An Overview Of Feminism & Female Empowerment
It’s difficult to define feminism, since it means different things to different people. But generally, the movement is all about equality – feminists believe that women deserve the same respect, fairness, and opportunities that men have, regardless of their gender.
The feminist movement has fought (and continues to fight) multiple battles, such as the right to vote, work, earn the same pay as their male counterparts, receive an education, and make choices for their own bodies. Feminism also condemns sexual harassment, rape, and domestic violence, and the previously-dominant belief that women are a lower-class compared to men.
The Best Feminist Quotes: Powerful & Inspirational Quotes For Women
“Until women themselves reject stigma and refuse to feel shame for the way others treat them, they have no hope of achieving full human stature.”
Greer, one of the biggest voices in the second-wave feminism of the ‘60s and ‘70s, believed that women’s empowerment comes from within – women have to demand respect to receive it.
“The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.”
In this quote, famous black feminist Audre Lorde explains that if we want real change in how women are treated, we cannot appropriate the same hierarchal, patriarchal, racist, or exploitative system – we need to destroy it.
“We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
According to Steinem, we have no qualms about women adopting ‘masculine’ traits or jobs because “girl power!”. But we still mock men who have stereotypically feminine traits (such as proper hygiene and grooming), and that’s something feminism is trying to change.
“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”
Although feminism isn’t about blindly supporting other women even when they have problematic beliefs, Albright makes a good point here. Women need to help the cause and each other, not pander to the patriarchy.
“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”
This French writer hit the nail on the head: feminism doesn’t want women to be the dominant gender, it wants to get rid of power imbalances entirely.
“There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.”
Paglia is a pretty controversial theorist, even in feminist circles. This quote, however, spoke to many people. Basically, Paglia explains that the same systems that elevate male genius are the same systems that elevate male violence.
“Boys are given the universe in which to carve out their identities, the promise of infinite space for them to expand into and contract upon. Girls are allowed only enough room to be stars, and they must twinkle, twinkle if they want anyone to pay attention to them.”
Generally, boys are allowed to explore whatever path they want in life. But women are limited to certain roles and jobs. Plus, if women want to get anywhere, they’re expected to be kind, nurturing, and attractive, even though men aren’t held to the same standard.
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. / I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size / But when I start to tell them, / They think I'm telling lies. / I say, / It's in the reach of my arms / The span of my hips, / The stride of my step, / The curl of my lips. / I'm a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That's me.”
Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Phenomenal Woman” celebrates the intangible things that make a woman powerful and unique – her inner strength, her resilient body, and her confidence.
“If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you.”
There are people who are hesitant to call themselves feminist because they have the wrong idea about feminism or don’t feel like they’ve ‘earned’ it. Watson calls those people out and invites them in, as long as they believe in the same core tenet of equality.
“We’re not all just one thing. Everyone who believes in equal rights for men and women doesn’t speak the same, or dress the same, or think the same.“
You don’t have to look a certain way or believe all of the same things to be a feminist. Feminism celebrates how we are all different, how we all have our own unique voice that deserves to be heard.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
The former first lady wasn’t talking specifically about feminism with this quote, but we feel like it still applies. Listen up, women – if you aren’t being treated well, stand up for yourself and demand better.
These 11 women have served as inspirations for generations of women and will continue to do so for generations to come. While we have come a long way in the last few decades, there’s still a lot of work to do until we achieve a 100% fair and equal world for all sexes.