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Inspiring feminist quotes are a big part of my life. Sometimes I use them without even realizing it because what it means to be a woman is to confront a society rigged against you. That's especially the case if you're not a cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, affluent, white woman. But females are strong as hell! We make history happen and we wear bloody shoes. Get to steppin'!
"For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious—or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution." - Naomi Wolf
In a round robin of feminist quotes, this doozy from author Naomi Wolf is bringing A-level competition. Of course, every feminist knows that too often internalized misogyny inspires women to compete against other women, so it's best to think of this more of an exhibition match and we're all the Harlem Globetrotters because women are strong as hell.
Wolf manages to capture the essence of feminism: respect for female agency. While you may disagree with women's choices, you must respect their right to make those choices. And if you don't then we'll all dunk on you at once! Unless you're thinking of doing those weird Victorian beauty trends that were sometimes fatal. DO NOT INFECT YOURSELF WITH TUBERCULOSIS BECAUSE IT'S HIP!
“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” - Audre Lorde
Ka-boom! Audre Lorde has written a lot of inspiring feminist quotes. With this one, Lorde just decimates outdated political models of feminism that lack intersectionality. You should just read "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" right now. You'll get an invaluable education in just three pages!
It's important to recognize our different identities because too often underprivileged groups are expected to perform the emotional labor of educating privileged groups. That's just what it means to have privilege! NO MORE I SAY! Do your own research! Go read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a documentary. Or if you want me to explain things to you then stop tone policing me! I AM ANGRY; I'M GOING TO SOUND ANGRY!
Lorde also said, "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." This, again, is an observation that makes use of an intersectional lens because Lorde is recognizing the many different ways that woman can be disenfranchized. Did you know Lorde wrote books? GO READ THEM INSTEAD OF ASKING ME TO EXPLAIN THINGS!
“Lord, grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.” - Sarah Hagi
This is one of the inspiring feminist quotes that I use whenever I feel remotely nervous. I just look in the mirror and say, “Lord, grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man,” and then I think of someone like President Sex Criminal but not President Sex Criminal. I only think of President Sex Criminal when I imagine him falling down an elevator shaft, breaking both his ankles and slowly starving to death while still conscious of every sensation, including the feeling of rats nipping at his limbs. OH, IS THAT TOO MUCH?! HE'S ALLOWED TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN AND BE OPENLY BIGOTED BUT WHEN I INDULGE A NONSENSE FANTASY TO BLOW OFF STEAM I'M THE BAD ONE?! IS IT BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN?! LORD, GRANT ME THE CONFIDENCE OF A MEDIOCRE WHITE MAN!
“Women’s rights are human rights.” - Hillary Clinton
Sometimes I think of Hillary Clinton and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" just plays in my head. We could have had it all! BUT HER EMAILS; BERNIE WOULD HAVE WON! HILLARY WOULD NOT HAVE MOVED THE AMERICAN EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM AND SHE WOULD NOT LET PUERTO RICANS DIE FROM LACK OF SUPPLIES. I AM SO MAD; I'M STUCK IN CAPS LOCK!
I would cry when I saw Hillary on TV because she had to work so hard for everything and people hated her so much every step of the way. I could feel the misogyny in this country ramp up even more than regular when she was running. It was like a switch was flipped and suddenly the lights were turned on to reveal EVEN MORE HATRED OF WOMEN THAN I IMAGINED!
This is one of those inspiring feminist quotes that's been said by many people. The influential Chilean Jurist Cecilia Medina, for example, published a work called "Women's Rights as Human Rights: Latin American Countries and the Organization of American States (OAS)," in 1985 in which she wrote, "As a logical consequence of the fact that women's rights are human rights, feminism, in theory, is a movement to achieve a democratic society, without which human rights may not be fully enjoyed." Now that's a society I want to be a part of!
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Sometimes I think I get too angry about things but that's only because I've internalized misogynistic values that tell me I ought to be quiet. Then I remember inspiring feminist quotes like this and I speak my mind! And, you know what? If I say the wrong thing that's fine! White men are afforded the right to be wrong all the time but I'm not? I DON'T THINK SO!
"If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." – Margaret Thatcher
Inspiring feminist quotes like these cut to the core of who drives history: women are the backbone of most progressive movements because women are most often the ones who benefit from progress. Meanwhile, white men can afford to let things stay the same. Men in heterosexual relationships also too often benefit from all the emotional labor and unpaid labor performed by women. That's also why there are so many things women are expected to do at work but shouldn't.I'm not just going to vacuum the house while listening to you complain about work! I DIE TOO! I. DIE. TOO. And until I die, I want to live.
"I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me." – Maya Angelou
This is one of the inspiring feminist quotes that just makes me feel good about myself. Who I am is good enough! Capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy tell me that I'm second class, but I know that's just weak people trying to make me feel small so they feel big. Not gonna work on me!
"Why would I be worried about intimidating people? The kind of man who would be intimidated by me is not a man I am interested in." – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Exactly! Out of all the inspiring feminist quotes, this one in particular expresses how I feel. Except make it about more than just men. Anyone who is not for feminism is someone I am not interested in. I just don't have the time or the energy. SORRY; NOT SORRY! I'll just find the feminist version of you. That's how it works. Oh, did you not know that? There's probably someone who looks just like you and even has had comparable life experiences who happens to be a feminist. And I'll hang out with them instead of you. And you? Don't care!
"A man told me that for a woman, I was very opinionated. I said, 'For a man, you're kind of ignorant.'" – Anne Hathaway
Ooo, yeah, give it to me! This is one of the inspiring feminist quotes that inspires me to be kinder to others when I rip them a new one. Usually, I just flippantly psychoanalyze whoever's getting up in my grill, but this approach works just as well. I'm waiting for my chance to actually say this, although it's hard for me to resist doing a Borat voice and saying, "Jak się masz. Great Success!"
I have an understanding of men's right's activists and their lingo. I don't take them seriously but I take seriously the threat they pose to all people. And, yeah, I'm going to lump anti-feminists in with MRAs because anti-feminists are, to quote Martin Luther King, like the "white moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice." If you see me as a second-class citizen I will treat you as such myself.
“Goddamn this white supremacist patriarchy!" - Chica Reyass
Oh, hey, that's me! This is one of the inspiring feminist quotes that must be written in all caps. Sometimes I punctuate it by saying, "Burn it all to the ground!" I use it as shorthand because if every time I got angry about America I actually took the time to explain why I'm angry, I'd get nothing done! So, I just drop one of these bad boys and continue on my way, because, of course, America has instilled in me the idea that I have no value other than the labor that I produce even though my labor is considered less valuable given that I am a woman of color—GODDAMN THIS WHITE SUPREMACIST PATRIARCHY! And now my afternoon is free for self-care. Self-care is activism!