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. This includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
- 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.
- I have feminist bones and when I hear things or see people react to women in certain ways I have very little tolerance.
- 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.
- If all Men Are born Free, how is it that all women are born Slaves?
- Mary Artell, Some Reflections Upon Marriage
- 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.
- Frankie Boyle, writing in the Guardian, 7 April 2015.
- 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".
- A women in the Black Power movement was considered, at best, irrelevant. A woman asserting herself was a pariah. A woman attempting the role of leadership was, to my proud black Brothers, making an alliance with the "counter-revolutionary, man-hating, lesbian, feminist white bitches." It was a violation of some Black Power principle that was left undefined. If a black woman assumed a role of leadership, she was said to be eroding black manhood, to e hindering the progress of the black race. She was an enemy of black people.
- Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power (1992)
- Glass ceiling feminism is grounded from the very outset in hierarchies. I mean, how else does that metaphor work? Those who are already high enough to reach the ceiling are probably white, and then if they're not white, they are already affluent. Because they're at the top. All they have to do is push through the ceiling. And as long as I have identified as a feminist, it has been clear to me that any feminism that privileges those that already have privilege is bound to be irrelevant to poor women, working class women, women of color, trans women, trans women of color. If standards for feminism are created by those who have already ascended economic hierarchies and are attempting to make the last climb to the top, how is this relevant to women who are at the very bottom? Revolutionary hope resides precisely among those women who have been abandoned by history and who are now standing up and making their demands heard.
- This is a movement against suffering. So, in between the lines, when you hear people say that this is a movement for freedom, for justice, for equality - and all of that is entirely and deeply true - you must remember that we are trying to eliminate suffering too.
- Andrea Dworkin, Feminism: An Agenda (1983)
- The extension of women's rights is the basic principle of all social progress.
- Charles Fourier, The Theory of the Four Movements and of the General Destinies (1808)
- 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.
- 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?
- Mahatma Gandhi, Young India (4 October 1930)
- Man, are you capable of being just? It is a woman who poses the question; you will not deprieve her of that right at least. Tell me, what gives you sovreign empire to oppressmy sex? Your strength? Your talents?
- Olympe de Gouges, "Declaration of Rights of Women", Postscript
- Woman, wake up; the tocsin of reason is being heard throughout the whole universe; discover your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and lies. The flames of truth has dispersed all the clouds of folly and usurpation. Enslaved man has multiplied his strength and needs recourse to yours to break his chains. Having become free, he has become unjust to his companion.
- Olympe de Gouges, "Declaration of Rights of Women", Postscript
- 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.
- Adolf Hitler, Speech to the National Socialist Women's Congress, September 15th, 1935. Quoted in George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich. University of Wisconsin Press, 1966 (p.39); Karen M. Offen, European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History. Stanford University Press, 2000 (p.309).
- 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.
- My thoughts have been shaped by the conviction that feminism must become a mass based political movement if it is to have a revolutionary, transformative impact on society.
- 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.
- Women are the carriers of society’s values ... men are deviant in the sense that many of the qualities admired in them are also one’s that society has to regard with disapproval ... Women’s Lib portrays society and morality as a male invention to coerce and punish women ... [yet] women are a virtuous group seeking to impose their moral standards on men.
- The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labour. Surely we must free men and women together before we can free women. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands -- the ownership and control of their lives and livelihood -- are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind are ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease. How can women hope to help themselves while we and our brothers are helpless against the powerful organizations which modern parties represent and which contrive to rule the people? They rule the people because they own the means of physical life, land, and tools, and the nourishers of intellectual life, the press, the church, and the school.
- Helen Keller, Out of the Dark: Essays, Lectures, and Addresses on Physical and Social Vision (1913), p. 118
- I became a feminist as an alternative to becoming a masochist.
- Sally Kempton, as quoted in Witty Words from Wise Women: Quips, Quotes, and Comebacks (2001) by B. J. Gallagher, Andrews McMeel Publishing
- When men imagine a female uprising, they imagine a world in which women rule men as men have ruled women.
- Sally Kempton, as quoted in Notes for Participants, National Forensic League's Lincoln-Douglas Debate on Feminism and Gender Equality (November 11, 1995) by Twiss Butler, National Organization for Women
- 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.
- 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, The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman (1926), Translated by Salvator Attanasio, Herder and Herder, 1971.
- The time has come when all human beings will be equally appraised according to their activity and their general human dignity.
- Alexandra Kollontai, The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman (1926), Translated by Salvator Attanasio, Herder and Herder, 1971.
- Only the fresh revolutionary storms were strong enough to sweep away hoary prejudices against woman and only the productive-working people is able to effect the complete equalization and liberation of woman by building a new society.
- 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!'
- 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
- Who needs consciousness-raising and equal pay, when you’re an Amazon with an invisible plane?
- Jill Lepore; as quoted in "Her Past Unchained 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman,' by Jill Lepore", by Dwight Garner, New York Times, Oct. 23, 2014.
- Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.
- Rush Limbaugh, in "35 Undeniable Truths of Life," Sacramento Union (1988), also quoted at "The "Truth" according to Limbaugh: Feminism established "to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society" at Media Matters (16 August 2005)
- 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.
- Rush Limbaugh, in The Way Things Ought To Be (1992), p. 193
- 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?
- The emancipation of women is not an act of charity, the result of a humanitarian or compassionate attitude. The liberation of women is a fundamental necessity for the Revolution, the guarantee of its continuity and the preconditions for its victory.
- Samora Machel, "The Emancipation of Women" (1973)
- 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.
- William Moulton Marston, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, (2014), p. 187.
- 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!
- Jude Milhon, 1995 inteview in Wired
- 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).
- "Women's Problems" are not just women's problems. They are major problems for human beings. They pose issues that both men and women must think about. But men use traditional customs as shields. Relying on a large number of adherents, they brandish overhead the real power they hold over society and suppress the assertions of serious people, jeering at them an relying on unjust cowardly means to get rid of them.
- Ito Noe, "Women's Problems" (1914)
- 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
- Feminism, coveting social power, is blind to women’s cosmic sexual power
- Camille Paglia, Rape and Modern Sex War, p. 52
- Let's get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.
- Camille Paglia, The Quotable Bitch: Women Who Tell It Like It Really Is (2007)
- 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."
- There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Paul of Tarsus, Galatians 3:28, The Holy Bible.
- 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. Unfortunately, there are still not that many girls going into science, engineering and technology.
- Natalie Portman, "Natalie Portman interview for Thor: 'A woman kicking ass isn't feminist. That's macho'", Elaine Lipworth, The Telegraph, 29, Oct 2013.
- 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.
- Theodore Roszak, The Gendered Atom (1999)
- There is no limit test for identifying a "feminist." Internationally and in the United States, feminism is a multifaceted social movement in the process of change and self creation.
- Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking
- 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.
- Alphabet of Sirach, (700-1000 CE)
- 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
- Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
- ...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.
- Ought not every woman, like every man, to follow the bent of her own talents?
- Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, Corinne (1807), Bk. XIV, ch. 1
- 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.
- Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, "The Elimination of the Male", in The International, Vol. 7, no. 11 (November 1913), p. 319.
- 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 started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not. I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive. Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?
- I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman 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 decision-making of my country. 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 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 I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day.
- 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
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- Topics in Feminism at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- National Organization for Women United States
- FemINist INitiative Canadian effort at building a political party, archived at the Internet Archive
- Sanctuary for Families
- International Women's Day is a slide show in English of the Brazilian Vinna Mara Fonseca
- Feminist Housewives Third wave domestic feminist site
- Gender Museum]