Feminist Quotes from Famous Women

Women protesting for peace and equality in the 1960s
The New York Historical Society

Learn what famous women have had to say on the subject of feminism with this collection of quotes.

Feminist Quotes from Famous Women

Gloria Steinem: I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words.

Adrienne Rich: I am a feminist because I feel endangered, psychically and physically, by this society and because I believe that the women's movement is saying that we have come to an edge of history when men—insofar as they are embodiments of the patriarchal idea—have become dangerous to children and other living things, themselves included.

Erma Bombeck: 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.

Marilyn French: My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of western civilization, to make it a feminist world.

Robin Morgan: If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity.

Susan Faludi: Feminism's agenda is basic: It asks that women not be forced to "choose" between public justice and private happiness. It asks that women be free to define themselves—instead of having their identity

Bell Hooks: 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.

Margaret Atwood: 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.

Camille Paglia: I consider myself 100 percent a feminist, at odds with the feminist establishment in America. For me the great mission of feminism is to seek the full political and legal equality of women with men. However, I disagree with many of my fellow feminists as an equal opportunity feminist, who believes that feminism should only be interested in equal rights before the law. I utterly oppose special protection for women where I think that a lot of the feminist establishment has drifted in the last 20 years.

Simone de Beauvoir: To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue none the less to exist to him also; mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other an other.

Mary Daly: The fact is that we live in a profoundly anti-female society, a misogynistic "civilization" in which men collectively victimize women, attacking us as personifications of their own paranoid fears, as The Enemy. Within this society it is men who rape, who sap women's energy, who deny women economic and political power.

Andrea Dworkin: Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.

Rebecca West: I myself have never been able to find out precisely 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.

Christabel Pankhurst: We are here to claim our rights as women, not only to be free, but to fight for freedom. It is our privilege, as well as our pride and our joy, to take some part in this militant movement, which, as we believe, means the regeneration of all humanity.

Audre Lorde: But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: So when the great word "Mother!" rang once more,
I saw at last its meaning and its place;
Not the blind passion of the brooding past,
But Mother—the World's Mother—come at last,
To love as she had never loved before—
To feed and guard and teach the human race.

Anna Quindlen: 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.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Feminist Quotes from Famous Women." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/selected-feminist-quotes-3530082. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2023, April 5). Feminist Quotes from Famous Women. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/selected-feminist-quotes-3530082 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Feminist Quotes from Famous Women." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/selected-feminist-quotes-3530082 (accessed June 3, 2023).