men and boys think that it’s okay (and more than okay, they think it’s their manly right) to do all of that kind of stuff because they think they’re paying the women and girls a compliment when they do it. They really, really don’t seem to get that women and girls DON’T WANT THE COMPLIMENT and that they are under NO obligation to help their struggling egos by accepting it or putting up with any of the street shenanigans.
I learned today that men and boys feel emasculated if they aren’t allowed to say whatever the fuck they want to women and girls on the street. And they get real, real pissed off when they are told to leave women and girls on the street alone.”
~Son of Baldwin, http://sonofbaldwin.tumblr.com/post/47504520158/on-that-entitlement-shit


“Attraction is not just about a feeling. It’s a heavily mediated experience and part of an industry that pumps billions into creating images of what women should look like. It can be hard to decipher what you are attracted to versus what you have internalized as attractive. This goes for both how we see ourselves and how we see others, and it leaves a lot of room to fester for some really messed up ideology about size, race, and sexuality. White standards of beauty get conflated with romantic ideals and create Cinderella-esque ideas of what romantic femininity should look like, all serving to uphold a certain standard of beauty. This impacts our self-esteem, the kind of energy we put out there, the types of people that are drawn to us, and ultimately who we end up dating.”
— Samhita Mukhopadhyay


“You know what’s not good for our mental health? Shame and hatred. So if you’re really worried about someone’s health, harassing them about their weight is not helping. Quite the opposite. If you care about someone, you care about them as a human being, not just about how they look. Trust that we are grown ass adults who know how to look after ourselves, and unless we have asked for it, we do not want your opinion.”
—Jocelyn, Fabulously Fat Friday: But What About Your Health http://fatfashionablefeminist.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/fabulously-fat-friday-but-what-about-your-health/


“Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours.”
—Thomas Millar, Meet the Predators


“Boys are rarely told that their virginity is a gift, or indeed that their sexuality is about ‘giving’ something to another person – lightly or not. Boys ‘get laid’, ‘get lucky’, ‘get some’. They ‘take a girl’s virginity’, ‘take advantage'; if they’re thoughtful, they ‘take their time’. Boys are not taught to think of themselves or their virginity as something to be offered up, unwrapped and enjoyed.”
~Emily Maguire, ‘Like a Virgin’, The Monthly


“I want to live in a world where little girls are not pinkified, but where little girls who like pink are not punished for it, either. We can certainly talk about the social pressures surrounding gender roles, and the concerns that people have when they see girls and young women who appear to be forced into performances of femininity by the society around them, but let’s stop acting like they have no agency and free will. Let’s stop acting like women who choose to be feminine are somehow colluders, betraying the movement, bamboozled into thinking that they want to be feminine. Let’s stop denying women their own autonomy by telling them that their expressions of femininity are bad and wrong. Antifemininity is misogynist. What you are saying when you engage in this type of rhetoric is that you think things traditionally associated with women are wrong. Which is misogynist. By telling feminine women that they don’t belong in the feminist movement, you are reinforcing the idea that to be feminine and a woman is wrong, that women who want to be taken seriously need to be more masculine, because most people view gender presentation in binary ways. This rewards the ‘one of the boys’ type rhetoric I encounter all over the place from self-avowed feminists who seem to think that bashing on women is a good way to prove how serious they are when it comes to caring about women and bringing men into the feminist movement.”
—S.E. Smit, Get Your Anti-Femininity Out Of My Feminism


“What we do as feminists is figure out what the institutions, idealogies, and practices are that keep women down, and then try as best as we can to challenge them, chip away at them, withdraw from them, take a sledgehammer to them, or in any other way diminish their power to harm and to subjugate women.”
~Rebecca Whisnant


“[With the message of having a very successful career and a heteronormative family and being able to enjoy them both being articulated] at a time when Western liberal democracies are loudly decrying women’s lack of freedom in the Muslim world while lionising gender equality in their own societies, it actually makes a kind of cultural sense to shift the conversation away from the gendered division of labour and profound social injustices upon which US liberalism itself is constituted.
The turn to the language of balance, internalising the revolution and a happiness project, in other words, puts the burden of unhappiness, failure and disequilibrium once again on the shoulders of individual women while diverting attention away from US self-scrutiny with respect to its own ‘woman problem’.”
Catherine Rottenberg, visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332510121757700.html


“Indeed, it is extremely disturbing that for these high-powered women [Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter] the “woman problem” is no longer about social justice, equity and women’s emancipation – as if these have already been achieved – but about affect, behaviour modification and well-roundedness.”
Catherine Rottenberg, visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332510121757700.html


“Given these blatant class and race-biases, there is something profoundly illiberal – and fundamentally incongruous – in the re-envisioning of liberated womanhood as a reorientation of affect and as a better balancing act. US women do not need to change their attitude; they need, first, job security, good childcare, livable wages for the work they do, and physical security.”
Catherine Rottenberg, visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332510121757700.html


“Figures show, for example, that in 2009, 27.5 percent of African-American women, 27.4 percent of Hispanic women and 13.5 percent of white women in the US were living below the poverty line. Moreover, 35.1 percent of households headed by single moms were food insecure at some point in 2010, meaning that they did not have enough food at all times for an active, healthy life.
Many working mothers in the US are working double shifts, night shifts or two to three jobs just in order to provide for their families.”
Catherine Rottenberg, visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332510121757700.html


“Men who harass women on the street are part of the same spectrum of the rape culture. They use their power and male privilege to intimidate women and restrict their equality. And, like abusers, they use it to control women. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how many women adjust where they walk, what time of night they walk, how many people they walk with, what they wear etc. Street harassers, like rapists, have been able to control women’s behaviour. Even women who have never been raped have learned very early that they are not safe on their streets and their communities.”
—Hollaback Vancity, An article explaining why catcalling isn’t a compliment http://www.feminisms.org/tag/pervs/


“Let the record show: that you can be a United States senator for 21 years, you can be 79 years old, you can be the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of the most recognizable and most widely respected veteran public servants in your nation. But if you are female while you are also all of those other things, men who you defeat in arguments will still respond to you by calling you hysterical and telling you to calm down. They will patronize you and say they ‘admire your passion, sweetie,’ but of course they only deal in facts, not your silly girly strong feelings. It is inescapable, you can set your watch by it.”
—Rachel Maddow, discussing Senator Ted Cruz’s condescending lecture to Senator Dianne Feinstein during a Senate debate on gun control. March 14, 2013.


“We’re as sick as our secrets and the shame keeps us in isolation. And when we find that shared experience, we gather our strength and our hope. So for example, I’m a three-time survivor of rape, and about that I have no shame, because it was never my shame to begin with—it was the perpetrator’s shame. And only when I was a grown empowered adult and had healthy boundaries and had the opportunity to do helpful work on that trauma was I able to say, okay, that perpetrator was shameless, and put their shame on me. Now I gave that shame back, and it’s my job to break my isolation and talk with other girls and other women.”
—Ashley Judd, possible Kentucky Senate candidate, opened up about sexual assault in a speech in DC today. (via motherjones)


“When it comes to feminist communities of people who are willing to examine their relative privilege while sharing their experience of oppression, I think the key is accessible, non-shaming education.”
~Kim Katrin Crosby, Co-founder of The People Project, a movement of queer and trans folks of color and our allies, committed to individual and community empowerment through alternative education, activism, and collaboration. http://thefeministwire.com/2013/02/feminists-we-love-kim-katrin-crosby/


“When I tried to find myself reflected in other people’s versions of feminism, it was here that I didn’t find myself represented. Or if I did, it was a fractured type of representation; and I can’t conceive of a practice of feminism that is not grounded in a framework of intersectionality. The lack of intersectionality present in many versions of feminism is troubling at best and violent at worst. I think it is important to recognize that there are many different kinds of knowledge and experiences. I am not counter-culture. I am culture.”
~Kim Katrin Crosby, Co-founder of The People Project, a movement of queer and trans folks of color and our allies, committed to individual and community empowerment through alternative education, activism, and collaboration. http://thefeministwire.com/2013/02/feminists-we-love-kim-katrin-crosby/


“Feminism for me is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. My feminism does not target men or masculinity as its enemy; rather, it is the structure of the society with which it is at odds. I don’t believe that men are “sex-crazed maniacs” who can’t help but assault womyn. I don’t subscribe to any ideas like ‘boys will be boys,’ that deny the possibility of individual and collective masculinities to be accountable for violence, privilege, or sexism.”
~Kim Katrin Crosby, Co-founder of The People Project, a movement of queer and trans folks of color and our allies, committed to individual and community empowerment through alternative education, activism, and collaboration. http://thefeministwire.com/2013/02/feminists-we-love-kim-katrin-crosby/


“The danger is in what we codify, commodify, and exploit.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, Leap


“Who wants to be a goddess when we can be human? Perfection is a flaw disguised as control.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice


“What would happen if our use of feminism, to the contrary of its historical and contemporary shortcomings, represented something more? What would happen if we, as feminists, demonstrate to others that feminism not only includes what makes up our own little world, but the empowerment and inclusion of the larger world of women domestically and across the globe, as well as humanity as a whole?”
~Yvonne Augustine, A Woman Who Speaks Blog for Feminist Philosopher


“Every time someone uses the term feminism, discussions should ensue as to what it actually means, especially here in America. Use of the word feminism should make us question whether it is as privilege laden, narrow, petty, inconsequential and worthy of dismissal as it is considered to be by many women and other people in this country. Why not use these controversies and criticisms to our advantage to expose hearts and minds to a new way of looking at feminism as a whole?”
~Yvonne Augustine, A Woman Who Speaks Blog for Feminist Philosopher


“Feminism should no longer focus on the “equality of women” as it has often been narrowly defined in the United States. Rather, feminism must reflect the indispensable requirement that women around the world be recognized as human beings, with all of the rights and freedoms of all other human beings. Feminism must stand for the recognition of all human beings as human beings, with the understanding that women, specifically, throughout the world suffer the consequences of their imputed inferiority, invisibility, and guilt on a large scale. These consequences often result in severe and lifelong physical, mental, and spiritual punishment, if not death.”
~Yvonne Augustine, A Woman Who Speaks Blog for Feminist Philosopher


“I believe that feminism, in the minds of women, must no longer be dominated by issues of whether ‘to shave or not to shave’ or whether women should or should not follow current beauty trends. I don’t mean to trivialize various issues, but while the problems I just mentioned reflect feminism’s emphasis on individual choice, we have to broaden our understanding to realize the systemic barriers, HERE AND ABROAD, that affect every aspect of women’s lives, including whether they will live or die.”
~Yvonne Augustine, A Woman Who Speaks Blog for Feminist Philosopher


“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.”
~Golda Meir


“Feminism is a recognition of the domination of men over women and attempts by women to end male privilege…. It is a theory, a method, and a practice which seeks to transform human relations.”
~Cynthia Orozco, writing in the anthology Chicano Voices: Intersections of Class, Race & Gender, 1993


“… explore the idea of what the language that women speak would really be like if no one were there to correct them…”
-Helene Cixous


“When someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world, and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing. Yet you know you exist and others like you, that this is a game with mirrors. It takes some strength of soul – and not just individual strength, but collective understanding – to resist this void, this nonbeing, into which we are thrust, and to stand up, demanding to be seen and heard.” -Adrienne Rich


“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good looking, good tempered, well groomed and unaggressive.” -Leslie McIntyre


“Some chick says ‘Thank you for saying all the things I never do’ and I say ‘The thanks I get is to take all the shit for you. It’s nice that you listen it’d be nicer if you joined in as long as you play their game, girl, you’re never going to win.”
~Ani DiFranco


“[Society] calls an angry woman unfeminine. Because anger takes the woman out of her earth mother role as bastion of peace and calm, out of her familial role as peace-maker, out of her political role as preserver of the status quo, out of her economic role as cheap labor, out of her social role as second-class citizen. It takes her out of roles altogether and makes her a person.”
~Susi Kaplow


“Radical feminism is called ‘radical’ because it is struggling to bring about really fundamental changes in society. We, in this segment of the movement, do not believe that the oppression of women will be ended by giving them a bigger piece of the pie, as Betty Friedan would have it. We believe that the pie itself is rotten.”
~Bonnie Kreps


“… I write out of my questions. Hopefully, if we write out of our humanity, our vulnerable nature, then some chord is struck with a reader and we touch on the page. I know that is why I read, to find those parts of myself in a story that I cannot turn away from. The writers who move me are the ones who create beauty and truth out of their sufferings, their yearnings, their discoveries. It is what I call the patience of words born out of the search.”
― Terry Tempest Williams


“I think about Rilke, who said that it’s the questions that move us, not the answers. As a writer I believe it is our task, our responsibility, to hold the mirror up to social injustices that we see and to create a prayer of beauty. The questions serve us in that capacity. Pico Iyer describes his writing as “intimate letters to a stranger,” and I think that is what the writing process is. It begins with a question, and then you follow this path of exploration.”
― Terry Tempest Williams


“I admire how she protects her energy and understands her limitations.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place


“Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
― Terry Tempest Williams


“We have been raised to fear the yes in ourselves.”
—Audre Lorde


“To be read. To be heard. To be seen. I want to be read. I want to be heard. I don’t need to be seen. To write requires an ego, a belief that what you say matters. Writing also requires an aching curiosity leading you to discover, uncover, what is gnawing at your bones. Words have a weight to them. How you choose to present them and to whom is a matter of style and choice. Yet the emptiness of [blank] journals carries the weight of a question, many questions … My … journals are an interrogation.”
—Terry Tempest Williams, from When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice (Sarah Crichton Books, 2012)


“Conversation is the vehicle of change. We test our ideas. We hear our own voice in concert with another. And inside those pauses of listening, we approach new territories of thought. A good argument, call it a discussion, frees us. Words fly out of our mouths like threatened birds. Once released, they may never return. If they do, they have chosen a home and the bird-words are calmed into an ars poetica … What is birdsong but ‘truth in rehearsal?”“
—Terry Tempest Williams, from When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice (Sarah Crichton Books, 2012)


“When you work with the sort of really strong women that I work with, the idea that anyone would want to make decisions for them is hard to wrap your head around.”
Seth Meyers, September 2012 on reproductive rights


“Men ruled the roost and women played a subservient role [in the 1960s]. Working wives were a rarity, because their place was in the home, bringing up the kids. The women who did work were treated as second class citizens, because it was a male-dominated society. That was a fact of life then. [...]People look back on those days through a thick veil of nostalgia, but life was hard if you were anything other than a rich, powerful, white male.”
~Jon Hamm, February 2011


“It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self.”
~Ryan Gosling, partial quote in November 2010 on “Blue Valentine” rating


“I’ve always been attracted to women who are assertive and have confidence.”
~Taye Diggs


“I was raised by my mom, I have a little sister, and I’m constantly annoyed [by] how terribly written most females are in most everything — and especially in comedy. Their anatomy seems to be the only defining aspect of their character, and I just find that untruthful and it straight-up offends me.”
~Jay Baruchel, partial quote in March 2012


“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place … We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society.”
– John Legend


“Don’t use men to get what you want in life — get it for yourself.”
~Helen Gurley Brown


“If you are ‘pro-life’ and want to end pre-natal care via Planned Parenthood, what life are you pro? Not the baby, and not the mother.”
~Planned Parenthood


“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
~Coco Chanel


“[Romantic comedies and porn are] fantasies being fed to people that are feuling an unrealistic expectation of how they should be. There’s the princess fantasy.[...] The way we’ve saturated our culture with these ideas is that a little girl things that’s how it’s supposed to be, but it’s unattainable, and yet that’s a fantasy that persists. So you have romantic comedies, pornography, media images that are unrealistic and they’re all preventing people from being themselves.”
~Julianne Moore


“We need to do more than just what is right. We need to join together and right what is wrong.”
~Leonard Peltier


“Leadership is not wielding authority — it’s empowering people.”
~Becky Brodin


“I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.”
~Gloria Steinem


“There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely — or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.”
~Oscar Wilde


“The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite relief! She had not known the weight, until she felt the freedom! By another impulse, she took off the formal cap that confined her hair; and down it fell upon her shoulders, dark and rich, with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance, and imparting the charm of softness to her features. There played around her mouth, and beamed out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood.”
~The Scarlet Letter


“What makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favorably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?!”
~Zoe Smith, Olympic Weightlifter


“We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not fee emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.”
~Zoe Smith, Olympic Weightlifter


“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
~William Faulkner

“None so fitted to break the chains as they who wear them, none so well equipped to decide what is a fetter.”
~James Connolly


“We should be inspired by people…who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong — even in the most difficult circumstances.”
~Rachel Corrie


“Men who want to be feminists do not need to be given a space in feminism. They need to take the space they have in society and make it feminist.”
~Kelly Temple


“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
~Maya Angelou


“Self-love is the foundation of our loving practice. Without it our efforts to love fail. Giving ourselves love we provide our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else. We can give ourselves the unconditional love that is the grounding for sustained acceptance and affirmation. We we give this precious gift to ourselves, we are able to reach out to others from a place of fulfillment and not from a place of lack.”
~bell hooks


“[The job of the writer/The duty of the radical artist] is to make revolution irresistible.”
—Toni Cade Bambara


“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well? … Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter.”
—Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters


“I have always, I think opposed the stereotypic definitions of “masculine” and “feminine”, not only because I thought it was a lot of merchandising nonsense, but rather because I always found the either/ or implicit in those definitions antithetical to what I was all about – the whole person. And I am beginning to see, especially lately- that the way those terms are generally defined and acted upon in this part of the world is a hindrance to full development. And that is a shame, for a revolutionary must be capable of, above all, total self-autonomy.”
—Toni Cade Bambara


“Once you have caught a glimpse of freedom or tasted a bit of self-determination, you can’t go back to old routines that were established under a racist, capitalist regime. We must begin to understand that a revolution entails not only the willingness to lay our lives on the firing line and get killed. In some ways, this is an easy commitment to make. To die for the revolution is a oneshot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day life patterns.

This will mean changing the traditional routines that we have established as a result of living in a totally corrupting society. It means changing how you relate to your wife, your husband, your parents and your coworkers. If we are going to liberate ourselves as a people, it must be recognized that black women have very specific problems that have to be spoken to. We must be liberated along with the rest of the population.”
~Frances M. Beal


“The new world that we are struggling to create must destroy oppression of any type. The value of this new system will be determined by the status of those persons who are presently most oppressed – the low man on the totem pole. Unless women in any enslaved nation are completely liberated, the change cannot really be called a revolution.”
~Frances M. Beal


“One of the salient aspects my travels has raised for me is that in order to end violence against women and girls, we need to stop talking to ourselves. While it was encouraging to speak and interact with fellow activists and feminists, next year, I hope to see construction workers, mechanics, and engineers among the attendees. Invite those outside of the gospel to understand the severity of violence against women and girls, and drive it home.
It is time to step out of our comfort zone and engage in new spaces. It is time for us to work everywhere.”
~Leymah Gbowee


“Get over the feeling that the two words don’t go together–women and power. The fact is, if we don’t put the two together and don’t understand how power changes complexion in the hands of women, then we’re not going to make it. We have to own our personal power.”
~Jane Fonda
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“In my opinion, the most important thing as a woman leader–and I learned this early through a whole bunch of great women who were in my life (and men, I have to say)–is that if you have a position of leadership and power and you don’t use it in a different way, then you’re wasting it. So when people used to say to me when I was the first woman president of PBS, ‘Well, you know, does that mean that as a woman you’re going to be a different kind of president?’ And I would say, ‘Well, I hope so!'”
~Pat Mitchell
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“We’re changing ourselves to fit the world instead of changing the world to fit women.”
~Gloria Steinem
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“I always thought that people told you that you’re beautiful–that this was a title that was bestowed upon you, that it was other people’s responsibility to give you this title. And I’m sick of waiting, people! I think that the world is pretty cruel to women in what it considers beautiful and what it celebrates as beauty. And I think that it’s time to take this power into our own hands and to say, ‘You know what? I’m beautiful. I just am. And that’s my light. I’m just a beautiful woman.'”
~Margaret Cho
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
~Madeleine Albright
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“Give voice to what you know to be true, and do not be afraid of being disliked or exiled. I think that’s the hard work of standing up for what you see.”
~Eve Ensler
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“We need to help [young girls] really internalize the message that good enough is good enough. We don’t need to be perfect. We’re not supposed to be perfect; we’re supposed to be complete. And you can’t be complete if you’re trying to be perfect.”
~Jane Fonda
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“Sisters: talk to each other, be connected and informed, form women’s circles, share your stories, work together, and take risks. Together we are invincible.”
~Isabel Allende
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“If we’re by ourselves we come to feel crazy and alone. We need to make alternate families of small groups of women who support each other, talk to each other regularly, can speak their truths and their experiences and find they’re not alone in them, that other women have them, to… It makes such a huge difference.”
~Gloria Steinem
Excerpted from Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice by Marianne Schnall

http://www.daringtobeourselves.com/excerpt.html


“First and foremost, I’m a feminist. Basically that stems from a strong belief that all people and creatures deserve equal opportunity, rights, and respect…. And I do it as a pride thing: I say “I’m Lebanese” the same way I say, “I’m feminist” because I’m proud of being Lebanese–I think it’s cool–and I think it’s cool to be feminist…. I think of it as equality, choice, fairness, respect for animals and children and men and women. It’s something that’s based in a very loving theory for me. So I’ll keep saying it as many times as I can to make up for the people who are scared to or think it’s a bad vibe or whatever, because I think it’s a good vibe.”
~Kathy Najimy


“You can talk about equal rights, but essentially feminism will come into wholeness when we achieve a social paradigm that allows men and women to become full human beings–rather than women muting themselves and men hardening themselves, which I think is the root of all the problems.”
~Jane Fonda


“So many of us by now have these wonderful feminist sons and grandsons who really are allies. We should give them the respect as allies, in changing a lot of the things that are wrong and done against women in the world.”
~Alice Walker


“I don’t know what the word is anymore, to be perfectly honest. I don’t know if [the word "feminist"] is helping us anymore or not helping us. Of course, I am a feminist and I’ve been a feminist. But now I’m seeing there is a new way, the third way. It’s not left or right. It’s not Democrat or Republican. It’s a third way. And the third way to me is a shift away from these principles where dominance, occupation, invasion, and violence are the tools on which the whole planet turns and operates. The new tools would be cooperation, invitation, dialogue, and care. Care would be fundamental to the principles of the world.”
~Eve Ensler


“Call it what you want, but we’re all fighting toward the same thing and empowering women.”
~Charreah Jackson


“Today millions of young women who benefit from the struggles of their mothers and grandmothers and would not give up any of their rights don’t call themselves feminists because it’s not sexy. They believe that feminism is dated. They have not looked around, they are not aware that today, in the 21st century, women still do two-thirds of the world labor and own less than one percent of the assets; girls are still sold into prostitution, premature marriage, and forced labor…. In times of conflict, war, poverty, or religious fundamentalism, women and children are the first and most numerous victims. Women need all their courage today, as they needed it before.”
~Isabel Allende


“It doesn’t matter what word we use, if it has the same content, it will be treated in the same way. There are other words–there’s “womanist,” there’s “mujerista,” there’s “women’s liberationist”–all mean the same thing and they get the same ridicule. I think we just need to choose what word we feel comfortable with that says women are full human beings, and whatever that word is, it will get a lot of opposition. But it will also attract a lot of support. But this is a revolution, not a public relations movement.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I would say a feminist is somebody who believes in personal, professional, and political equality. Period. Done. Over. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman or pink or yellow or whatever. Those three things. It’s just equality.”
~Melissa Etheridge


“Feminism is my life! It’s who I am. For me, it’s just a logical way to be. It’s the way I approach everything…. Feminism to me is like the oxygen that we breathe. It’s so vitally important to life because women ultimately make life happen. So feminism is really a matter of respect for life and where life comes from and what life is and respect for women’s rights and what women want and respect for the earth and really respect for the planet–just respect life itself.”
~Margaret Cho


“I get very frustrated when I hear women saying, “Oh, feminism is passé,” because I think feminism means empowerment. Men can be feminists, too! Many men are feminists. We need feminism. It’s not against men; it’s about the empowerment of women. It’s the respect of women–giving women equal rights, the same opportunities.”
~Annie Lennox


“One male poet approached me after a performance and said, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but do you ever write about anything other than the struggles of women?’ I replied, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but take your finger off the trigger and I’ll stop.’ After all, who among us ever wanted to speak about these things? What little girl dreams of growing up to write ‘rape poems?’ About violence? About the muffled voices of women worldwide?”
-Andrea Gibson


“Treat your body like a treasured child. Don’t force it to do things that hurt. Don’t poison it with quick fixes. Don’t hate it and judge it and pick and poke at it. Nurture it. Celebrate it. Challenge it. Grow it. Love it and treat it like a treasure.”
— Christina Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Philosophy

http://rawwomen.tumblr.com/post/44280296740/treat-your-body-like-a-treasured-child-dont


“Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours.”
~Thomas Millar, Meet the Predators


“What people don’t understand is when we say “Teach men not to rape,” we’re not talking about telling them not to jump out of the bushes in a ski mask and grab the nearest female. We’re talking about the way we teach boys that masculinity is measured by power over others, and that they aren’t men unless they “get some.” We’re talking about teaching men (and women) that it’s not okay to laugh at jokes about rape and abuse. We’re talking about telling men that a lack of “No” doesn’t mean “Yes,” that if a woman is too drunk to consent they shouldn’t touch her, that dating someone – or even being married to someone – does not mean automatic consent. We’re talking about teaching boys to pay attention to the girl they’re with, and if she looks uncomfortable to stop and ask if she’s okay, because sometimes girls don’t know how to say stop in a situation like that. We’re talking about how women have the right to change their mind. Even if she’s been saying yes all night, if she says no, that’s it. It’s over. That’s what we mean when we say “Teach men not to rape.”
~ Kalitena (http://kalitena.tumblr.com/) on Facebook

http://waitforhightide.tumblr.com/post/45043560739/what-people-dont-understand-is-when-we-say-teach


“I regret belonging to a society in which women are just objects to play around with and provide sexual satisfaction. I grieve. Deeply.”
-Aishwarya Dongre


“We’ve never had a female President in this country, which I find stunning.”
-Hari Kondabolu


“The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.”
~Frances Perkins


“When there is oppression, the only self-respecting thing is to rise and say this shall cease today, because my right is justice.”
~Sarojini Naidu


“I am prepared to sacrifice every so-called privilege I possess in order to have a few rights.”
~Inez Milholland, Suffragist, 1909


“It is my pleasure to make you slightly uncomfortable.”
~Ashley Judd


“I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you? You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?”
~Eve Ensler


“For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”
~Audre Lorde


“A world without rapists would be a world in which women moved freely without fear of men. That some men rape provides a sufficient threat to keep all women in a constant state of intimidation, forever conscious of the knowledge that the biological tool must be held in awe, for it may turn to weapon with sudden swiftness born of harmful intent…Rather than society’s aberrants or “spoilers of purity,” men who commit rape have served in effect as front-line masculine shock troops, terrorist guerillas in the longest sustained battle the world has ever known.”
~Susan Brownmiller


“Around me I saw women overworked and underpaid, doing men’s work at half men’s wages, not because their work was inferior, but because they were women.”
~Anna H. Shaw


“When a man gets up to speak, people listen then look. When a women gets up, people look; then, if they like what they see, they listen.”
~Pauline Frederick Robbins


“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer; than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”
~Kate Chopin


“If society will not admit of woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.”
~Elizabeth Blackwell


“None of us can walk in another woman’s shoes. None of us know the situation she is in. None of us knows what her feelings are. It is a complexity for every woman. It is not something that is done cavalierly. It is not. As I’ve said to many elected officials, women hear their gods. They don’t need to be listening to the gods of politicians.”
~Nancy Keenan, former President, NARAL


“There is a difference between being fiercely embodied and wisely directed from our female emotions…and just being angry. Anger alone is a starting point, and given the world today, very often well justified. But the wise woman allows her anger to steep and mature, working its way into becoming a positive force in the world. The angry woman can be ignored in the way a fierce wise woman can never be.”
~Robin Rice


“When you get to the top, stay there and make sure other women join you.”
~Maureen Reagan


“Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.”
~Patti Smith


“We have more women trying to be better, trying to be present than we ever have. We have more women trying to support other women. I think we’re better off than we were but this doesn’t mean we’re finished and cool and everything’s okay. Black women are heads of universities and colleges and senators and congresswomen and we’re still pushing and stretching ourselves and trying to support ourselves. I think we are doing so much better than we think we’re doing.”
~Maya Angelou, http://www.essence.com/2013/02/15/conversation-nikki-giovanni-and-maya-angelou-sisterhood-and-their-friendship-toni


“I think the challenge for women period is still to be ourselves. And I think that’s a decision that we should make. I don’t think other people should tell us what makes a woman.” [...] I think women have to make a decision, each of us, in our own way and for ourselves, who it is we are.”
~Nikki Giovanni, http://www.essence.com/2013/02/15/conversation-nikki-giovanni-and-maya-angelou-sisterhood-and-their-friendship-toni


“And young Black men have to be reminded that it’s not given to us for our Black men to leave our women. And Black women have to be reminded that we haven’t come this far by being left by our men, ignored and abused by them, called out of our names by them, and we don’t have to take that.”
~Maya Angelou, http://www.essence.com/2013/02/15/conversation-nikki-giovanni-and-maya-angelou-sisterhood-and-their-friendship-toni


“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.”
-Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider


“Instead of passively sharing women’s history as recounted by others, how about you begin the process of formally documenting — journaling, blogging, creating art and media etc — about your own life?”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“See, the problem with women not telling their stories isn’t just an issue of ‘balance’ (i.e. we need men and women’s voices in equal measure), but an issue of ‘influence.’ Thus, the reason I write as often as I do is not because I think I have more to say, but rather, there’s too much at stake in the world if I don’t say enough.”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“So, in moments when I doubt my power to impact others, I’ve learned to tap into the deep dread I feel at the thought of someone else speaking for me, especially after I’m gone; someone giving my children their version of who I was instead of doing the work to make sure my children get to read my words. My writing ensures accountability to my voice, my perspective, my journey, my history, which is worth telling, and worth telling right.”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“Now, some of you may be thinking, “Well, even if I want to write, my life is not that interesting. I’m just a [insert perceived mundane role here that has everyone wondering why you're being so self-deprecating] with nothing to say…” That is simply not true.”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“In order to address the dearth of women’s histories — our stories, and voices being undocumented, under-valued, and falsely represented without reprimand — women must begin telling their own stories; we must essentially write our way back into history.”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“How many inspiring women — mothers, wives, teachers, students, scientists, artists etc — equate being a part of history with being a famous celebrity, or tech innovator, winning an election, or leading a political revolution? My guess is many. But, history doesn’t always have to be so dramatic to count — it just needs to be documented.”
~Spectra, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women’s rights activist

http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/03/for-womens-history-month-writing-our-way-to-revolution/


“I did take the blows [of life], but I took them with my chin up, in dignity, because I so profoundly love and respect humanity.”
~ Josephine Baker


“Our work of love should be to reclaim masculinity and not allow it to be held hostage to patriarchal domination. There is a creative, life-sustaining, life enhancing place for the masculine in a non-dominator culture. And those of us committed to ending patriarchy can touch the hearts of real men where they live, not by demanding that they give up manhood or maleness, but by asking that they allow its meaning to be transformed, that they become disloyal to patriarchal masculinity in order to find a place for the masculine that does not make it synonymous with domination or the will to do violence.”
-bell hooks, The Will to Change, p. 115


“Women have always been an equal part of the past. We just haven’t been a part of history.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Being oppressed means the absence of choices.”
~bell hooks


“I want my daughters to be respected as human beings; that’s the country I’m fighting for.”
~Fawzia Koofi
Afghan Woman’s Writing Project
www.awwproject.org


I don’t know when I was put down for the first time, but I know how it hurts when there is nobody to support you and give you a smile as you keep moving”
~Fatima
Afghan Woman’s Writing Project
www.awwproject.org


“I want to have a human life. I am a woman. I was born to my mother free of shackles.”
~Nasima
Afghan Woman’s Writing Project
www.awwproject.org


“I will write, even if I am warned not to touch a pen or paper.”
~Emaan
Afghan Woman’s Writing Project
www.awwproject.org


“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.”
~Danielle LaPorte


“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced,or the preferably unheard.”
Arundhati Roy


“What I like most about change is that it’s a synonym for ‘hope.’ If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, ‘I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.”
~Linda Ellerbee


“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder.”
~Salma Hayek


“If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman…have faith…there is yet time.”
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“So build yourself as beautiful as you want your world to be. Wrap yourself in light then give yourself away with your heart, your brush, your march, your art, your poetry, your play. And for every day you paint the war, take a week and paint the beauty, the color, the shape of the landscape your’re marching towards. Everyone knows what you’re against; show them what you’re for.”
~Andrea Gibson, Evolution


“I’m not interested in raising boys to be more like girls any more than I want girls to be raised more like boys. The question itself assumes that there is a way to raise boys that is different from the way we raise girls. To me this is stereotypic thinking. I want to raise our children to be themselves, and I think that one of the more wonderful components of feminism was to critique that stereotype that all girls are supposed to act and dress in one way & one way only.”
-Michael Kimmel


“The fact is: the media shows very limited representations of bodies, with the underlying message that some bodies deserve more respect (value, success, appreciation, adoration) than others. And some people see that and make the connection that a ‘perfect’ body somehow equals a ‘perfect’ life – and people will test limits to obtain that kind of perfection.”
-Melissa Fabello


“Woman must write herself: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies-for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Woman must put herself into the text-as into the world and into history-by her own movement.”
~Helene Cixous


“I am much more open about categories of gender, and my feminism has been about women’s safety from violence, increased literacy, decreased poverty and more equality. I was never against the category of men.”
~Judith Butler


“My understanding of queer is a term that desires that you don’t have to present an identity card before entering a meeting. Heterosexuals can join the queer movement. Bisexuals can join the queer movement. Queer is not being lesbian. Queer is not being gay. It is an argument against lesbian specificity: that if I am a lesbian I have to desire in a certain way. Or if I am a gay I have to desire in a certain way. Queer is an argument against certain normativity, what a proper lesbian or gay identity is.”
~Judith Butler and Regina Michalik (Interviewer). ”The Desire for Philosophy. Interview with Judith Butler.”


“Sexual harassment law is very important. But I think it would be a mistake if the sexual harassment law movement is the only way in which feminism is known in the media.”
~Judith Butler and Regina Michalik (Interviewer). ”The Desire for Philosophy. Interview with Judith Butler.”


“My thesis’ on social construction seems to be very frightening to people: the idea that sex is culturally constructed. They seem to fear that I am evacuating any notion of the real, that I make people think that their bodies are not real or that sexual differences are not real. They believe that I am too charismatic and that I am seducing the young.”
~Judith Butler and Regina Michalik (Interviewer). ”The Desire for Philosophy. Interview with Judith Butler.”


“I would say that I’m a feminist theorist before I’m a queer theorist or a gay and lesbian theorist.”
~Judith Butler, Peter Osborne and Lynne Segal (Interviewers). “Gender as Performance: An Interview with Judith Butler.”


“When the woman in the audience at my talk said ‘I survived lesbian feminism and still desire women’, I thought that was a really great line, because one of the problems has been the normative requirement that has emerged within some lesbian-feminist communities to come up with a radically specific lesbian sexuality.”
~Judith Butler, Peter Osborne and Lynne Segal (Interviewers). “Gender as Performance: An Interview with Judith Butler.”


“Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act… a ‘doing’ rather than a ‘being’.”
~Judith Butler


“The woman who takes a woman lover lives dangerously in patriarchy.”
~Cheryl Clarke


“Heterosexuality is a die-hard custom through which male-supremacist institutions insure their own perpetuity and control over us. Women are kept, maintained and contained through terror, violence, and the spray of semen…”
~Cheryl Clarke


“Lesbians and lesbian community have made it possible for me to call myself a poet. While I am privileged to write openly as a lesbian and to have my work appreciated and to sleep with a woman, I am still reminded that this ain’t no place to love a woman.”
~Cheryl Clarke


“Long before I published, I was reading my poetry and witnessing the transformative power of orality. Orality helps me mediate the silence of the blank page and the relentless din of memory. The poem’s power is not only the poet’s working of her craft but how that working connects with people’s experience of the poet saying out loud what has been distorted, suppressed, forbidden.”
~Cheryl Clarke


“Women are not taken seriously as arbiters of history, nor are poets.”
~Cheryl Clarke


“I’m just a loud-mouthed middle-aged colored lady with a fused spine and three feet of intestines missing and a lot of people think I’m crazy. Maybe you do too, but I never stop to wonder why I’m not like other people. The mystery to me is why more people aren’t like me.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.; the second African-American woman to graduate from Columbia Law School; lawyer who fought for the rights of Black Panther members and African-American singers discriminated against by music companies; activist fighting for women’s liberation, abortion rights, civil rights, and consumer protection.


“Sweetie, if you’re not living on the edge, then you’re taking up space.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“I’m big on consumer activism. Only when it hurts their pocketbook do they act”.
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“The whole concept of authority is what I think Women’s Lib and Black liberation is about. The reason I have a pathological attitude toward authority, is because my parents did not establish their own authority, and did not require us to see the government, our teachers, or any of these people as unquestionable authority.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“You’ve got to rattle your cage door. You’ve got to let them know that you’re in there, and that you want out. Make noise. Cause trouble. You may not win right away, but you’ll sure have a lot more fun.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“My parents gave us a fantastic sense of security and worth. By the time the bigots got around to telling us that we were nobody, we already knew we were somebody.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“Women have at least three kinds of power: Dollar Power, to boycott with; Vote Power, to take over structures with, and maybe even get somebody elected; and Body Power, to get out and support our friends and make a damned nuisance of ourselves with everybody else.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“Don’t agonize. Organize”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“If you’ve had a broken leg, you don’t get up and win the Olympics. The first step is to get out of bed.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“If the ass is protecting the system, ass-kicking should be undertaken regardless of the sex, ethnicity, or charm of the ass involved.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“Loserism is when oppressed people sit around and think up reasons why they can’t do something. Well just do it. Thinking up reasons why you can’t is the Establishment’s job.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“Oppression has at least four dimensions: The personal or psychological–like when you yourself believe that you’re a big zero because society keeps telling you so. The private–like when some employer tries to make out with you when you ask for a job. The public–like when the government takes the money you need for child-care centers, and uses it to kill people in Indochina. And the cultural–like when the history books attribute everything we did and invented to some guy we worked for.”
~Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.


“For me, revolution was never “a thing to do” before settling down; it was no fashionable club with newly-minted jargon or new kind of social life–made thrilling by risk and confrontation, made glamorous by costume. Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary’s life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.”
—Angela Davis: An Autobiography, p. 162


“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”
~Tyler Knott Gregson


“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.”
~Isadora Duncan


“Solitude, quality solitude, is an assertion of self-worth, because only in the stillness can we hear the truth of our own unique voices.”
~Pearle Cleage


“Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness. But it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.”
~Simone de Beauvoir


“Don’t worry about your body.
It isn’t as small as it once was,
But honestly, the world needs more of you.
You look in the mirror
like you’ve done something wrong,
But you look perfect.
Anyone who says otherwise is telling a lie
to make you feel weak.
And you know better.
You’ve survived every single day,
for as long as you’ve been alive.
You could spit fire if you wanted.”
~ Clementine von Radics, For My Mother When She Doesn’t Feel Beautiful


“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Like love, pain might trigger compassion; if you’re tender with yourself, you can be tender with others. Using wounds as openings to become vulnerable and available (present) to others means staying in your body. Excessive dwelling on your wounds means leaving your body to live in your thoughts, where you re-enact your past hurts, a form of desconocimiento that gives energy to the past, where it’s held ransom.”
~Gloria Anzaldúa


“Somewhere there is a bird like my soul.”
~Maureen Gibbon


“Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be…….and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this: Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.”
—Andrea Gibson


“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
~Louise Erdrich


“I have a habit of falling in love with souls who have yet to be at peace with their bodies, their minds, their weaknesses. I try to build them, to find the parts of them that are missing in me.
I end up with holes in my chest.”
~ Farah Gabdon


“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.”
~St. Catherine of Sienna


“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: strength, courage, and dignity.”
~Ruby Dee


“My mouth is a fire escape. The words coming out do not care that they are naked, there is something burning inside.”
~ Andrea Gibson


“This feminine fire is a primordial, elemental force that is powerful beyond our wildest imaginings. It is, in fact, power itself.”
~ Teri Degler


“Don’t let the world tell you what is beautiful.”
~Shinji Moon


“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
~Frida Kahlo


“As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses.”
~Joan Baez


“I am rooted, but I flow.”
― Virginia Woolf


“(TW: rape culture)
When rapists engage in sex acts without bothering to gain their sex partner’s consent, they are not “accidentally” raping someone. Rapes don’t come from miscommunication. They are not isolated, unpreventable incidents. They are a product of institutionalized, reinforced, life-long privilege. They are the symptoms of a flaw in the rapist’s entire worldview. They are the product of the way the rapist has habitually devalued women, laid claim to the bodies of others, pursued what he wants no matter what—and never thought anything of it because he has never been called on it. That’s not an accident. That’s a system.”
—Amanda Hess
Legal Consent, Morning-After Regret, and “Accidental” Rape | Amanda Hess | The Sexist (Washington City Paper)


“Men who harass women on the street are part of the same spectrum of the rape culture. They use their power and male privilege to intimidate women and restrict their equality. And, like abusers, they use it to control women. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how many women adjust where they walk, what time of night they walk, how many people they walk with, what they wear etc. Street harassers, like rapists, have been able to control women’s behaviour. Even women who have never been raped have learned very early that they are not safe on their streets and their communities.”
—Hollaback Vancity

http://www.feminisms.org/tag/pervs/


“Feminists have always been accused of hating men because it is a very effective way of silencing a very threatening movement. In a society where women’s value is based on our ability to please men, and where men hold almost all the cards, the worst possible thing we can do is hate them. So when feminists point out and object to the oppression, abuse and discrimination perpetuated by men against women, this is framed as man hating in an attempt to silence us, in an attempt to ensure that we are vilified and ignored by the rest of society, so that male oppression of women and male privilege can continue unchecked.
No matter how we frame our arguments and no matter what kind of image we seek to project, as long as we highlight, object to and fight misogyny, feminists are going to be called man haters.
So I’m not going to waste my time trying to prove that I’m not.”
—“Man haters?” by Laura on The F Word blog


“Nobody’s going to save you. No one’s going to cut you down, cut the thorns thick around you. No one’s going to storm the castle walls nor kiss awake your birth, climb down your hair, nor mount you onto the white steed. There is no one who will feed the yearning. Face it. You will have to do, do it yourself.”
—Gloria E. Anzaldua


“Our society forces boys, insofar as it can, to grow up, to endure the pains of growth, to educate themselves to work, to move on. Why aren’t girls forced to grow up – to achieve somehow the core of self that will end the unnecessary dilemma, the mistaken choice between femaleness and humanness that is implied in the feminine mystique?”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique


“The key to the trap is, of course, education. The feminine mystique has made higher education for women seem suspect, unnecessary and even dangerous. But I think that education, and only education, has saved, and can continue to save, American women from the greater dangers of the feminine mystique.”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique


“Chosen motherhood is the real liberation. The choice to have a child makes the whole experience of motherhood different, and the choice to be generative in other ways can at last be made, and is being made by many women now, without guilt.”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique


“In almost every professional field, in business and in the arts and sciences, women are still treated as second-class citizens. It would be a great service to tell girls who plan to work in society to expect this subtle, uncomfortable discrimination–tell them not to be quiet, and hope it will go away, but fight it. A girl should not expect special privileges because of her sex, but neither should she “adjust” to prejudice and discrimination”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique


“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique


“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
― Betty Friedan


“You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy.”
~Andrea Gibson


“I have had the privilege of participating in most of the great humanizing movements of the second half of the last century: peace, labor, civil rights, black power, women’s rights, Asian-American rights and environmental justice. Each was a tremendously transformative experience, expanding my understanding of what it means to be an American and a human being, challenging me to become more visionary and creative in developing strategies to bring about radical social change.”
~Grace Lee Boggs


“[I]t encouraged me to link up with fellow Asian American feminist activists, campaign on behalf of exploited workers in Chinatown, organize forums on issues such as sex trafficking, and raise awareness of the realities of domestic violence in Asian American communities. Dragon Ladies showed me that as a young South Asian American woman, I could stand up and be counted because my voice and experience mattered.”
~Yuri Kochiyama


“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”
—Assata Shakur


“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”
~Maya Angelou


“What we need is a tough new kind of feminism with no illusions. Women do not change institutions simply by assimilating into them. We need a feminism that teaches a woman to say no – not just to the date rapist or overly insistent boyfriend but, when necessary, to the military or coporate hierarchy within which she finds herself. We need a kind of feminism that aims not just to assimilate into the institutions that men have created over the centuries, but to infiltrate & subvert them.”
~Barbara Ehrenreich


“I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.”
~Louise Brealey


“Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke'; it means you believe in equality”
~Kate Nash


“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
~Assata Shakur


“One thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking.”
~Audre Lorde


“Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
~Nora Ephron


“We are here to advance the cause of women and to advance the cause of democracy and to make it absolutely clear that the two are inseparable. There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard.”
~Hillary Clinton


“I’m fed up with the power that a few exert over the many.”
~Isabel Allende


“Your daughter does not have to be bound by fate; she needs to be allowed the power to create her own fate.”
~Urmi Basu


“What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.”
~Molly Ivins


“When women can make free and informed choices in all spheres of life, including marriage and number and spacing of their children, they can reach their full potential.”
~Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin


“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”
Margaret Sanger (coined the term “Birth Control” and founded Planned Parenthood)


“…I am useless, one more girl who couldn’t be sold. When I visit the family now, I wrap my American successes around me like a private shawl. I am worthy of eating the food. From afar I can believe my family loves me fundamentally. They only say, “When fishing for treasures in the flood, be careful not to pull in girls,” because that is what one says about daughters. But I watched such words come out of my own mother’s and father’s mouths; I looked at their ink drawing of poor people snagging their neighbors’ flotage with long flood hooks and pushing the girl babies on down the river. And I had to get out of hating range. I read in an anthropology book that Chinese say, “Girls are necessary too”; I have never heard the Chinese I know make this concession. Perhaps it was a saying in another village.”
~Maxine Hong Kingston, Chinese–American author. The Woman Warrior, ch. 2 (1976)


“When I’m asked about the relevance to Black people of what I do, I take that as an affront. It presupposes that Black people have never been involved in exploring the heavens, but this is not so. Ancient African empires — Mali, Songhai, Egypt — had scientists, astronomers. The fact is that space and its resources belong to all of us, not to any one group.”
—Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space.


“I have thought of myself as a feminist first, but my ethnicity cannot be separated from my feminism”
~Mitsuye Yamada


“I find myself, as I get older, assuming a more political stance in my writings. I have moved from writing intensely personal poetry to writing essays on social and political issues. The reason for this progression in my writings is that my identity as an Asian American and my identity as a woman is just beginning to merge within me as a singular identity and I am feeling a missionary zeal to let others know about it.”
~Mitsuye Yamada


“Making women the sexual gatekeepers and telling men they just can’t help themselves not only drives home the point that women’s sexuality is unnatural, but also sets up a disturbing dynamic in which women are expected to be responsible for men’s sexual behavior.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“When women’s sexuality is imagined to be passive or “dirty,” it also means that men’s sexuality is automatically positioned as aggressive and right-no matter what form it takes. And when one of the conditions of masculinity, a concept that is already so fragile in men’s minds, is that men dissociate from women and prove their manliness through aggression, we’re encouraging a culture of violence and sexuality that’s detrimental to both men and women.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“..the hope I have for women: that we can start to see ourselves-and encourage men to see us-as more than just the sum of our sexual parts: not as virgins or whores, as mothers or girlfriends, or as existing only in relation to men, but as people with independent desires, hopes and abilities. But I know that this can’t happen as long as American culture continues to inundate us with gender-role messages that place everyone-men and women-in an unnatural hierarchical order that’s impossible to maintain without strife. For women to move forward, and for men to break free, we need to overcome the masculinity status quo-together.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“As different as we all are, there’s one thing most young women have in common: We’re all brought up to feel like there’s something wrong with us. We’re too fat. We’re dumb. We’re too smart. We’re not ladylike enough – ‘stop cursing, chewing with your mouth open, speaking your mind’. We’re too slutty. We’re not slutty enough.
Fuck that.
You’re not too fat. You’re not too loud. You’re not too smart. You’re not unladylike. There is nothing wrong with you.”
― Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters


“These days, I strive to be a bitch, because not being one sucks. Not being a bitch means not having your voice heard. Not being a bitch means you agree with all the bullshit. Not being a bitch means you don’t appreciate all the other bitches who have come before you. Not being a bitch means since Eve ate that apple, we will forever have to pay for her bitchiness with complacence, obedience, acceptance, closed eyes, and opened legs.”
― Margaret Cho, BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine


“Whenever anyone has called me a bitch, I have taken it as a compliment. To me, a bitch is assertive, unapologetic, demanding, intimidating, intelligent, fiercely protective, in control—all very positive attributes. But it’s not supposed to be a compliment, because there’s that old, stupid double standard: When men are aggressive and dominant, they are admired, but when a woman possesses those same qualities, she is dismissed and called a bitch.”
― Margaret Cho


“The desirable virgin is sexy but not sexual. She’s young, white, and skinny. She’s a cheerleader, a babysitter; she’s accessible and eager to please (remember those ethics of passivity!). She’s never a woman of color. She’s never a low-income girl or a fat girl. She’s never disabled. “Virgin” is a designation for those who meet a certain standard of what women, especially young women, are supposed to look like. As for how these young women are supposed to act? A blank slate is best.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.”
― Margaret Cho


“I love heavily tattooed women. I imagine their lives are filled with sensuality and excess, madness and generosity, impulsive natures and fights. They look like they have endured much pain and sadness, yet have the ability to transcend all of it by documenting it on the body”
― Margaret Cho


“Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.”
― Margaret Cho


“When we create out of our experiences, as feminists of color, women of color, we have to develop those structures that will present and circulate our culture.”
~Audre Lorde


“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”
~Audre Lorde


“If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough.”
~Audre Lorde


“Every woman I have ever known has made a lasting impression on my soul.”
~Audre Lorde


“The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.”
~Audre Lorde


“The failure of academic feminists to recognize difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.”
~Audre Lorde


“We welcome all women who can meet us, face to face, beyond objectification and beyond guilt.”
~Audre Lorde


“What woman here is so enamored of her own oppression that she cannot see her heelprint upon another woman’s face? What woman’s terms of oppression have become precious and necessary to her as a ticket into the fold of the righteous, away from the cold winds of self-scrutiny?”
~Audre Lorde


“There’s always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself — whether it’s Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. — because that’s the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else.”
~Audre Lorde


“Several different kind of violence have been exercised against women, among them physical, psychological, moral, verbal, violence inside the family, conjugal and sexual.”
~Rafaela vos Obeso


“Re-education is a life option not only for men, but also for women. The problems related to gender are the concern of both involved parties. They are the problems of the entire society. To talk about feminism causes terror, especially to the opposite sex. Both the one who abuses and the one who allows the abuse must be educated in a new direction. The idea of “he hits me because he loves me” is more common than we believe for a big number of Latin American women. Their mothers and grand mothers have taught them that this was so, generating a chain of several centuries of uninterrupted abuse.”
~Rafaela vos Obeso


“We women have presented an alternative proposal to society and to humanity. It is about the construction of a world where tolerance is a life style; Where daily social and political divergences and its resolutions would be seen as part of humanity; Where equality would be possible in all its dimensions; Where knowledge and access to education and other social possessions would not be the privilege of a few; A world where violence in all its forms would be past history, where fear will not overwhelm us and where we shall be able to enjoy the goodness of existence.”
~Rafaela vos Obeso


“Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society.”
–Yuri Kochiyama


“So, transform yourself first…Because you are young and have dreams and want to do something meaningful, that in itself, makes you our future and our hope. Keep expanding your horizon, decolonize your mind, and cross borders.”
—Yuri Kochiyama


“The energies I gain from my work help me neutralize those implanted forces of negativity and self-destructiveness that is White America’s way of making sure I keep whatever is powerful and creative within me unavailable, ineffective, and non-threatening.”
~Audre Lorde


“Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.”
~Audre Lorde


“We are powerful because we have survived.”
~Audre Lorde


“I am a Black Feminist. I mean I recognize that my power as well as my primary oppressions come as a result of my blackness as well as my womanness, and therefore my struggles on both of these fronts are inseparable.”
~Audre Lorde


“The connection between women’s human rights, gender equality, socioeconomic development and peace is increasingly apparent.”
~Mahnaz Afkhami


“As we move into the twenty-first century, women’s status in society will become the standard by which to measure our progress toward civility and peace.”
~Mahnaz Afkhami


“Women, who are a majority of the peoples of the earth, are indispensable to the accumulation of the kind of social capital that is conducive to development, peace, justice and civility.”
~Mahnaz Afkhami


“No march, movement, or agenda that defines manhood in the narrowest terms and seeks to make women lesser partners in this quest for equality can be considered a positive step.”
~Angela Davis


“The early feminist argument that violence against women is not inherently a private matter, but has been privatized by the sexist structures of the state, the economy, and the family has had a powerful impact on public consciousness.”
~Angela Davis


“To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.”
~Angela Davis


“Young men need to be socialized in such a way that rape is as unthinkable to them as cannibalism.”
~Mary Pipher


“No one has ever objected to women working. The only thing they have ever objected to is paying women for working.”
-Gladys Strum


“I have learned that a woman can be a fighter, a freedom fighter, a political activist, and that she can fall in love and be loved. She can be married, have children, be a mother. Revolution must mean life also; every aspect of life.”
~Leila Khaled


“I hope to inspire everyone — especially… women and young girls in …countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men — to not give up their dreams and to pursue them. … It may seem impossible to them at times. But I believe they can realize their dreams if they keep it in their hearts, nurture it, look for opportunities, and make those opportunities happen.”
~Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim woman in space.


“Every girl is expected to have caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll tits. This is why everyone is struggling.”
-Tina Fey.


“The jury is in, the evidence is absolutely indisputable: If women and girls everywhere were treated as equal to men in rights, dignity, and opportunity, we would see political and economic progress everywhere. So this is not only a moral issue, which, of course, it is. It is an economic issue and a security issue, and it is the unfinished business of the 21st century.”
– Hillary Rodham Clinton


“Collective power is built on individual power. Women are empowered by coming together, and the organizing awakens the inner activist lying deep inside every woman.”
– Leymah Gbowee


“In our nation people are concerned about violence but resolutely refuse to link that violence to patriarchal thinking or male domination.”
~bell hooks


“Dominator culture teaches all of us that the core of our identity is defined by the will to dominate and control others. We are taught that this will to dominate is more biologically hardwired in males than in females. In actuality, dominator culture teaches us that we are all natural-born killers but that males are more able to realize the predator role. In the dominator model the pursuit of external power, the ability to manipulate and control others, is what matters most. When culture is based on a dominator model, not only will it be violent but it will frame all relationships as power struggles.”
—bell hooks


“Until we stop assuming that women are bad if they have sex with someone they don’t know, don’t love, or aren’t married to, we will never be a modern democracy with equal protection under the law.”
~Marianne Mollmann


“Beware; I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
~Mary Shelley


“Life is too damn short and fucked up to go through it silently loving someone and never telling them how you feel. Fuck the consequences, fuck the implications of the actions, to hell with it all… whatever happens as a result is better than the nothingness that is inevitable with silence.”
—Janis Joplin


“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as an escape.”
—bell hooks


“The best way to promote the role for religious discourse defended in this paper is to produce active, unintimidated, educated democratic citizens. Such citizens will demand that religious discourse play a role compatible with constitutional guarantees of human equality. And this means that their role toward their own religious tradition will also be active and reflective, not merely submissive to the powerful interpreters of the moment.”
~Martha C. Nussbaum from her essay, “Religion and Women’s Human Rights.”


“My starting point is a simple one: It is that human beings should not be violated and that the protection of the basic human rights should have a very strong degree of priority, even when this interferes with traditional religious discourse and practice. To those who object that violating others is part of the free exercise of their religion, we should reply as we do when a murderer claims that God told him to do it: Never mind, we say, there are some things we do not allow people to do to other people. Or, as the Bangladeshi wife said in my epigraph, if Allah really said that (as may be doubted) then he is dead wrong.”
~Martha C. Nussbaum from her essay, “Religion and Women’s Human Rights.”


“In a constitutional or otherwise democratic regime that has adopted a guarantee of sex equality or ratified the Women’s Convention, it should be straightforwardly immoral and inappropriate to speak in ways that contradict or undermine these fundamental rights. Thus, any discourse that denies women’s equal humanity (or, indeed, the equal humanity of all citizens); any discourse that portrays women as by nature whorish or childish or unfitted for citizenship; any defense of practices that violate women’s human rights as guaranteed in the constitution, such as marital rape or female genital mutilation, all this should be deemed highly inappropriate. (And I do mean to include here any religious speech attacking contraception in international fora, since, as I have said, I take contraception to be a basic human right of women.) We could legitimately view a history of such speech as a reason against confirming a judge for office; a religious leader who uses such speech in the public realm should be strongly criticized as a subverter of the constitution.”
~Martha C. Nussbaum from her essay, “Religion and Women’s Human Rights.”


“Feminist practice and history were founded on habits of critique, both outwards and inwards: therein lies its ability not only to imagine a world without sexual violence, but also to recreate our world.”
-Joanna Bourke, “Foreword,” Theorizing Sexual Violence


“You can be the generation that stands up and says that violence against women in any form, in any place including the home –especially the home– that isn’t just a women’s rights violation. It’s a human rights violation. And it has no place in any society.”
~Michelle Obama


This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“Patriarchy has always seen love as women’s work, degraded and devalued labor. And it has not cared when women failed to learn how to love, for patriarchal men have been the most willing to substitute care for love, submission for respect. We did not need a feminist movement to let us know that females are more likely to be concerned with relationships, connection, and community than are males. Patriarchy trains us for this role. We do not need feminist movement to remind us again and again that love cannot exist in a context of domination, that the love we seek cannot be found as long as we are bound and not free.”
—bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love


At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their sense of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others. To change this males must critique and challenge male domination of the planet, of less powerful men, of women and children.”
—bell hooks


In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime. The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“Boys are allowed to grow into men, but “attractive” women in our culture are expected to stay at pretty much an eternal pre-adolescent weight. What’s society’s current ideal man look like? Fit. Big muscles. What’s society’s current ideal woman look like? Thin. Really thin. No hips. No belly. Hairless except for the head. Basically a 10-year-old girl with boobs added for sex appeal.”
—Rookie » Eating: A Manifesto (http://rookiemag.com/2012/07/eating-a-manifesto/)


“I want women to allow themselves to want food. I want women to be hungry and ask for what they want to eat without apologizing. I want women to stop looking for permission from others before they eat something that is not a carrot or spinach. I want my friends to get the chili fries if they want the chili fries, and not say something like, “It all goes straight to my ____” (hips, thighs, butt, etc.). I want to see a girl sink her teeth into a huge cheeseburger and fries and not cut the burger in half to save some for later. I want my mother to allow herself more than one small square of dark chocolate per day. I want women to take pleasure in food, without punishing ourselves for wanting it.”
—Rookie » Eating: A Manifesto (http://rookiemag.com/2012/07/eating-a-manifesto/)


“The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.”
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“If you go door to door in our nation and talk to citizens about domestic violence, almost everyone will insist that they do not support male violence against women, that they believe it to be morally and ethically wrong. However, if you then explain that we can only end male violence against women by challenging patriarchy, and that means no longer accepting the notion that men should have more rights and privileges than women because of biological differences or that men should have the power to rule over women, that is when the agreement stops. There is a gap between the values they claim to hold and their willingness to do the work of connecting thought and action, theory and practice to realize these values and thus create a more just society.”
—bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions


“‎I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”
—Sister Joan Chittister, Catholic Nun


“The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: ‘The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.'”
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.”
—Chris Clarke, How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men


“My studio practice has, for sometime, centered around finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user, opening up profound issues about methods of self-representation and the power of self-narration in challenging the nexus of power and control that created the ‘disabled’ as other.”
~Susan Austin, founder and artistic director of Freewheeling, an initiative aiming to further the genre of Disability Arts.


“We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasize the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.”
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain…[E]ven little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.”
~Jada Pinkett Smith


“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
~Anna Quindlen


“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.”
–Maya Angelou


“The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.”
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“Does feminism have a responsibility to ‘look the other way’ when it comes to religious injustice against women if those women claim that their identity is inexorably linked with the cultural milieu surrounding their faith? [...] It makes no difference the faith or the culture, I will forever hold women, their freedom, and their ability to become full persons my first priority.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.”
― Adrienne Rich


“When a feminist says that a sexist comment, or a misogynistic stance is offensive, or even that patriarchal religion is fundamentally offensive to women, [she] does so from a place of disempowerment, which requires, through its very nature, that she not only see it, but live it, feel it, and say it with the full knowledge of why it is offensive — why it is harmful — why it is unfair — what kind of effect it is having — and in what specific ways that is detrimental to society.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. [...] It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“I find patriarchal religion offensive to the personhood of individuals, especially the personhood which is rarely admitted or expressed: that of a woman.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I am stepping off the capitalist treadmill. I am going to take a deep breath and find a way to survive not being flat or perfect. I am inviting you to join me, to stop trying to be anything, anyone other than who you are.”
~Eve Ensler


“The future will not belong to those who are content with the present. The future will not belong to cynics and people who sit on the sidelines. The future will belong to people who have passion and are willing to work hard to make this country better.”
~Senator Paul Wellstone


“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.”
~Henry David Thoreau, author


“Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can’t go hand in hand, I don’t want to go.”
~Hazel Scott, musician


“If all of us and all living things on the planet are to continue, we, who still remember how we must live, must join together.”
~Leslie Marmon Silko, Laguna Pueblo Author


“I was moved by women in Africa who lived close to the earth and didn’t understand what it meant to not love their body. I was lifted by older women in India who celebrated their roundness. I was inspired by Marion Woodman, a great Jungian analyst, who gave me confidence to trust what I know. She has said that ‘instead of transcending ourselves, we must move into ourselves.'”
~Eve Ensler


I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day. ”
~Gloria Steinem, writer


“It is not the easy or convenient life for which I search. It is the life full of possibility lived to the edge of all I can be.”
~Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey, poet


“The more people come out, the less it will be an issue. If we are ashamed of ourselves, how the hell can we expect the rest of the world not to be ashamed of us?”
~Martina Navratilova, athlete


“Tell the image makers and magazine sellers and the plastic surgeons that you are not afraid. That what you fear the most is the death of imagination and originality and metaphor and passion. Then be bold and LOVE YOUR BODY. STOP FIXING IT. It was never broken.”
–Eve Ensler


“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”
~Horace Mann


“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. ”
~Helen Keller


“Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse. Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable.”
~Ibo Proverb


“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. And we have a choice: What sort of difference do we want to make?”
~Jane Goodall


“The future belongs to those who can give the next generation reasons to hope.”
~Pierre Teilhard DeChardin, philosopher


“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”
~Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund


“It is not enough to teach our young people to be successful…so they can accumulate the material things that this society bestows. … Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves-and be free.”
~Cesar E. Chavez, social activist


“The labor of immigrant women workers helped build this country. We must continue to speak up and demand our rights.”
~Young Chin, community organizer


“The only thing that is really worthwhile is change—and it’s coming.”
~Septima P. Clark, literacy and Civil Rights activist


“You should know that the education of the heart is very important. This will distinguish you from others. Educating oneself is easy, but educating ourselves to help other human beings to help the community is much more difficult.”
~César E. Chávez, social activist


“It is better to wear out than to rust out.”
~Mary Ann Shadd Cary, publisher and abolitionist


“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young. ”
~Maya Angelou


“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.
~Arthur Ashe, Athlete


“The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody.”
~Rita Mae Brown


“One can’t believe in impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
~Lewis Carroll , Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland


“To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides. People choose to make a difference. ”
~Maya Angelou


“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”
~Wangari Maathai, Kenya’s Nobel laureate


So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“You have to be strong; you have to trust yourself that you can bring down the dictatorship regime and build a new country. You have to be part of building your country. We know that anything that you dream can happen. You have to know that you have the ability to achieve your dream.”
~ Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni human rights activist and joint-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize


“How do we not value this work that women do that is at the base of every society? If it’s stopped, everything else would be, too.”
~Hillary Clinton


“Every time I asked a question, that magnificent teacher, instead of giving the answer, showed me how to find it. She taught me to organize my thoughts, to do research, to read and listen, to seek alternatives, to resolve old problems with new solutions, to argue logically. Above all, she taught me not to believe anything blindly, to doubt, and to question even what seemed irrefutably true, such as man’s superiority over woman, or one race or social class over another.”
― Isabel Allende, Portrait in Sepia


The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
~Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States from 1977 to 1981


“My art reflects the essence of my true self and the truth within me. My perspective is unique: I am a woman, a Puerto Rican, an artist, a designer and a businessowner. My experience is diversity: I come from the inner city, I’ve spent most of my life in maintream America and I’ve come to know both worlds and their people. My struggle is for recognition, acceptance and inclusion; and, against racism, sexism and the dominant eurocentric male society, which never expected much from me but still did not allow my voice to be heard. My belief is that one must empower oneself with one’s own truth. This is my art: Verdadism.”
~Soraida Martinez


“They relish seeing strong women like you and me humiliated. They cannot forgive us that we triumphed where so many others fail…Courage is a virtue appreciated in a male but considered a defect in our gender. Bold women are a threat to a world that is out of balance, in favor of men. That is why they work so hard to mistreat and destroy us.”
― Isabel Allende, Inés of My Soul


“I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue – my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa


“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.”
― Isabel Allende, Island Beneath the Sea


“Do work that matters. Vale la pena”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa


“I need to remember to overcome.”
― Isabel Allende


“I change myself, I change the world.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa


“The source of my difficulties has always been the same: an inability to accept what to others seems natural, and an irresistible tendency to voice opinions no one wants to hear . . .”
― Isabel Allende


“To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides.
People choose to make a difference.”
~Maya Angelou


“Everyone is governed by the same laws; everyone is entitled to justice.”
~Antonia Hernández, civil rights lawyer


“We couldn’t possibly support a proposal that says you can work here, but you can never be apart of our society.”
—Cecilia Munoz


“I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?”
~Joan Baez


“In this society many words have double meanings. I feel that everyone that has been called a minority at one time or another has felt that something is wrong. We have been conditioned to think that this is OK, but it is not. Our young people feel the impact of the bad connotations and because of this will start to act like second-class citizens. Let’s just be who we are: Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Koreans, African-Americans and so on. Let’s not allow the government and mainstream America be too lazy to refer to us by our proper origin.”
~Soraida Martinez


“Though we tremble before uncertain futures
may we meet illness, death and adversity with strength
may we dance in the face of our fears.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa


“Action is the antidote to despair.”
~Joan Baez


“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.”
― Isabel Allende, The Sum of Our Days: A Memoir


“Everyone needs a strong sense of self. It is our base of operations for everything that we do in life.”
~Julia T. Alvarez


“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa


“I certainly wish that I had been the kind of child who told the first time, and so, because I wasn’t the kind of child who did that, a part of my mission in life now is to encourage every other child who is abused: you tell. You tell, and if they don’t believe you, you keep telling. You tell everybody until somebody listens to you.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Yes, women have every capacity for critical thinking, but it is so heavily discouraged in order to maintain status as “societally female” that it acts as a temptress of the most evil sort. It makes no difference where a woman might dare to speak, whether in the home, the church, the office, or the school – she must be prepared to die on her own words.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“A culture that protects women’s rights by law is better than a culture in which a man can lawfully have four wives at once and women are denied alimony and half their inheritance. A culture that appoints women to its supreme court is better than a culture that declares that the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man.”
~Ayaan Hirsi Ali


“There has been a lot of effort to demonize the word ‘feminist.’ I think that being a feminist means that you see the world whole instead instead of half. It shouldn’t need a name and one day it won’t. Feminism starts out being very simple, it starts out being the instinct of the little child who says ‘it’s not fair’ and ‘you are not the boss of me.’ It’s something in us who knows that. And it ends up being a worldview that questions hierarchy altogether.”
~Gloria Steinem


“The ability to read saved my life. I would have been an entirely different person had I not been taught to read when I was at an early age. My entire life experience, my ability to believe in myself, and even in my darkest moments of sexual abuse and being physically abused and so forth, I knew there was another way. I knew there was a way out. I knew there was another kind of life because I’d read about it. I’d read about it. I knew there were other places and there was another way of being. And so, it saved my life, so that’s why I now focus my attention on trying to do the same thing for other people—education.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“With great severity, it can be argued that every word of a woman is an indictment to a man and the structure under which he thrives.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world. But then I thought, there are so many people in the world. There must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
~Frida Kahlo


“There is no hierarchy of oppressions.”
~Audre Lorde


“A woman’s size is surface. To speak of the size of a woman’s body as if it were meaningful and of some import to anything is to falsify reality and to degrade humanity.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women.”
~Betty Ford


“The television executives told me when I was in Baltimore that I was just—it was too much—I was too big, and I was too black. They told me that I was too engaged, that I was too emotional, I was too—too much for the news. And so they put me on a talk show one day just to run out my contract. And that was the beginning of my story.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“You may not agree with a woman, but to criticize her appearance — as opposed to her ideas or actions — isn’t doing anyone any favors, least of all you. Insulting a woman’s looks when they have nothing to do with the issue at hand implies a lack of comprehension on your part, an inability to engage in high-level thinking. You may think she’s ugly, but everyone else thinks you’re an idiot.”
~Hillary Clinton


“I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent, and not so withered and shriveled.”
~Amy Poehler


“People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl … It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.”
~Gabourey Sidibe


“I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am, and of course I am ’cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist has a weird connotation.”
~Ellen Page


“I love being a woman, and I love being a black woman.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Maybe 23 cents doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can’t just be measured in dollars.”
~Lilly Ledbetter, equal pay activist and namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


“If you were ever uncertain of your status as a woman in the United States, the whole of your existence was summed up as sex object this year in small, cutting words like “whore” and “slut.” What we learned, as women, is that our bodies are viewed as public property, that our ability to reproduce is an act which has special significance for our “Christian” nation, and that we are politically held at the mercy of our government as it utilizes a religious convergence of power and control over female personhood.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“My sisters and I were encouraged to choose the direction of our lives.
We became a congresswoman, a stay-at-home mom, a filmmaker, and a journalist. And Lino and I taught our children that they could rise to even greater heights. They could become surgeons, CEOs, supreme court justices, secretary of state, and even president of the United States. We didn’t teach our daughters that they were second-class citizens.”
~Diana DeGette, U.S. Representative


“[...] I would not judge a [women's] character by [her] belief or unbelief. I would judge [her] character by [her] deeds; and no matter what [she] said about [her] beliefs, [her] behavior would soon show whether [she] was a [woman] of good character or bad.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Education is what liberated me.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“We believe in funding family planning because it helps to prevent unintended pregnancy. We believe that a woman considering an abortion should not be forced to have an ultrasound against her will. We believe that rape is rape. We believe that a woman should make health care decisions with her family, her doctor, and her God. And we believe that there’s no place in that room for politicians-especially politicians who don’t know how women’s bodies work.”
~Nancy Keenan, NARAL President


“I remember my father saying to me “You can’t bring Cs in this house because you are not a C student. If you were a C student you could, because I’m not trying to make you do or be anything that you can’t be. But you are not a C student; you are an A student. So that’s what we expect in this house.” It was so matter of fact.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Women are not appropriately defined in any way that measures them according to the standards set or perceived for men. Women are in every way their own beings. They are neither helpmate, nor soul mate to their biological opposite. They do not exist for the purposes of procreation, caregiving, or service of any kind. They are not created; they are born. They do not have a use value rather they are intrinsically valuable. Until women are valued on their own terms, personhood will remain elusive”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”
~ Wade Davis


“We’ve chosen the path to equality, don’t let them turn us around.”
~Geraldine Ferraro


“Our culture teaches us about shame-it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us-from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate.”
~Brene Brown, “I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame”


“I have people that I trust. I also try to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Reproductive freedom means economic freedom [...]”
~Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, who co-chairs both the LGBT Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus in the House of Representative


“The larger world never gives girls that message that their bodies are valuable simply because they are inside them. Until our culture tells young girls that they are welcome in any shape— that women are valuable to it with or without the excuse of “beauty”— girls will continue to starve.”
— Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth


“Out of 3.2 million young people ages 16 to 24, 2.2 million do not go to college. More than a million don’t even graduate from high school. The statistics say that I shouldn’t be here, that the most someone like me should hope for is to get by, not get ahead. But I’m not a statistic. I’m a young woman with a bright future.”
~Angie Flores, student at Miami Dade College, former student of Dr. Jill Biden


“To posit the existence and relevance of a male deity is to deny the full humanity of those who are female.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of peoples, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided.”
~Hillary Clinton


“From the very first day I did my very first talk show, I knew it. I knew it was the right thing to do. I felt the same thing about acting too. Only I was so terrified, that it was a little bit more difficult for me.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“I believe we will have better government in all of our countries when men and women discuss public issues together and make their decisions on the basis of their differing areas of experience and their common concern for the welfare of their families and their world.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Women’s empowerment begins with girls’ empowerment. Breaking the cycle of gender discrimination requires that we promote and protect the rights of girls. At the same time we also need to equip them with the skills and opportunities they need to transform their lives and those of their communities.”
~Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist


“We are all ‘other’ just as we are all ‘one.’ Humanity is not given in degrees. It is who we all are – in relation and equality.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.”
~Audre Lorde


“I write these feminist songs, to try and teach myself to respect myself. Not because I’m a hero.”
~Ani DiFranco


“As adults, we must affirm, constantly, that the Arab child, the Muslim child, the Palestinian child, the African child, the Jewish child, the Christian child, the American child, the Chinese child, the Israeli child, the Native American child, etc, is equal to all others on the planet.”
-Alice Walker


“We cannot procrastinate. The world of the future is in our making. Tomorrow is now.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I read mostly female literature because I just find that I’m drawn to it. If I’m in a book store, I’m drawn to the women writers because that’s what I know.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“The bottom line is that there is no new trail of belief for me–there is no god who will make sense and there is no religious remedy to which I can cling [...] There was a huge price to pay for admitting my lack of belief and I pay it to this day. I pay it every time I see my family, sit with the memories of my youth, reflect on friendships I couldn’t maintain because of it, and look at the reality of my life today. The good, the bad, and the suffering–I see it all through being one who did and can no longer believe.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
~Michelle Obama


“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
~Marie Curie


“I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madame C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Many women feel invisible or aberrant when they are subsumed under a masculine term that is supposed to be universal; yet they are often made to feel trivial and nit-picking if they object. But look at it this way: Would a man feel included in “womankind”?”
~Gloria Steinem


“How is it you would like me to regain my ability for religious belief? My existence would be easy if I could just believe, but I can’t because I recognized some serious problems, like trying to force authenticity where there was none out of terror of hell, fear of abandonment, family disappointment, or a vengeful God who would no longer love me.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The idea of an inner authority is upsetting to those accustomed to looking outside for orders—and certainly to those accustomed to giving them.”
~Gloria Steinem


“My goal isn’t to be thin. My goal is for my body to be the weight it can hold—to be strong and healthy and fit, to be itself. My goal is to learn to embrace this body and to be grateful every day for what it has given me.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“The fundamental right of freedom of thought and expression is essential. If you curtail what the other fellow says and does, you curtail what you yourself may say and do.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Between the days of fecund productivity are inserted days of uncertainty when nothing seems to succeed, and when even matter itself seems hostile; and it is then that one must hold out against discouragement.”
~Marie Curie


“My own experiences have taught me, in brutal ways, that what is seen on the surface doesn’t tell any of the real story. I need feminism because I need a way to connect in truth and honesty with other women in order to continue to understand myself and find ways to help alleviate the burdens, pain, and abuse of other women that are never easily seen.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I think education is power. I think that being able to communicate with people is power. One of my main goals on this planet is to encourage people to empower themselves.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Any one of our human capacities, if unused out of fear or shame, leaves a small hole in the fabric of our self-esteem.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Not only do you have the right to do whatever you want, you have the right to change your mind.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“While I know that women are not ‘the same’ and that it is through respect of our differences and uniqueness that we can foster a sense of meaningful connectedness, I am unable to deny the profound impact that women from all around the world have had on me, through their stories, to help me come to grips with my own.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Blatant or subtle, pornography involves no equal power or mutuality. In fact, much of the tension and drama comes from the clear idea that one person is dominating the other.”
~Gloria Steinem


“The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I don’t have a weight problem—I have a self-care problem that manifests through weight.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“The work of feminism and the battle that each feminist fights, whether through Black Feminism, Lesbian Feminism, Asian American Feminism, Mujeristas, the varieties of Latina Feminist movements in Central and South American, feminism in Europe and Africa, the diverse feminist movements in India, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia, and every other branch of feminist thought throughout the world that I fail to name–is fighting to matter.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Erotica is as different from pornography as love is from rape, as dignity is from humiliation, as partnership is from slavery, as pleasure is from pain.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I know that we will be the sufferers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting ourselves to correct them.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I think the book that moved me most when I was growing up was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I had a tree in my backyard, too, so I identified with her. I just thought, “Well, this is my life.” And then I discovered Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Well, first of all, it was the first time I had ever encountered another woman who had been sexually abused. I could not imagine. I felt that way, too, when I read The Color Purple. I read the first page of The Color Purple, put the book down, and wept. I could not believe it, that someone had put this in writing. It was unbelievable.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“What I do know is that women matter to me — in all of their glorious diversity — their plight, their place, their status, their representation, their ability to thrive — women matter, each individual woman matters, no woman should be left out or behind and every voice should have the opportunity to speak and be heard.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“If you add up all the forms of genocide, from female infanticide and genital mutilation to so-called honor crimes, sex trafficking, and domestic abuse, everything, we lose about 6 million humans every year just because they were born female[...]”
-Gloria Steinem


“My grandmother gave me the foundation for success that I was allowed to continue to build upon. My grandmother taught me to read, and that opened the door to all kinds of possibilities for me. And had I not been with my grandmother and been with my mother struggling in the North, moving from apartment to apartment, I probably would not have had the foundation that I had.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Our strategy should be to lay siege to empire. With our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons. Remember this: We be many and they be few. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
– Arundhati Roy


“I would encourage you to set your gods aside and fully embrace your humanity as it is the only way I can see that we can begin to make progress in stopping the rampant abuse, violence, and inequality gripping the world [...]”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The real reasons for (female) genital mutilation can only be understood in the context of the patriarchy: men must control women’s bodies as the means of production, and thus repress the independent power of women’s sexuality.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I always wanted to be an actress for most of my adolescent and adult life. My father didn’t want me to be, because his idea of ‘an actress” was one of these ‘lewd women,’ and ‘How are you going to take care of your life?'”
~Oprah Winfrey


“That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.”
~Ashley Judd


“People are uncomfortable with sexuality that’s not for male consumption.”
— Erykah Badu


“One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“The same idea of masculinity that says you have to dominate women says you have to dominate nature, and that becomes the source of evils visited on the environment.”
~Gloria Steinem


“If you’re a woman, if you’re a person of color, if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you’re a person of size, a person of intelligence, a person of integrity, then you’re considered a minority in this world. …And it’s going to be really hard to find messages of self-love and support anywhere. It’s all about how you have to look a certain way or else you’re worthless. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution and our revolution is long overdue.”
-Margaret Cho


“I loved books so much as a child. They were my outlet to the world.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“Feminism means finally that we renounce our obedience to the fathers and recognize that the world they have described is not the whole world.”
-Adrienne Rich


“Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.”
—Gloria Steinem


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“My drug of choice is food. I use food for the same reasons an addict uses drugs: to comfort, to soothe, to ease stress.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“To think of taking our place in nature instead of conquering it is a deep change in the way we see ourselves and the world.”
~Gloria Steinem


“They said, ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman.’ I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.”
― Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian feminist leader


‎”My being a feminist is my being a woman who has experienced, first hand, the injustices of gender. [...]“I do not need to be told by a man that my gender is actually quite irrelevant to a successful society or social contract as I have lived the opposite. I have both a Ph.D. and an ample bosom. Guess which one gets more “play.” You just try and tell me that we live in a society that values me for my mind and abilities and I will step outside in a halter top and relate to you in detail the reality of my experiences in the world.”
~Leanne Dedrick


“Wisdom too often remains in our heads. Only experience can make it a visceral part of our daily lives by bridging the distance from head to heart.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
~Fannie Lou Hamer


“Women are always being tested…but ultimately, each of us has to define who we are individually and then do the very best job we can to grow into it.”
~Hillary Clinton


“The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I always wanted to be an actress for most of my adolescent and adult life. My father didn’t want me to be, because his idea of ‘an actress” was one of these ‘lewd women,’ and ‘How are you going to take care of your life?'”
~Oprah Winfrey


“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
–Kate Chopin, The Awakening


“Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”
–Virginia Woolf


“Imagining anything is the first step toward creating it.”
~Gloria Steinem


“My greatest fear has always been that I would be afraid—afraid physically or mentally or morally and allow myself to be influenced by fear instead of by my honest convictions.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“A nation cannot be liberated whether internally of externally while it’s women are enchained.”
– Doria Shafik


“Progress lies in the direction we haven’t been.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I believe in active citizenship, for men and women equally, as a simple matter of right and justice.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I also want to act because I think that it’s very important to create work that for one, puts the black cultural experience on screen. I’ve been black, I’ve been female all my life. That’s the only thing I know. So I know that experience.”
~Oprah Winfrey


“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
~ Georgia O’Keeffe


“Once men realize that the gender roles are a prison for them too, then they become really valuable allies. Because they’re not just helping someone else, they’re freeing themselves.”
~Gloria Steinem


“What I really want to do is reach people. I want to make great music, but I also want to use that talent to lift people up, and maybe show them some degree of hope where there might not be any in their lives. My name means ‘hope’ in Spanish, and it’s a name I want to live up to.”
~ Esperanza Spalding


“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
~ Cesar Chavez


“We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
~ Shirley Chisholm


“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction.”
~ Maya Angelou


“The main good news is that we understand now that women’s subordinate position is not natural.”
~Gloria Steinem


“For me, feminism represents opportunity and signifies hope. When I was completely alienated from everyone and everything during a long and abusive relationship, feminist theory (of all kinds) kept me alive and mentally active. More than that, knowing that other women had found a way to persevere and some actually came out the other side to finally live free, gave me a reason to keep trying and keep struggling even during the bleakest days.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“We must show by our behaviour that we believe in equality and justice.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Revolution begins with the self, in the self.”
~Toni Cade Bambara


“Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion.”
~Gloria Steinem


“A strong woman is a woman who loves strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong in words, in action, in connection, in feeling; she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she enacts it as the wind fills a sail.”
― Marge Piercy


“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
― Barbara Kingsolver


“Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.”
― Marge Piercy, The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme


“One of the best ways of enslaving a people is to keep them from education… The second way of enslaving a people is to suppress the sources of information, not only by burning books but by controlling all the other ways in which ideas are transmitted.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“We are also communal creatures who are born before our brains are fully developed, so we’re very sensitive to our environment. The question is: How to find the support and the circumstances that allow you to express what’s inside you?”
~Gloria Steinem


“Our lives preserved. How it was; and how it be. Passing it along in the relay. That is what I work to do: to produce stories that save our lives.”
Toni Cade Bambara


“If you don’t have self-esteem, you will hesitate before you do anything in your life. You will hesitate to go for the job you want to go for. You will hesitate to ask for a raise. You will hesitate to call yourself an American. You will hesitate to report a rape. You will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote; you will hesitate to dream. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution, and our revolution is LONG OVERDUE.”
~Margaret Cho


“In their minds we’re not human… They don’t hate us because we did something or said something. They make us stand for an evil they invent and then they want to kill it in us.”
― Marge Piercy, Gone to Soldiers


“We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Any form of abuse that comes from the very people who are supposed to protect us, to whom we have no choice but to make ourselves vulnerable, is the most destructive of self.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky.”
― Barbara Kingsolver


“I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.”
[...]
(complete poem; http://anotherhand.livejournal.com/15…)
― Marge Piercy


“Women must become more conscious of themselves as women and of their ability to function as a group.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Becoming conscious of old and unchosen patterns allows us to change them, and even so, change, no matter how much for the better, still feels cold and lonely at first.”
~Gloria Steinem


“The societies kids naturally form are tribal. Gangs, clubs, packs. But we’re herded into schools and terrified into behaving. Taught how we’re supposed to pretend to be, taught to parrot all kinds of nonsense at the flick of a switch, taught to keep our heads down and our elbows in and shut off our minds and shut off our sex. We learn we can’t even piss when we have to. That’s how we learn to be plastic and dumb.”
― Marge Piercy, Dance the Eagle to Sleep


“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“You can’t lose old and negative ways of thinking until new and positive ones replace them.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Writing, like dreams, confronts, pushes you up against the evasions, self-deceptions, investments in opinions and interpretations, the clutter that blinds, that disguises that underlying, all-encompassing design. . .”
Toni Cade Bambara


“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.”
― Barbara Kingsolver


“Even in countries where for many years women have voted and been eligible for public office, there are still too few women serving in positions of real leadership”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I’ve learned only one thing: No matter how hard it is to do it, it’s harder not to do it.”
~Gloria Steinem


“She would not be robbed of her ability to support herself, to do good work in the world, justly, compassionately.”
― Marge Piercy


“For people sometimes believed that it was safer to live with complaints, was necessary to cooperate with grief, was all right to become an accomplice in self-ambush…Take heart to flat out decide to be well and stride into the future sane and whole.”
― Toni Cade Bambara


“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Each of us has an inner compass that helps us to know where to go and what to do. Its signals are interest, excitement, the joy of understanding for its own sake, and the sort of fear that is a sign of being in new territory—and therefore of growth.
~Gloria Steinem


“To be a force is to acknowledge the responsibility of awakening the Self. ”The Self,” you say? Yes, the ‘who you really are’ the ‘unmasked and unabashed’ or ‘that really wonderful person that you are when no one else is looking.’ The one who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and tell it like it is, the person who is a great orator for truth and justice and has the passion of a hundred fires — when alone with the mirror. The one who can set you straight and tell you the truth when the truth is ugly and painful. The one who is free enough and happy enough to feel the world not just for the pain, but for the pleasure and the passion and the warmth and the joy. The ‘fully alive’ one who can touch the lives of everyone they meet; seeing the truth in others and helping them recognize it; summoning the courage to speak, especially in the face of ridicule; standing in solidarity with the unpopular and disenfranchised; and living the Self with honesty and an embrace of the broken within.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“If ten million women really want security, real representation, honesty, wise and just legislation, happier and more comfortable conditions of living, and a future with the horrors of war removed from the horizon, then these ten million women must bestir themselves.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt


“Instead of defining power as domination, it is being redefined as self-determination. Instead of outstripping others, the goal is completing oneself.”
~Gloria Steinem


“I think that we must seek for spiritual strength in an idealism which, without making us prideful, would oblige us to place our aspirations and our dreams very high—and I also think it is a source of disappointment to make all the interest of one’s life depend upon sentiments as stormy as love.”
~Marie Curie


“[T]o become a woman is to become a creative force — a force of reckoning, a force of strength, a force of knowing, a force of change, and a force of truth. A force so strong that being who you are is not an option; it simply IS. Living your life according to your own truth isn’t always easy, but when you realize that living your own truth is the only way to help yourself and others fully live, it becomes an ethical imperative.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“My feminism is humanism, with the weakest being those who I represent, and that includes many beings and life forms, including some men.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“It’s important for all of us to be authentic with each other.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Once more we are in a period of uncertainty, of danger, in which not only our own safety but that of all mankind is threatened. [...] We need imagination and integrity, courage and a high heart. We need to fan the spark of conviction, which may again inspire the world as we did with our new idea of the dignity and worth of free men. But first we must learn to cast out fear. People who “view with alarm” never build anything.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“I realize that when I moved out of my father’s house I shocked and frightened him because I needed a room of my own, a space of my own to reinvent myself.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“There were some very hard days, and the only thing that softens the memory of them is that in spite of everything I came through it all honestly, with my head high.”
~Marie Curie


“Knowledge that is not accessible is not helpful.”
~Gloria Steinem


“When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
― Erma Bombeck


“She doesn’t need anybody to laugh with, she just laughs… and sees beautiful things everywhere.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”
― Erma Bombeck


“Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road


“I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could see my name in the card catalog.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“I love my mother for all the times she said absolutely nothing…. Thinking back on it all, it must have been the most difficult part of mothering she ever had to do: knowing the outcome, yet feeling she had no right to keep me from charting my own path. I thank her for all her virtues, but mostly for never once having said, “I told you so.”
― Erma Bombeck


“Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“Humor is a spontaneous, wonderful bit of an outburst that just comes. It’s unbridled, its unplanned, it’s full of surprises.”
― Erma Bombeck


“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“I don’t see any kind of mirror of power, male power, that is, as a form of liberation. I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. I don’t believe this is truly freedom.”
~Sandra Cisneros)


“Laughter rises out of tragedy when you need it the most, and rewards you for your courage.”
― Erma Bombeck


“I love myself when I am laughing. . . and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”
― Erma Bombeck


“I try to be as honest about what I see and to speak rather than be silent, especially if it means I can save lives, or serve humanity.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“These stories celebrate what’s at the heart of so many Latino success stories — a desire to achieve and make a difference, … Visitors to this Smithsonian exhibit will have the opportunity to learn about Latinos who have made varying but very important contributions to the American fabric.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, ‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’ Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, ‘How good or how bad am I?’ That’s where courage comes in.”
― Erma Bombeck


“Wouldn’t the worst be, isn’t the worst, in truth, that women aren’t castrated, that they have only to stop listening to the Sirens (for the Sirens were men) for history to change its meaning?”
― Hélène Cixous


“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”
― John F. Kennedy


“Every woman is her own conflict [of being both woman and feminist], and she needs to be given the space and freedom to speak her conflict in ways that open her up to her own possibility of personal unification.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“If blood is thicker than water, then menstruation is thicker than brotherhood.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.”
― Allen Ginsberg


“To read is to empower,
To empower is to write,
To write is to influence,
To influence is to change,
To change is to live”.”
― Jane Evershed


“Feminist theory can explain why patriarchy doesn’t speak to the best interest of women, and it can articulate the detrimental ramifications of living under its control, but it can’t speak meaningfully to what it is to be a woman shaped by the system, because every woman manifests womanhood differently.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What’s the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts?”
― Hélène Cixous


“You can’t erase who you are. You can’t erase what you know.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“Where is the ebullient infinite woman who…hasn’t been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a …divine composure), hasn’t accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn’t thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.”
― Hélène Cixous


“If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.”
― Angela Y. Davis


“Listen to a woman speak at a public gathering (if she hasn’t painfully lost her wind). She doesn’t “speak,” she throws her trembling body forward; she lets go of herself, she flies; all of her passes into her voice, and it’s with her body that she vitally sup- ports the “logic” of her speech. Her flesh speaks true. She lays herself bare. In fact, she physically materializes what she’s thinking; she signifies it with her body. In a certain way she inscribes what she’s saying, because she doesn’t deny her drives the intractable and impassioned part they have in speaking. Her speech, even when “theoretical” or political, is never simple or linear or “objectified,” generalized: she draws her story into history.”
― Hélène Cixous


“One of my reasons for being a feminist writer is to elucidate the conflict [of being both woman and feminist], say the stuff that doesn’t make sense, and live the uncomfortable out loud–because I don’t think I’m the only one stuck in the abyss of being more than just one definition of woman.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.”
― Toni Morrison


“I have to say that the traditional role is kind of a myth. I think the traditional Mexican woman is a fierce woman.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it.”
― Toni Morrison


“Feminism is really good at telling women what they shouldn’t be and what they shouldn’t do, bit it still has a long way to go with helping women to reconcile the conflict of being both woman and feminist [...]”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Every day free from my abuser is a testament to my ability to begin anew; not every day holds a trigger for me anymore; I am no longer subject to panic attacks on a regular basis; but I am still a work in progress – living my life fully to the best of my ability, no matter how limited that may be on any given day. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes I am afraid. Sometimes I need the people with whom I am in relationship to watch my face more than listen to my words. Sometimes I need emotional space, a warm hug, and a barf bag. More than anything though, I need what everyone else needs…to be heard, to be valued, and to be loved.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Tess was my first experience of a woman who had inhabited her weirdness, moved into the areas of herself that made her distinct from those around her, and learned how to display them proudly.”
–Alice Seabold, Lucky


“Every girl is a daughter and deserves to be protected; Every woman is a human being and deserves to live in full personhood and freedom; NO structure should be accepted that allows for the domination of any person; NO god should be given authority who does not represent full equality and speak to the actual physical sufferings of the abused; and NO person should be let off the hook for the rescue, comfort, care, and repair of people who have been broken by the injustice, greed, violence, and hatred of sexism.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.”
― Toni Morrison, A Mercy


“My trip to the former Yugoslavia had opened the world for me, and my hunger for the world. In doing so, it undid the contained, safe borders of my existence. Suddenly a woman weeping over her lost son in an image on the front page of The New York Times was no longer a theoretical entity. She was real, a woman I might have met, might have known. I was connected to her. I could no longer divorce myself from her pain, her suffering. Initially this was overwhelming. I had nightmares. I felt restless and wrong in my comforting life in America. Everything seemed absurd and pointless. I came to understand why we block out the pain and atrocities of others. That pain, if we allow it to enter us, makes our lives impossible. It forces us to examine our own values and reality. It insists that we be responsible for others. It thrusts us into the messy world where there are no easy solutions or reasons, only struggles and questions. It creates great fissures in the landscape of our insulated, so-called safe reality. Fissures that, once split open, can never close again. It compels us to act.”
― Eve Ensler


“Please use your liberty to promote ours.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi


“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
― Toni Morrison


“You are your best thing”
― Toni Morrison, Beloved


“stop fixing your bodies and start fixing the world!”
― Eve Ensler


“It seems to me there’s this tyranny that’s not accidental or incidental, to make women feel compelled to look like somebody they’re not. I think the effort is being made to get us to turn our time and attention to this instead of important political issues.”
― Eve Ensler


“When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet.”
― Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues


“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.”
― Toni Morrison


“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
― Toni Morrison, Beloved


“The search for scapegoats is essentially an abnegation of responsibility: it indicates an inability to assess honestly and intelligently the true nature of the problems which lie at the root of social and economic difficulties and a lack of resolve in grappling with them.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear


“Beware
At war
Or at peace,
More people die
Of unenlightened self-interest
Than of any other disease”
― Octavia E. Butler


“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents


“Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”
― Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman


“…find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.

― Eve Ensler, Insecure at Last: Losing it in Our Security-Obsessed World


“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”
― Toni Morrison, Jazz


“I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want. I always say that one has no right to hope without endeavor, so we work to try and bring about the situation that is necessary…”
― Aung San Suu Kyi


“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear


“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
― Toni Morrison, Beloved


“Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back.”
― Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World


“Good is towing the line, being behaved, being quiet, being passive, fitting in, being liked, and great is being messy, having a belly, speaking your mind, standing up for what you believe in, fighting for another paradigm, not letting people talk you out of what you know to be true.”
― Eve Ensler


“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense. (xxvi)”
― Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World


“Not all men (and especially the wisest) share the opinion that it is bad for women to be educated. But it is very true that many foolish men have claimed this because it displeased them that women knew more than they did.”
― Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies


“Today and onwards, I stand proud, for the bridges I’ve climbed, for the battles I’ve won, and for the examples I’ve set, but most importantly, for the person I have become. I like who I am now, finally, at peace with me…”
― Heather James, Things A Mother Should Know: For The World’s Most Important Mum


“Freedom begins the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story and it’s time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself.”
― Bill Moyers


“In reaction against the age-old slogan, “woman is the weaker vessel,” or the still more offensive, “woman is a divine creature,” we have, I think, allowed ourselves to drift into asserting that “a woman is as good as a man,” without always pausing to think what exactly we mean by that. What, I feel, we ought to mean is something so obvious that it is apt to escape attention altogether, viz: (…) that a woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of an individual. What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human?


“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman


“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi
(From a speech read on video on August 31, 1995 before the NGO Forum on Women, Beijing, China)”


“Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own


“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitments, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into it’s expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst it’s perils.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


“Someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and reality: the female human being.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


“My mother gave me more than an education. She gave me a voice.”
~Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, spoken at #tedxwomen


“The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with any of the superstitions of the Christian religion.”
–Elizabeth Cady Stanton


“The true notion of freedom is not found externally, though important. The true notion of freedom is when within oneself they are not controlled by the ideas of the other, the commands of the other, the life of the other. It is both internal and external freedom, that are required, not one or the other.”
— Rafael Reyes


“If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem”
— Toni Morrison


“Women bleed and do not die. Let us each find power in our blood and say the things that can only be spoken by the ultimate force of a bloody woman.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I want to be clear young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Covergirl, I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned through my journey that perfection is the often the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes other uncomfortable.”
~Janelle Monáe


“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”
~ First Lady Michelle Obama


“The heart speaks; and when we listen, we hear each other and ourselves with a purpose that defies both the odds and the obstacles in ways that reconstruct a new whole out of what once was broken.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“We move but our words stand
become responsible
for more than we intended
and this is verbal privilege”
― Adrienne Rich


“The feminist challenge was sweeping: it embraced education and occupation, together with legal, political, and social status. It even dared broach the subject of equality in personal, and especially
matrimonial, relationships.”
― Cynthia Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian Constuction of Womanhood


“Truthfulness, honor, is not something which springs ablaze of itself; it has to be created between people. […] It isn’t that to have an honorable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you. It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.”
― Adrienne Rich


“I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life.”
― Melody Beattie


“People have the right to call themselves whatever they like. That doesn’t bother me. It’s other people doing the calling that bothers me.”
― Octavia E. Butler


“Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for woman more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.”
― Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978


“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.”
― Adrienne Rich


“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”
― Adrienne Rich


“That’s why I want to speak to you now.
To say: no person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors. (I make up this strange, angry packet for you, threaded with love.)
I think you thought there was no such place for you, and perhaps there was none then, and perhaps there is none now; but we will have to make it, we who want an end to suffering, who want to change the laws of history, if we are not to give ourselves away.”
― Adrienne Rich


“A society without the authentic and vibrant influence of women is a society that is not fully alive. A culture lacking the vital creativity of women is disadvantaged. Without the bearing of women on world affairs, humanity’s already tenuous grip on peace is made even less sure. When women are barred, whether by law, cultural prejudice, or political ideology, from developing their full potential and offering their unique gifts, it is an injustice to women themselves and to humanity as a whole.”
― Stephen Catanzarite


“If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”
~Paul Wellstone


“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” ― Frederick Douglass


“So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”
― Malcolm X, The Autobiography Of Malcolm X


“Action expresses priorities.”
― Mahatma Gandhi


“One of my favorite fantasies is that next Sunday not one single woman, in any country of the world, will go to church. If women simply stop giving our time and energy to the institutions that oppress, they could cease to be.”
– Sonia Johnson


“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi
(From a speech read on video on August 31, 1995 before the NGO Forum on Women, Beijing, China)”


“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
― Jane Austen


“I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”
― Coco Chanel


“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon


“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


“Sometimes, people call my way of speaking ranting. Why are you always ranting and screaming, they ask. But here’s the thing…the reason why I rant is because I am a voice for many women that cannot speak out to heads of state, UN officials, and those that influence systems of oppression. And so I rant. And I will not stop ranting until my mission of equality of all girls is achieved.”
― Leymah Gbowee


“Because of the plethora of asshole men, I came to find myself searching for a non-asshole. How sad is that! Alas, I find the phenomenon is quite common: OK, he doesn’t listen to me, but he doesn’t hit me when he gets mad/ No, I’m not attracted to him, but he listens to me/ I sure as hell don’t enjoy his company, but he splits the housework … Fuck that shit. I want—no, I demand—an artistic, spiritual, playful, intelligent, sensitive, drop-dead gorgeous man. On a motorcycle. So eat me.”
–Loolwa Khazzoom, Assets & Liabilities


“I’m glad that the subject is coming up again. I remember doing interviews, and people would ask, as if it was a joke, ‘So you mean you are a feminist?’ As though feminism couldn’t be discussed unless we were making fun of it.
I don’t want to deny my femininity. But would I want to be a stay-at-home mother? No. On the other hand, you should be allowed to do that, as should men, without being sneered at.
[Oct 2012 Vogue interview]”
― Keira Knightley


“[M]y genuine appreciation for “I don’t know” runs deeper than the obvious. For me, these three little words signify hope and a process of becoming that is both interminable and fluid. It also represents a fundamental element of what feminism means to me. Patriarchy thrives because of its answers. Religion thrives because of its answers. But women begin to thrive when they begin to question. When a woman says ‘I don’t know’ with the depth of feeling and knowing that her reality may indeed be askew from the privileged norm, those three little words become power. In other words, to question the answers is a signifier of life.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“[A] life without freedom to choose is not worth having.”
― Alasdair Gray


“Why do I write? I write because I have to, because it is all I know, because it is my truth, because I am compelled, because I am driven to make the world acknowledge that women like me exist, and we possess a dangerous wisdom.”
― Pat Califia


“[J]ust as my father had silenced my mother during their arguments to avoid hearing her gripes, men silenced feminists by belittling them in order to dodge hearing the truth about who we are.”
― Byron Hurt


“The militant girl, in adopting new patterns of conduct, could not be judged by traditional standards. Old values, sterile and infantile phobias disappeared.”
― Frantz Fanon


“Once the veil is lifted, once relations between the sexes are seen as power relations, it becomes impossible to see as simply unintended, well-intentioned, or innocent the actions through which women are told every day what is expected and when they have crossed some line.”
― Catharine A. MacKinnon


“My sexuality is not an inferior trait that needs to be chaperoned by emotionalism or morality.”
― Alice Bag


“Freedom is not an abstraction, nor is a little of it enough. A little more is not enough either. Having less, being less, impoverished in freedom and rights, women then invariably have less self-respect: less self-respect than any human being needs to live a brave and honest life.”
― Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse


“When I say that we must establish values which originate in sisterhood, I mean to say that we must not accept, even for a moment, male notions of what non-violence is. These notions have never condemned the systematic violence against us. The men who hold these notions have never renounced the male behaviours, privileges, values and conceits which are in and of themselves acts of violence against us.”
― Andrea Dworkin


“A feminist is a person who answers ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Are women human?’
Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men….It’s about justice, fairness, and access to the broad range of human experience. It’s about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It’s about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others: fetuses, children, the ‘family,’ men.”
~Katha Pollitt


“Consent to petting isn’t consent to penetration.”
― Kate McGuinness


“The sign of a true woman is learning to listen to her own voice even when society does its best to drown it out.”
― Eve Marie Mont


“It is interesting to me how many people say “you should be who you are” and then denigrate the people who actually follow the advice.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“How much of a person’s sexual preference is required for us to know before we can move on to meaningful things such as empathy, intellect, and decency of character? Why do we assign both benefit and power to knowing where someone’s last orgasm came from?”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“If Jesus himself, or Mohammed, or Buddha spoke to me personally and said that women are inferior to men, I would still reject that as false dogma because I know with every ounce of my being that this is not true.”
― Alice Bag


“Femininity itself has become a brand, a narrow and shrinking formula of commoditised identity which can be sold back to women who have become alienated from their own power as living, loving, laboring beings.”
― Laurie Penny, Meat Market


“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”
― bell hooks


“My being a feminist is my being a woman who has experienced, first hand, the injustices of gender. Although the letter writer did not explicitly say that feminism is not needed, he did severely underestimate the need for it, that we can somehow move “beyond” this “woman’s issue.”I do not need to be told by a man that my gender is actually quite irrelevant to a successful society or social contract as I have lived the opposite. I have both a Ph.D. and an ample bosom. Guess which one gets more “play.” You just try and tell me that we live in a society that values me for my mind and abilities and I will step outside in a halter top and relate to you in detail the reality of my experiences in the world.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.”
― Monique Duval


“Girls learn to be nice rather than honest.”
~Mary Bray Pipher


“Do you know they found land mines in woman’s souls.”
― Andrea Gibson


“Men make the moral code and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs.”
― Emmeline Pankhurst, My Own Story


“Men have constructed female sexuality and in so doing have annihilated the chance for sexual intelligence in women. Sexual intelligence cannot live in the shallow, predestined sexuality men have counterfeited for women.”
~Andrea Dworkin


“We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt


“Direct action meant that the goal of any and all of these activities was to provide ways for people to get in touch with their own powers and capacities, to take back the power of naming themselves and their lives. [...] Knowledge does not precede experience, it flows from it [...] People learn how to be free only by exercising freedom [...]”
― Martha Ackelsberg, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women


“I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. [...] And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. [...] Where is the ebullient infinite woman who [...] hasn’t been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a …divine composure) [who feeling a desire] stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn’t thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that SHE RESISTS DEATH, that SHE MAKES TROUBLE.”
~Hélène Cixous


“In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes fro unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.”
― Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity


“Women need to know that they can reject the powerful’s definition of their reality — that they can do so even if they are poor, exploited, or trapped in oppressive circumstances. They need to know that the exercise of this basic personal power is an act of resistance and strength. Many poor and exploited women, especially non-white women, would have been unable to develop positive self-concepts if they had not exercised their power to reject the powerful’s definition of their reality.”
― bell hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center


“Women, even the most oppressed among us, do exercise power. These powers can be used to advance feminist struggle. Forms of power held by exploited and oppressed groups are described in Elizabeth Janeway’s important work Powers of the Weak. One of the most significant forms of power held by the weak is ‘the refusal to accept the definition of oneself that is put forward by the powerful’. Janeway calls this the ‘ordered use of the power to disbelieve'”.
― bell hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center


“Feminism is your pain reflected in another woman’s voice, and realizing there is nothing wrong with you, and nothing wrong with her, but something wrong with the world that makes you think that way.”
― Shelby Knox


“No existe tiranía peor que la ejercida a la sombra de las leyes y con apariencias de justicia.”
~ (Montesquieu)

“There is no worse tyranny than that exercised in the shadow of the law and with the appearance of justice.”


“Prostitution IS a Feminist issue and it is NOT an empowered feminist choice. It is not able to be a ‘true’ choice for women as there can be no respect for woman as human being – and therefore no meaningful consent to this activity – as long as women are viewed and classed as a commodity to be bought and sold. THERE IS NO FEMALE EMPOWERMENT IN THE SEX TRADE. It is the trafficking of human beings specifically for the purposes of male domination and female enslavement. SAY NO TO PAID RAPE.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I don’t understand all the nuances of the women’s movement. But I do understand that there are feminists who want to challenge the dominant paradigm, not only of patriarchy, but of where the original wealth came from and the relationship of that wealth to other peoples and the earth. That is the only way that I think you can really get to the depth of the problem.”
― Winona LaDuke


“I am a feminist because I dislike everything that feminism implies. I desire an end to the whole business, the demands for equality, the suggestion of sex warfare, the very name feminist. I want to be about the work in which my real interests like, the writing of novels and so forth. But while inequality exists, while injustice is done and opportunity denied to the great majority of women, I shall have to be a feminist. And I shan’t be happy till I get . . . a society in which there is no distinction of persons either male or female, but a supreme regard for the importance of the human being.”
― Winifred Holtby


“What makes for a livable world is no idle question. It is not merely a question for philosophers. It is posed in various idioms all the time by people in various walks of life. If that makes them all philosophers, then that is a conclusion I am happy to embrace. It becomes a question for ethics, I think, not only when we ask the personal question, what makes my own life bearable, but when we ask, from a position of power, and from the point of view of distributive justice, what makes, or ought to make, the lives of others bearable?”
― Judith Butler


“Feminist effort to end patriarchal domination should be of primary concern precisely because it insists on the eradication of exploitation and oppression in the family context and in all other intimate relationships. It is that political movement which most radically addresses the person – the personal – citing the need for the transformation of self, of relationships, so that we might be better able to act in a revolutionary manner, challenging and resisting domination, transforming the world outside the self.”
― bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black


“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don’t have no effect on you–
But I’m gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”
― Langston Hughes, Selected Poems


“Children need to be raised in loving environments. Whenever domination is present love is lacking. Loving parents, be they single or coupled, gay or straight, headed by females or males, are more likely to raise healthy, happy children with sound self-esteem. In future feminist movement we need to work harder to show parents the ways ending sexism positively changes family life. Feminist movement is pro-family. Ending patriarchal domination of children, by men or women, is the only way to make the family a place where children can be safe, where they can be free, where they can know love”
― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics


“Each of us carries around those growing up places, the institutions, a sort of backdrop, a stage set. So often we act out the present against the backdrop of the past, within a frame of perception that is so familiar, so safe that is is terrifying to risk changing it even when we know our perceptions are distorted, limited, constricted by that old view.”
― Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity


“Cosmetic surgery processes the bodies of woman-made women, who make up the vast majority of its patient pool, into man-made women.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“What little girls learn is not the desire for the other, but the desire to be desired. Girls learn to watch their sex along with the boys; that takes up the space that should be devoted to finding out about what they are wanting, and reading and writing about it, seeking it and getting it. Sex is held hostage by beauty and its ransom terms are engraved in girls’ minds early and deeply [...] “Women come to confuse sexual looking with being looked at sexually (“Clairol…it’s the look you want”); many confuse sexually feeling with being sexually felt (“Gillette razors…the way a woman wants to feel”); many confuse desiring with being desirable [...] Women say that when they lost weight they “feel sexier” but the nerve endings in the clitoris and nipples don’t multiply with weight loss. Women tell me they’re jealous of the men who get so much pleasure out of the female body that they imagine being inside the male body that is inside their own so that they can vicariously experience desire.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.”
— Anaïs Nin


“It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke


“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
~Audrey Hepburn


“What civilization has done to women’s bodies is no different than what it’s done to the earth, to children, to the sick, to the proletariat; in short, to everything that isn’t supposed to “talk,” and in general to whatever the knowledge-powers of government and management don’t want to hear, which is thus relegated to exclusion from all recognized activity, relegated to the role of a witness.”
― Tiqqun


“I would suggest that a feminism which does not also seek to alter the exploitation of poorer women is not feminism at all, but is simply a variant for of upper-class politics & self-privileging.”
― Jack D. Forbes


“Feminism, when it truly achieves it’s goals, will crack through the most basic structures of our society.”
― Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution


“A society without the authentic and vibrant influence of women is a society that is not fully alive. A culture lacking the vital creativity of women is disadvantaged. Without the bearing of women on world affairs, humanity’s already tenuous grip on peace is made even less sure. When women are barred, whether by law, cultural prejudice, or political ideology, from developing their full potential and offering their unique gifts, it is an injustice to women themselves and to humanity as a whole.”
― Stephen Catanzarite


“When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you’re always protecting me… I won’t be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can’t I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? A woman’s place!”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View


“Feminism is itself a challenge. Feminism is a challenge to the way things are in the world. It is by definition an oppositional movement, because it’s trying to accomplish something. I’ve never felt like feminism was a consciousness raising effort in isolation. Everything about feminism is about getting something in the world to get better for women, and to get the world to be less stupid on gender bifurcation terms.”
~Rachel Maddow


“To live in a culture in which women are routinely naked where men aren’t is to learn inequality in little ways all day long. So even if we agree that sexual imagery is in fact a language, it is clearly one that is already heavily edited to protect men’s sexual–and hence social–confidence while undermining that of women.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“It’s about realizing, painfully, you’ve kept that voice inside yourself, locked away from even yourself. And you step back and see that your jailer has changed faces. You realize you’ve become your own jailer.”
– Tori Amos


“What feminism means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”
― Fahmida Riaz


“[T]he hope I have for women: that we can start to see ourselves-and encourage men to see us-as more than just the sum of our sexual parts: not as virgins or whores, as mothers or girlfriends, or as existing only in relation to men, but as people with independent desires, hopes and abilities. But I know that this can’t happen as long as American culture continues to inundate us with gender-role messages that place everyone-men and women-in an unnatural hierarchical order that’s impossible to maintain without strife. For women to move forward, and for men to break free, we need to overcome the masculinity status quo-together.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”
― Rollo May


“The emerging woman … will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied…strength and beauty must go together.”
― Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl


“I like people who shake other people up and make them feel uncomfortable.”
― Jim Morrison, Eyes: Poetry, 1967-1971


“I’m going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped[...] I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them — the perpetrators and the victims — in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.”
― Andrea Dworkin


“For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; that we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious–or whatever we please [...]”
― Naomi Wolf


“Try this for your mantra today: ‘Tell me I can’t. Tell me it will never work. Explain how I just don’t see things clearly and point out each instance/area of my lack.
And then watch me. You won’t be the first person to be amazed.'”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
― bell hooks


“Today I am thinking about all the ways I am pulled in different directions as a single woman…and a feminist…and a mother…and an activist. When you look at the requirements of each, as set forth in some kind of stereotypical way, they seem to cancel each other out. So how is it we (women) are able to live within these deep contradictions?
I’m not big on having any answers, but what feels important today is to tell you that I both live and appreciate the struggle, internal and otherwise, and I appreciate how hard it is to get through the day. You aren’t alone and I am constantly amazed at the tenacity, strength, fortitude, and beauty of women everywhere.
The next time you look in the mirror, know that you are made up of pure awesomeness — and then take a deep breath and know you are, in fact, appreciated.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“I need feminism because I need a way to connect in truth and honesty with other women in order to continue to understand myself and find ways to help alleviate the burdens, pain, and abuse of other women that are never easily seen.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“We must recognize that sexual violence has been the greatest silence of wars.”
~Luz Méndez.


“When women are given leadership positions, when they claim their true leadership positions, everyone rises: women rise, children rise, and men rise. Men become better men when women are leading the way.”
~ANU BHAGWATI


“We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.”
― Jane Goodall


“I did not want my tombstone to read, ‘She kept a really clean house.”
―Dorothy Ann Willis Richards was an American politician and the 45th Governor of Texas.


“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”
― Toni Morrison


“Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“‘Feeling like a failure’ [points] toward an attitude of becoming. Specifically, it [is] an expression of ‘I want to give more, be more, and say more’ in an attempt to be more real to myself. It [is] an ultimate expression of hope as an acknowledgement of human potential through connection.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“The sign of a true woman is learning to listen to her own voice even when society does its best to drown it out.”
― Eve Marie Mont


“…if you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that woman are inferior, you haven’t made any progress.”
― Ariel Levy


“Even if you are a woman who achieves the ultimate and becomes like a man, you will still always be like a woman. And as long as womanhood is thought of as something to escape from, something less than manhood, you will be thought less of, too. [I]f you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that woman are inferior, you haven’t made any progress.”
― Ariel Levy


“Here’s a tip. If you touch a girl, even as joke, and she pushes you off, leave . . . her . . . alone. Don’t touch her. Anywhere! Just stop.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why


“Women need to know that they can reject the powerful’s definition of their reality — that they can do so even if they are poor, exploited, or trapped in oppressive circumstances. They need to know that the exercise of this basic personal power is an act of resistance and strength. Many poor and exploited women, especially non-white women, would have been unable to develop positive self-concepts if they had not exercised their power to reject the powerful’s definition of their reality.”
― bell hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center


“Feminism is your pain reflected in another woman’s voice, and realizing there is nothing wrong with you, and nothing wrong with her, but something wrong with the world that makes you think that way.”
― Shelby Knox


“Children need to be raised in loving environments. Whenever domination is present love is lacking. Loving parents, be they single or coupled, gay or straight, headed by females or males, are more likely to raise healthy, happy children with sound self-esteem. In future feminist movement we need to work harder to show parents the ways ending sexism positively changes family life. Feminist movement is pro-family. Ending patriarchal domination of children, by men or women, is the only way to make the family a place where children can be safe, where they can be free, where they can know love”
― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics


“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
~Audrey Hepburn


“To live in a culture in which women are routinely naked where men aren’t is to learn inequality in little ways all day long. So even if we agree that sexual imagery is in fact a language, it is clearly one that is already heavily edited to protect men’s sexual–and hence social–confidence while undermining that of women.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“Feminism represents, for me, the reality of the mattering of women. I believe that feminism is not dead, that it is needed, and that it has the potential to make the world a more humane place for everyone. I also believe, however, that it needs to be articulated in fresh ways that move beyond simple inclusivity, and embrace what it means for every woman to matter for herself in a strong sense.”
~Leanne Dedrick


“What feminism means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”
― Fahmida Riaz


“She wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“Sure, you can think forever about one decision or another, but really it is way more life affirming to just do stuff and enjoy what you are doing, while you are doing it. Nothing needs to be that complicated. Why do we spend so much time making it that way? Whose purpose does it serve to make sure that everyone is worried, stifled, and always second guessing themselves? That, my friends, is the real question of life. Who is benefitting from your angst?”
~ Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you’re locked up.”
– Tori Amos


“Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.”
― Louise Bernikow


“I am a Woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal Woman,
that’s me.”
― Maya Angelou


“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
— Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre


“If your husband is cheating on you, it doesn’t mean that you need to get prettier — it means he’s a scumbag.”
― Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters


“For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; that we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious–or whatever we please [...]”
― Naomi Wolf


“We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.”
― Jane Goodall


“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
― Anais Nin


“She wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women


“Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.”
― Gloria Steinem


“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you…it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind.”
~Adrienne Rich


“The dogma of woman’s complete historical subjection to men must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created.”
~Mary Ritter Beard


“My answer to the proposed question of ‘What do you stand for?’ was, “Women.” The ‘why’ is because I believe that there exists a structure of inequality that pervades every detail of modern society. I also believe that this inequality is bound by, and subject to, certain patriarchal religious myths which have been situated as foundational to understanding the self, the ‘other,’ government, god, children, animals, and the planet, serving to create a hierarchy of wisdom and knowing legitimated through heteronormative masculine self interest.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Being a feminist means seeing the world whole instead of half; it shouldn’t need a name. And someday it won’t.”
~Gloria Steinem


“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.”
-Althea Gibson


“We women have the same capacity and potential for power to allow us to be participants in our own destiny.”
~ Rafaela vos Obeso


“To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. That’s political, in its most profound way.”
~June Jordan


“Anger is not bad. Anger can be a very positive thing, the thing that moves us beyond the acceptance of evil.”
~ Joan Chittister


“There is something extremely powerful about a woman who speaks. It is no wonder that extreme measures are taken to silence ‘her’ voice. Continue to speak and continue to be powerful. Each voice makes a difference.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly posses all you have been and done…you are fierce with reality.”
~Florida Scott-Maxwell


“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; or we, the male citizens; but we the whole people who formed the Union.”
~Susan .B. Anthony


“Women’s empowerment is intertwined with respect for human rights.”
~Mahnaz Afkhami


“Women, I believe, have far greater potential to affect social change if we work together and support each other. Attacking other women is the real threat to feminism.”
~Meghan Lewis, writer from the UK


“Names matter. People matter. Feelings matter. Importantly, what might matter most is the feelings behind the names that we give to the people in our lives. Try and give the gift of empty space – of no agenda, of no pressure, of no expectation of greatness, of no condemnation, of no judgement, of no hatred, of no oppression. Allow the people in your life to live freely and to flourish in their empty space of becoming. Life is hard. We all struggle and we all get broken. Be the place where your people feel good, feel safe, know that with you is where they want to be, and where they know they are loved.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
~Audre Lorde


“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
~Helen Keller


“When a system of oppression has become institutionalized it is almost unnecessary for individuals to be oppressive.”
~Florynce Kennedy


“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
― Nelson Mandela


“This is not just something we care about for a year or two or three. We’re in it for life – and for our lives.”
~Gloria Steinem


“Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought they might grow up & become chief.”
– Wilma Mankiller


“Language is power, life, and the instrument of domination and liberation.”
-Angela Carter


“Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.”
― James Baldwin


“You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way.”
~Lena Horne


“In the end anti-black, anti-female, & all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing — anti-humanism.”
-Shirley Chisholm


“Action is the antidote to despair.”
–Joan Baez


“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.”
-Emma Goldman

“It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.”
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg


“Every woman should regard herself a philosopher and engage in the contribution of knowledge, wisdom, and social agenda of her community.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Above all, whatever you do, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
—Nora Ephron (1941-2012) in an address to graduates of Wellesley College


“Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time


“What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?”
― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man


“I understand that it has been believed that philosophy must require purity, but I do not agree. There is nothing about life that it simple and pure and to insist that our thinking be somehow detached from the realities of the chaos and complexities of life is to inflict a special kind of suffering on humanity — women and other non-privileged groups often bear the brunt of this. I think that in order to maintain harmony of mind, spirit (emotions), and body, there must be an acknowledgment that ‘purity’ is a philosophical and religious construct that serves to create a schism used for purposes of manipulation and control.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Woman desires freedom in order to become what she has the innate power of becoming. She is a living growing organism as much as is a tree, and like that tree, she needs room and freedom. A tree planted close beside a stone wall, cannot grow upon the side next to the wall. Sunshine and air may meet it upon the opposite side, its branches may put forth in one direction, but the stone wall prevents its becoming a tree of symmetrical proportions.”
~Matilda Joslyn Gage


“If a society permits one portion of its citizenry to be menaced or destroyed, then, very soon, no one in that society is safe [...] But we are unbelievably ignorant concerning what goes on in our country–to say nothing of what goes on in the rest of the world–and appear to have become too timid to question what we are told. Our failure to trust one another deeply enough to be able to talk to one another has become so great that people with these questions in their hearts do not speak them; our opulence is so pervasive that people who are afraid to lose whatever they think they have persuade themselves of the truth of a lie, and help disseminate it [...]”
~James Baldwin


“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution – Revolution is but thought carried into action. Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority, and not from the mass.”
― Emma Goldman


“The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardor and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced [humanity] and have enriched the world.”
― Emma Goldman


“Know that you are woman. That you are powerful. That you are worth it. That you have a future. That you are needed. That you are wanted. That we have not given up on you and we will not leave you behind.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“In too many instances, the march to globalization has also meant the marginalization of women and girls. And that must change.”
~Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


“Very few people really see things unless they’ve had someone in early life who made them look at things. And name them too. But the looking is primary, the focus.”
~Denise Levertov


“And certainly there are very real differences between us, of race, sex, age, sexuality, class, vision. But it is not the differences between us that tear us apart, destroying the commonalities we share. Rather, it is our refusal to examine the distortions which arise from their misnaming, and from the illegitimate usage of those differences which can be made when we do not claim them nor define them for ourselves…Make no mistake; you will be paid well not to feel, not to scrutinize the function of your differences and their meaning….You will be paid in insularity, in poisonous creature comforts, false securities, in the spurious belief that the midnight knock will always be upon somebody else’s door. BUT THERE IS NO SEPARATE SURVIVAL.”
~Audre Lorde


“In a profit economy which needs groups of outsiders as surplus people, we are programmed to respond to difference in one of three ways: to ignore it by denying the testament of our own senses, ‘Oh, I never noticed.’ Or, if that is not possible, then we try to neutralize it in one of two ways. If the difference has been defined for us in our introductory courses as good, meaningful, useful in preserving the status quo, in perpetuating the myth of sameness, then we try to copy it. If the difference is defined as bad, that is revolutionary or threatening, then we try to destroy it. But we have few patterns for relating across difference as equal. And unclaimed, our differences are used against us in the service of separation and confusion, for we view them only in opposition to each other, dominant/subordinate, good/bad, superior/inferior. And of course, so long as the existence of human difference means one must be inferior, the recognition of those differences will be fraught with guilt and danger…”
~Audre Lorde


“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
~Ursula LeGuin


“Last week I asked a number of you if you felt different in any way and each one of you said very quickly and in a similar tone, ‘Oh no, of course not, I don’t consider myself different form anybody else.’ I think it is not by accident that each of you heard my question as ‘Are you better than…’
…It is within our differences that we are both most powerful and most vulnerable, and some of the most difficult tasks of our lives are the claiming of differences and learning to use those differences for bridges rather than as barriers between us.”
~Audre Lorde’s “Difference and Survival: An Address to Hunter College


“[M]y genuine appreciation for “I don’t know” runs deeper than the obvious. For me, these three little words signify hope and a process of becoming that is both interminable and fluid. It also represents a fundamental element of what feminism means to me. Patriarchy thrives because of its answers. Religion thrives because of its answers. But women begin to thrive when they begin to question. When a woman says ‘I don’t know’ with the depth of feeling and knowing that her reality may indeed be askew from the privileged norm, those three little words become power. In other words, to question the answers is a signifier of life.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Where… do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home– so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Such are places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.”
― Audre Lorde


“Revolution begins with the self, in the self.”
~Toni Cade Bambara


“I really don’t advise a woman who wants to have things her own way to get married”
― Virginia Woolf


“..the struggle to end sexist oppression that focuses on destroying the cultural basis for such domination strengthens other liberation struggles. Individuals who fight for the eradication of sexism without struggles to end racism or classism undermine their own efforts. Individuals who fight for the eradication of racism or classism while supporting sexist oppression are helping to maintain the cultural basis of all forms of group oppression.”
―bell hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center


“Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.”
~Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex


“Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.”
― Khalil Gibran


“Feminist education — the feminist classroom — is and should be a place where there is a sense of struggle, where there is visible acknowledgment of the union of theory and practice, where we work together as teachers and students to overcome the estrangement and alienation that have become so much the norm in the contemporary university.”
― bell hooks


“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.”
~bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope


“I do not understand how any voter can be so full of arrogant hatred that he/she would publicly voice hostility against two souls who recognize a spark of love in each other. Is it really the case that misery so desperately needs to decimate everything in its path that it will stop at nothing to ruin the lives of every living being? How is it that to live in a country which identifies so heavily as religious, is to live among those who would rather kill you, incarcerate you, ostracize you, marginalize you, and condemn you to hell, than educate you, feed you, provide you medical care, protect you, and love you. The dissonance of American life is an ultimate example of the pervasive narcissism of a systematically broken people.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Feminism should stand in solidarity with everyone who is oppressed and work tirelessly so that everyone may be free to become who they really are, feel and express love openly and honestly, and live according to their full potential. No exceptions, no excuses.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Sometimes I feel like wearing a sign that says, “Please stop hurting me.” It seems to me that if lots of people wore these signs, maybe individual people would stop acting like such monstrous assholes with respect to public policy and social discourse. It is easy to abuse when you stop seeing people as hurting and only as ‘other.’ Everyone is hurting, I only wish as a society we were more able to express it honestly.”
~Leanne Dedrick, Feminist Philosopher


“Every time you meet a situation you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it, you find that forever after you are freer than you were before.”
―Eleanor Roosevelt


“There are women who make things better… simply by showing up. There are women who make things happen. There are women who make their way. There are women who make a difference. And women who make us smile. There are women of wit and wisdom who- through strength and courage- make it through. There are women who change the world everyday… Women like you.”
~Ashley Rice


“What I know in life runs the gamut of the “feminist experience.” The true meaning of feminism is this: to use your strong womanly image to gain strong results in society.”
~Pamela Anderson


“I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society — because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not. ”
~bell hooks


“Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and practice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”
~bell hooks


“Without community, there is no liberation.”
―Audre Lorde


“Tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.”
―Audre Lorde


“All efforts at self-transformation challenge us to engage in on-going, critical self-examination and reflection about feminist practice, and about how we live in the world. This individual commitment, when coupled with engagement in collective discussion, provides a space for critical feedback which strengthens our efforts to change and make ourselves anew.”
―bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black


“We are bound first to inform ourselves concerning so great a matter as the revolt of millions of people- what they are struggling for, what they are struggling against, and how the struggle stands- from day to day…as best you can; and second, to spread this knowledge among others, and endeavor to do what little you can to awaken the consciousness and sympathy of others.”
~Voltairine de Cleyre, The Voltairine de Cleyre Reader


“If this is the price to be paid for an idea, then let us pay. There is no need of being troubled about it, afraid, or ashamed. This is the time to boldly say, “Yes, I believe in the displacement of this system of injustice by a just one; I believe in the end of starvation, exposure, and the crimes caused by them; I believe in the human soul regnant over all laws which man has made or will make; I believe there is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another; I believe in the total disintegration and dissolution of the principle and practice of authority; I am an Anarchist, and if for this you condemn me, I stand ready to receive your condemnation.”
― Voltairine de Cleyre, Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre-Anarchist, Feminist, Genius


“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. It battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working condition…for safety on the street…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.
If someone says, ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist,’ I ask, ‘Why, what’s your problem?’”
~Dale Spender


“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this “In order to love you, I must make you something else”. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.”
~bell hooks


“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
― Audre Lorde


“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”
~Audre Lorde


“No longer will we (women) agree to protect the hearth at the price of extinguishing the fire within ourselves.”
~Celia Gilbert


“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
―Virginia Woolf


“Insofar as men gain time, ease, independence, or liberty from women’s domestic labors, they lack incentive to change.”
~Linda P. Rouse


“For women especially, virginity has become the easy answer- the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a “good” (i.e. “moral) girl and therefore worthy of praise.”
~Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women


“It’s about realizing, painfully, you’ve kept that voice inside yourself, locked away from even yourself. And you step back and see that your jailer has changed faces. You realize you’ve become your own jailer.”
-Tori Amos


“I find it necessary to record in my poetry the terror women and children pose, the tyranny with which men rule, and religion’s role in this ancient art of tyranny over women’s children and women’s truth.”
—Bernice Zamora, “Silence at Bay”


“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”
~Caitlin Moran, How To Be A Woman


“I think it’s very important for everyone in America to realize right now the state of our country, not just on this issue but on a lot of issues, that it is time to get active again. People have just sat back and just sort of said, oh, let somebody else do it for a long time, and we’re seeing what’s happening to the country, even freedom of speech. It’s not going well. So I think this is a real opportunity for people to see, yes, if you do get out and you do get active, there are other people there. You just have to seek them out.”
—Mary Steenburgen


“We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.”
—Susan B. Anthony, Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876


“Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke . . . She will need her sisterhood.”
~Gloria Steinem


“To be a strong woman, to be a fierce woman, to be a true woman, to be a leader, to be truly powerful, you have to get to a place where you can tolerate people not liking you. And know that when you actually do that, you have to fall back on your own moral imperative in your own moral trunk and say, ‘I don’t care, this is what I believe. This is who I am.’”
-Eve Ensler


“A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.”
– Michele Le Doeuff


“It’s important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It’s the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It’s the way we talk about and treat one another. It’s who makes the money and who makes the compromises and who makes the dinner. It’s a state of mind. It’s the way we live now.”
-Anna Quindlen


“Fame is fun, money is useful, celebrity can be exciting, but finally life is about optimal well-being and how we achieve that in dominator culture, in a greedy culture, in a culture that uses so much of the world’s resources. How do men and women, boys and girls, live lives of compassion, justice and love? And I think that’s the visionary challenge for feminism and all other progressive movements for social change.”
~bell hooks


“There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.”
~Florynce Kennedy


“We’ve got a generation now who were born with semi-equality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.”
-Erma Bombeck


“The universal social pressure upon women to be all alike, and do all the same things, and to be content with identical restrictions, has resulted not only in terrible suffering in the lives of exceptional women, but also in the loss of unmeasured feminine values in special gifts. The Drama of the Woman of Genius has too often been a tragedy of misshapen and perverted power.”
-Anna Garlin Spencer


“Have you ever committed an indecent acts with women?
Yes, many. I am guilty of allowing suicidal women to die before my eyes or in my ears or under my hands because I thought I could do nothing, I am guilty of leaving a prostitute who held a knife to my friend’s throat to keep us from leaving, because we would not sleep with her, we thought she was old and fat and ugly; I am guilty of not loving her who needed me; I regret all women I have not slept with or comforted, who pulled themselves away from me for lack of something I had not the courage to fight for, for us, our life, our planet, our city, our meat and potatoes, our love. These are indecent acts, lacking courage, lacking a certain fire behind the eyes, which is the symbol, the raised fist, the sharing of resources, the resistance that tells death he will starve for the lack of the fat of us, our extra. Yes I have committed acts of indecency with women and most of them were acts of omission. I regret them bitterly.”
~Judy Grahn “Woman is talking to Death”


“What you will do matters. All you need is to do it.”
~Judy Grahn


“How shall we ever make the world intelligent of our movement? I do not think that the answer lies in trying to render feminism easy, popular, and instantly gratifying. To conjure with the passive culture and adapt to its rules is to degrade and deny the fullness of our meaning and intention.”
~ADRIENNE RICH, On Lies, Secrets, and Silences


“If you say, I’m for equal pay, that’s a reform. But if you say. I’m a feminist, that’s a transformation of society.”
~Gloria Steinem


“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
―bell hooks


“Usually, when people talk about the ‘strength’ of black women…they ignore the reality that to be strong in the face of oppression is not the same as overcoming oppression, that endurance is not to be confused with transformation.”
―bell hooks


“Don’t let the hand you hold hold you down.”
~Julia de Burgos, El Mar Y Tu


“If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.”
―bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics


“I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don’t respect.”
~Sandra Cisneros


“Feminist consciousness-raising has not significantly pushed women in the direction of revolutionary politics. For the most part, it has not helped women understand capitalism–how it works as a system that exploits female labor and its interconnections with sexist oppression. It has not urged women to learn about different political systems like socialism or encouraged women to invent and envision new political systems. It has not attacked materialism and our society’s addiction to overconsumption. It has not shown women how we benefit from the exploitation and oppression of women and men globally or shown us ways to oppose imperialism. Most importantly, it has not continually confronted women with the understanding that feminist movement to end sexist oppression can be successful only if we are committed to revolution, to the establishment of a new social order.”
~bell hooks


“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”
-Adrienne Rich


“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” ~Adrienne Rich


“Lying is done with words, and also with silence”
-Adrienne Rich


“Nihilism is a direct consequence of the helplessness and powerlessness that unrelenting class exploitation and oppression produce in a culture where everyone, no matter their class, is socialized to desire wealth – to define their value, if not the overall meaning of their lives by material status.”
~bell hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters


“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”
― bell hooks


“I leave you love. I leave you hope. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another.” ~Mary McLeod Bethune


“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
~Audre Lorde


“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
-Audre Lorde


“What exactly is success? For me it is to be found not in applause, but in the satisfaction of feeling that one is realizing one’s ideal.”
~Anna Pavlova (1881-1931)


“The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. It is for them to show their gratitude by helping onward the reforms of their own times, by spreading the light of freedom and of truth still wider. The debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future.”
~Abigail Duniway


“We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.”
~Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876


“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me – but they all seem to. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us.”
~Hillary Clinton


“For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.”
~Elizabeth Blackwell


“Women’s empowerment is intertwined with respect for human rights.”
~Mahnaz Afkhami


“One does not have to sleep with, or even touch, someone who has paid for your meal. All those obligations are hereby rendered null and void, and any man who doesn’t think so needs a quick jab in the kidney.” ~Cynthia Heimel, Sex Tips for Girls, 1983


There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.
~Madeleine K. Albright


“Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors.”
~Evelyn Cunningham


“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
~Gloria Steinem


“The attempt by Christian feminists to find examples of a positive portrayal of women in the scriptures is, I believe, fraught with difficulty…One does indeed find examples of women who were ingenious or brave; even of women who may be read as having been skeptical of the values of a male world. But if what one wishes to find is women who may serve as models, who exemplify the values for which feminists stand, I would suggest the outlook to be bleak.”
~Daphne Hampson 1990


“When it comes down to it, that’s what life is all about: showing up for the people you love, again and again, until you can’t show up anymore.”
-Rebecca Walker


“Woman’s development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, Society, the husband, the family, etc., by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free.”
~Emma Goldman 1970


“The happiness as well as the health of future generations will depend in great measure upon the extent to which both men and women can release themselves from the deteriorating conditions of economic exploitation.”
~Suzanne LaFollette 1926


“The core of lesbian feminism is the position that sexism and heterosexism are ‘hopelessly intertwined,’ that the oppression of women and lesbians is the ‘prototype for all other oppressions, since the oppression of women and lesbians crosses boundaries of race, class, and age.’ The lesbian feminist is in a privileged position; over heterosexual feminists, she has the advantage of consistency between theory and practice; over nonpolitical lesbians, she can claim the superior awareness of the revolutionary nature of her sexuality.”
~Shane Phelan 1989


“Feminism allowed me to develop a set of questions by which I could examine a text. What about the women? Who were they? How are they being used by the text? How might they tell their own stories?”
~Lynn Gottlieb 1995


“Our language about divinity is first of all male language; it is selective and partial. The images we use to describe God, the qualities we attribute to God, draw on male pronouns and experience and convey a sense of power and authority that is clearly male.

This male imagery is comforting and familiar — comforting because familiar — but it is an integral part of a system that consigns women to the margins…imagery for God is a vehicle that suggests what is actually impossible to describe.

To speak of God is to speak of what we most value.”
~Judith Plaskow 1990


“Feminism is a process of coming to affirm ourselves as women/persons — and seeing that affirmation mirrored in religious and social institutions.

Feminism, I believe, aims at the liberation of all women and all people, and is thus not a movement for individual equality, but for the creation of a society that no longer construes difference in terms of superiority and subordination.”
~Judith Plaskow, 1990


“Gender relations are dynamic, not static. They are historically changing ways of obtaining and distributing scarce social resources; during any kind of social change they become sites of political contestation.”
~Sandra Harding 1998


“Feminists need to do something other than ignore power relations or resist them. We need to transform them and to do so, we need a revised and reconstructed theory with several important features.

We need to engage in the historical, political, and theoretical process of constituting ourselves as subjects as well as objects to history.

We must do our work on an epistemological base that indicates that knowledge is possible.

We need a theory of power that recognizes that our practical daily activity contains an understanding of the world.”
~Nancy Hartsock


“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
~bell hooks


“Feminism is for everybody.”
~bell hooks


“So it is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has the chance of coming to his assistance. This obligation being the most obvious of all, it can serve as a model on which to draw up the list of eternal duties toward each human being.”
~Simone Weil 1952


“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
— Wayne Dyer


“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place it leads.”
~Erica Jong


“Woman has been associated in a stereotypical way with both good and evil. As an “angel in the house,” woman been created with natural goodness, an innate allegiance to “a law of kindness.” But this same description extols her as infantile, weak, and mindless — a creature in constant need of male supervision and protection.”
~Nel Noddings 1989


“Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.”
~Andrea Dworkin


“The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt


“Torture is widely recognized as a fundamental violation of human rights. Inequality on the basis of sex is also widely condemned, and sex equality affirmed as a basic human rights value and legal guarantee in many nations and internationally. So why is torture on the basis of sex – for example, in the form of rape, battering, and pornography – not seen as a violation of human rights?

When women are abused, human rights are violated; anything less implicitly assumes women are not human. When torture is sex-based, human rights standards should be recognized as violated, just as much as when the torture is based on anything else.”
~Catharine MacKinnon 2006


“I am suggesting that the women’s movement is more than a group governed by central authority in conflict with other such hierarchical groups…What we are about is the human becoming of that half of the human race that has been excluded from humanity by sexual definition.”
~Mary Daly 1973


“I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I were going to worry about what people were going to say.”
~Ingrid Bergman


“Prostitution is not mutual, pleasurable exchange of the use of bodies, but the unilateral use of a woman’s body by a man in exchange for money. That the institution of prostitution can be presented as a natural extension of a human impulse, and that ‘sex without love’ can be equated with the sale of women’s bodies in the capitalist market, is possible only because an important question is begged: why do men demand that satisfaction of a natural appetite must take the form of public access to women’s bodies in the capitalist market in exchange for money?”
~Carole Pateman 1998


“If there are still so few women philosophers it is also because this discipline, so deeply foreign, if not hostile, to the feminine, is the condensation and crystallization of mechanisms of disqualification that are central to the phenomenon of oppression.”
-Rosi Braidotti


“Patriarchy perpetuates its deception through myth.”
~Mary Daly 1978


“The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, her forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear; is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life.”
~Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1892


“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”
~Sojourner Truth 1851


“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
He has withheld form her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men — both natives and foreigners.
Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master — the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.”
~Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1848


“It seems to me that it is given up to the most atrocious disorder and amongst all the iniquities which are consecrated within it, the most outstanding seems to me the relations of men and women which are established in an unjust and absurd manner. I therefore cannot advise anyone to enter into a marriage, sanctioned by the civil law which continues to support the dependence, inferiority and social nullity of the woman.”
~George Sand 1842


“…in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
~Abigail Adams, 1776