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 involves various movements theories and philosophies which are concerned with the issue of gender difference, that advocate equality for women, and that campaign for women's rights and interests. According to some[citation needed], the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present.

Quotes[edit]

Alphabetized by author
The people who resent me do so because I'm a woman, I'm young, and I'm a Bhutto. ~ Benazir Bhutto
The basic discovery about any people is the discovery of the relationship between its men and its women. ~ Pearl S. Buck
I know nothing of man's rights, or woman's rights, human rights are all that I recognise. ~ Sarah Grimké
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
  • The people who resent me do so because I'm a woman, I'm young, and I'm a Bhutto. Well, the simple answer is, it doesn't matter that I'm a woman, it doesn't matter that I'm young, and it's a matter of pride that I'm a Bhutto.
    • Benazir Bhutto, as quoted in Women's Wit and Wisdom : A Book of Quotations (2000) edited by Susan L. Rattiner, p. 37
  • 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.
  • The basic discovery about any people is the discovery of the relationship between its men and its women.
    • Pearl S. Buck — reported in The Quotable Woman : Words of Wisdom from Mother Teresa, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, Katharine Hepburn, and More (2000) by Carol Turkington, p. 192 0071357327
  • 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.
  • Amazon society, as mythology, history, and universal male nightmare, represents a culture in which women reign culturally supreme because of their gender. Amazon societies are also important because women were trained to be warriors—military and, presumably, in other ways as well...
  • In Amazon societies, women were mothers and their society's only warriors; mothers and their society's only hunters; mothers and their society's only political and religious leaders. No division of labor based on sex seems to have existed in such societies. Although Amazon leaders existed and queens were elected, the societies seem to have been...ones in which any woman could aspire to and achieve full human expression.
  • In Amazon society, only men, when they were allowed to remain, were, in widely differing degrees, powerless and oppressed. If women take their bodies seriously—and ideally we should—then its full expression, in terms of pleasure, maternity, and physical strength, seems to fare better when women control the means of production and reproduction. From this point of view, it is simply not in women's interest to support patriarchy or even a fabled 'equality' with men. That women do so is more a sign of powerlessness than of any biologically based 'superior' wisdom. I am not saying that a female-dominated or Amazon society based on the oppression of men is any more 'just' than is a male-dominated society based on the oppression of women. I am merely pointing out in what ways it is better for women.
  • Perhaps someday a choice between forms of injustice will not be necessary. Of course, it is unrealistic and perhaps dangerous to take visions too seriously. Perhaps we must respect them as difficult truths with which to inform our lives—in some way. Perhaps we cannot go backward too longingly in time. (We can, of course, realize how little or badly forward we've come.) Despite the importance of knowing about goddesses and Amazons, I certainly believe that mass female liberation lies more in the technological future than in the biological past. The earth's female population is no longer small nor is the habit of warfare a desirable one. For women not to fear rape because we can successfully defend ourselves against it is not anachronistic but revolutionary. For women to be considered as potential warriors (in every sense of the word, including its physical representation) is not anachronistic but revolutionary. If realized, it might imply a radical change in modern life.
  • What would it mean for a woman to be a warrior today? How could modern women control the means of production and reproduction?" "Miracles of consciousness aside, I see no way for women to defeat or transfer patriarchy without achieving power. Unlike male groups, women have little power with which to either avoid or commit violence. Women traditionally are physically weak and politically powerless in a culture that values physical strength and its extended representation in the form of weaponry and money. Women, like men, must be capable of violence or self-defense before their refusal to use violence constitutes a free and moral choice, rather than 'making the best of a bad bargain.
  • Survival is the characteristic property of power. To those who think I am suggesting that we have a war between the sexes, I say: but we've always had one...Should or can there be a single standard of behavior for both sexes? Is there such a thing as a biologically rooted female culture that should remain separate from male culture, partly because it is different than or superior to male culture?
  • Women must convert their love for and reliance on strength and skill in others to a love for all manner of strength and skill in themselves. It is clear that women who are feminists must gradually and ultimately dominate public and social institutions—so as to ensure that they are not used against women. I say 'dominate' because I don't think that 'equality' or 'individuality' will be possible for women who have never experienced supremacy in public institutions as men have. . . . The point is to have our entire social drama played out as fully by women as by men. And it is revolutionary by definition to have women 'out of the biological home,' both psychologically and actually. Whatever happens after that is then a matter for...everyone. Women...do not have to forsake the 'wisdom of the heart' and become men. They need only transfer the primary force of their supportiveness to themselves and to each other—but never to the point of self-sacrifice. Women must begin to 'save' themselves and their daughters before they 'save' their husbands and their sons; before they 'save' the whole world. Perhaps only some young women, perhaps only a minority of all women, will be able to effect such changes through consciousness alone, through the strength of understanding, which, if transformed into wisdom, always means the performance of necessary actions.
  • I know nothing of man's rights, or woman's rights, human rights are all that I recognise.
    • Sarah Grimké, in Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman (1838)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for Women six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
    For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
  • I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists.
    Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even.
    Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?
    I am from Britain and think it is right that I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and the decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.
    No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality.
    These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today. We need more of those.  And if you still hate the word — it is not the word that is important. It's the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have received the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.
  • We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
    If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
    Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.
    If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are — we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom. 
    I want men to take up this mantle. So that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.
    • Emma Watson UN Speech on the HeForShe campaign (2014)
  • 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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