Feminism

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We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all civil and political rights that belong to the citizens of the United States be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever. ~ Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights.

Quotes[edit]

Alphabetized by author
I always believed that the time inevitably must come when woman will be judged by the same moral standards applied to man. For it is not her specific feminine virtue that gives her a place of honor in human society, but the worth of the useful mission accomplished by her, the worth of her personality as human being, as citizen, as thinker, as fighter. ~ Alexandra Kollontai
I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute. ~ Rebecca West
  • I’ve been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish mother with more complaints than Portnoy. There are those who say I’m impatient, impetuous, uppity, rude, profane, brash, and overbearing. Whether I’m any of those things, or all of them, you can decide for yourself. But whatever I am — and this ought to be made very clear — I am a very serious woman.
    • Bella Abzug, in Bella! : Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington (1972) edited by Edited by Mel Ziegler, Introduction
  • 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 favourable 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, in a letter to John Adams (31 March 1776), published in Familiar Letters of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams (1875) edited by Charles Francis Adams, p. 147
  • It should not prejudice my voice that I'm not born a man, if I say something advantageous to the present situation. For I'm taxed too, and as a toll provide men for the nation.
  • Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings? To me it's the latter, so I sign up.
    • Margaret Atwood, as quoted in Women Know Everything! : 3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks (2007) by Karen Weekes, p. 156
  • People feel much more comfortable with the 50 Shades of Grey version of women’s liberation: possibly feeling life would be much simpler if the suffragettes hadn’t wanted the vote and just really enjoyed chaining themselves to railings.
  • Woman herself, long conscious of complete humanity, today desires only that others shall recognize it and honestly accept the implications of such recognitions....The Word "Feminism", a much maligned word, which has come to stand for many irrelevancies, such as dowdiness and physical abnormality, still adequately expresses her true desire, a desire that might well be summed up in one sentence addressed to mankind: 'Recognize our full humanity, and we will trouble you no more".
    • Vera Brittain, "Why Feminism Lives', pamphlet published by the Six Point Group in 1927. Reprinted in Maggie Humm, Feminisms: A Reader ,Routledge, 2014.
  • If you truly believed in Jesus, you would try to be like him and love us, fags and dykes and feminists all. God bless you, even you. You fucking fuckers.
  • I am uncompromising in the matter of woman's rights. In my opinion she should labour under no legal disability not suffered by man, I should treat the daughters and sons on a footing of perfect equality.
    • Mohandas Gandhi, 17th October 1929. Quoted in Gandhi: The Essential Writings. Judith M. Brown, Oxford University Press, 1998 (pp. 228-9). Also quoted in Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, Institute of Social Studies, 1982.
  • To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?
  • The so-called granting of equal rights to women, which Marxism demands, in reality does not grant equal rights but constitutes a deprivation of rights, since it draws the woman into an area in which she will necessarily be inferior.
  • While the inequality exists, while injustice is done and opportunity denied to the great majority of women, I shall have to be a feminist and an Old Feminist, with the motto Equality First.
    • Winifred Holtby, "Feminism Divided" (1926) 26th July 1926, Yorkshire Post. Reprinted in Maggie Humm, Feminisms: A Reader, Routledge, 2014.
  • Feminism in the United States has never emerged from the women who are most victimized by sexist oppression; women who are daily beaten down, mentally, physically, and spiritually-women who are powerless to change their condition in life. They are a silent majority. A mark of their victimization is that they accept their lot in life without visible question, without organized protest, without collective anger or rage.
  • We all grow in a culture in which women's bodies are constantly turned into things, into objects. [...] Of course these affects female self-steem. It also does something even more insidious. It create a climate in which there is wide-spread violence against women. [...] Turning a human being into a thing is the first step towards justified violence against that person.
    • Jean Kilbourne, as quoted in Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose, p. 71. Editors Tara Prescott, Aaron Drucker. Editorial McFarland, 2012. ISBN 1476600929.
  • What! still retaining your Utopian visions of female felicity? To talk of our happiness! — ours, the ill-used and oppressed! You remind me of the ancient tyrant, who, seeing his slaves sink under the weight of their chains, said 'Do look at the indolent repose of those people!'
    • Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality (1841), Vol. II, Chapter 12
    • As an example of prejudicial absurdity, Miss Landon has a man say, on the same page:
      • That preference of white sauce to brown is a singular proof of female inferiority.
  • Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
    • Timothy Leary, as quoted in Sometimes Being the Queen is All We Have to Hold Onto (2005) by Connie Cash, p. 35
  • I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are: feminazis. Tom Hazlett, a good friend who is an esteemed and highly regarded professor of economics at the University of California at Davis, coined the term to describe any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism. … There are not many of them, but they deserve to be called feminazis. A feminazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed.
  • People like Dawkins are the public face of atheism. And that public face is one that is defensively and irrationally sexist. It's not only turning women away from atheism, it's discrediting the idea that atheists are actually people who argue from a position of rationality. How can they be, when they cling to the ancient, irrational tradition of treating women like they aren't quite as human as men?
    • Amanda Marcotte quoted by journalist Kimberly Winston, The Washington Post (November 18, 2014) [1]
  • The only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.
    • William Moulton Marston, "Noted Psychologist Revealed as Author of Best-Selling "Wonder Woman,' Children's Comic," press release, typescript [June 1942], WW Letters, Smithsonian
  • The next 100 years will see the beginning of an American matriarchy- a nation of amazons in the psychological rather than the physical sense. In 500 years there will be a serious sex battle. And in 1000 years women will definitely rule this country.
    • William Moulton Marston as quoted in "Neglected Amazons to Rule Men in 1000 yrs., Says Psychologist"; Washington Post, November 11, 1937
  • A male hero, at best, lacks the qualities of maternal love and tenderness which are as essential to a normal child as the breath of life. Suppose your child's ideal becomes a superman who uses his extraordinary power to help the weak. The most important ingredient in the human happiness recipe still is missing-love. It's smart to be strong. It's big to be generous. But it's sissified according to exclusively masculine rules, to be tender, loving affectionate, and alluring. "Aw, that's girl's stuff!" snorts our young comics reader. "Who wants to be a girl?" And that's the point. Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.
  • I hate this waaaah-I'm-a-poor-sensitive-weak-woman-protect-me shit. This kind of stuff generates more contempt for women. So fuck niceness!
  • No one appeared to wonder whether this S-M proliferation was a lesbian copy of a faggot imitation of patriarchal backlash against feminism.
    • Robin Morgan, "The Politics of Sado-Masochistic Fantasies", in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist, p. 235.
  • My notion of woman's role in the state is utterly opposed to feminism. Of course I do not want women to be slaves, but if here in Italy I proposed to give our women votes, they would laugh me to scorn. As far as political life is concerned, they do not count here.
    • Benito Mussolini, 1932 interview with Emil Ludwig. Quoted in Karen M. Offen, European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History. Stanford University Press, 2000 (p.309), and Pietro Frassica, Her Maestro's Echo: Pirandello and the Actress who Conquered Broadway in One Evening. Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2010 (p.69).
  • Feminism is the result of a few ignorant and literal-minded women letting the cat out of the bag about which is the superior sex. Once women made it public that they could do things better than men, they were, of course, forced to do them.
    • P. J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People (1983), Ch. 10
  • Girls are also human beings, a point often overlooked.
    • George Herbert Palmer, Harvard Philosophy A lecture (1911)
  • As the us-versus-them opposition is replicated within the original grouping, policing actions get under way. This is a form of behavior that, in addition to allowing some people to be censorious and aggressive toward others, reflects a presumption of rights and wrongs: We are right. You are wrong. Many feminists have trouble swallowing this. As a political science professor from Texas (who has a bumper sticker on her pickup truck saying FEMINIST REDNECK) wrote to us: "At 50 years of age, I have not thrown off the yoke of one master to have it replaced by another, even if its name is feminism."
    • Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies, chapter 8, "Cults, Communes, and Clicks", p. 195
  • There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Rush Limbaugh has made feminazi a household word. Right-wing politicians like Ollie North say they are running against "an army of feminists" who are destroying family values, and those messages get widespread coverage.
    • Caryl Rivers, in Slick Spins and Fractured Facts : How Cultural Myths Distort the News (1996), p. 12
  • Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.
  • If feminist psychology is correct, the very concept of scientific "objectivity" as a disciplined withdrawal of sympathy by the knower from the known, is a male separation anxiety writ large. Written, in fact, upon the entire universe.
  • I’m an open and vocal feminist on the internet, so I’m no stranger to some level of sexist backlash.
  • I was attacked via nearly every facet of my online life by a loosely coordinated cyber mob. All of my social networks were flooded with a torrent of misogynist and racist slurs as well as threats of rape, violence and death. The wikipedia article about me was vandalized with similar sentiments. When I publicly shared what was happening to me, the perpetrators responded by escalating their harassment campaign and attempting to DDoS my website and hack into my online accounts. They also tried to collect and distribute my personal info including my home address and phone number. They made pornographic images in my likeness being raped by video games characters which they distributed and sent to me over and over again. Attempts were made to discredit me and my project by creating and posting false quotes or fake tweets attributed to me. There was also a flash game developed where players were invited to “beat the bitch up”. Unfortunately I still receive threats and explicit images on a semi-regular basis. In December 2012, I gave a TEDxWomen talk where I discuss in more detail what happened, and how these large scale loosely organized Cyber Mob attacks operate.
  • When I was about 10, I remember I campaigned for months to convince my parents that the “Game Boy” was not in fact just for boys. Eventually I won the debate and got my first portable gaming device the following Christmas. So even though I’ve always been enthusiastic about games, I’ve also always been bothered and disappointed with the way women were represented much of the time.
  • While God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone.' He also created a woman, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.' But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.
  • In addition to the explicit feminist works, there is always a literature with deliberate, oblique approaches to feminism or "the woman question" even by avowed feminists.
    • Kaushal Kishore Sharma, in Feminism, Censorship and Other Essays (2003), p. 6
  • ...No doubt about it, ideas about what women can do, and do well, have changed. And what women mind has changed. Male behaviour, from the caddish to the outright violent, that until recently was accepted without demurral is seen today as outrageous by many women who not so long ago were putting up with it themselves and who would still protest indignantly if someone described them as feminists.
    • Susan Sontag, Where the Stress Falls: essays (2003). Also quoted in Brian McNair, Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratisation of Desire, Routledge, 2002 (p.19).
  • I believe anyone who supports feminism is anti-woman even if they are not conscious of it. Feminism and "female empowerment" has led to a generation of the least happy women in history. They are lost and are being told that they are the EXACT same as men and should be able to compete at the same level in all fields of life. How sad to always fail at something you are supposed to be equal in. How sad to be led astray to never get married then hit a wall where you wish for nothing more than a family but cannot have it... simply because you bought into this false notion of feminism that promised happiness and fulfillment. The reality is women are biologically different and different things will make them happy.
  • My spirituality has always been linked to my feminism. Feminism is about challenging unequal power structures.
    • Starhawk, as quoted in Womanspirit Rising : A Feminist Reader in Religion (1979) by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow
  • Once men realize that they are also deprived — not as much as women, just as whites are not as deprived as blacks — but there is a full circle of human qualities we all have a right to. And they're confined to the "masculine" ones, which are seventy percent of all of them, and we're confined to the "feminine" ones, which are thirty percent. We're missing more, but they're still missing a lot. If a man fights to be his whole self, to be creative, to express emotions men are not supposed to express, do jobs men are not supposed to do, take care of his own children — all of these things are part of the feminist movement.
  • Well, children, when there is so much racket there be must something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the Negroes of the South and the women of the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
  • Feminism is a rebellion against the ruthless tyranny of the male, an attempt to dethrone his autocratic rule and revert to a more natural sexual equality.
  • Most of the terrible women one must meet, women with the blatant views and voices, women who have to be noticed, who shoulder one about, who can’t take life quietly, belong to this large percentage of women who have never made a sex adjustment.
  • I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.
    • Rebecca West, in "Mr. Chesterton in Hysterics" in The Clarion, (14 November 1913)
  • Interviewer: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
Joss Whedon Because you’re still asking me that question.
  • This particular strand of feminism is characterized by two tenets: 1. men are jerks, and 2. women should strive by all means to become like them.
  • "Elohim," the name for the creative power in Genesis, is a female plural, a fact that generations of learned rabbis and Christian theologians have all explained as merely grammatical convention. The King James and most other Bibles translate it as "God," but if you take the grammar literally, it seems to mean "goddesses." Al Shaddai, god of battles, appears later, and YHWH, mispronounced Jehovah, later still.
    • Robert Anton Wilson, in Everything Is Under Control : Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), Genesis, p. 197

See also[edit]

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