Quotations about   feminism

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Perhaps the condition of women affords, in all countries, the best criterion by which to judge the character of men.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
Views of Society and Manners in America, Letter 23, Mar. 1820 (1821)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
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If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Sudden Death (1983)
Added on 16-Oct-17 | Last updated 16-Oct-17
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The invisible man is a Wellsian supervillain, but the invisible women are all around us, anxious and unseen.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Annihilation Score, ch. 19 (2015)
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Added on 8-Aug-17 | Last updated 8-Aug-17
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People always ask if a woman can be a wife and mother and have a career at the same time. Why don’t they ask if she can be a hostess, chauffeur, cook, gardener, nurse, seamstress, social secretary, purchasing agent, baby machine, and courtesan — and a wife and a mother, too?

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. (Mar 1973).
Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Jane Eyre, ch. 12 [Jane] (1847)
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Added on 2-Jun-17 | Last updated 2-Jun-17
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There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Ms. (Mar 1973). Also attributed to Gloria Steinem, though Steinem has attributed the quote to Kennedy.
Added on 1-May-17 | Last updated 1-May-17
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If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
Speech, Washington, DC (15 May 1971)

Quoted in Off Our Backs (24 Jun 1971). Gloria Steinem, who also used the phrase, later claimed it was said to her and Kennedy by an "old Irish woman taxi driver" in Boston, but she attributed it at other times to Kennedy herself. More info here.
Added on 24-Apr-17 | Last updated 24-Apr-17
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Nothing could be more grotesquely unjust than a code of morals, reinforced by laws, which relieves men from responsibility for irregular sexual acts, and for the same acts drives women to abortion, infanticide, prostitution, and self-destruction.

Suzanne La Follette (1893-1983) American journalist, author, feminist
Concerning Women (1926)
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Added on 20-Mar-17 | Last updated 24-Mar-17
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That little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Jesus Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) American abolitionist, women's rights activist [b. Isabella Baumfree]
“Ain’t I A Woman?” speech, Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio (1851)
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Added on 1-Mar-17 | Last updated 1-Mar-17
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I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Quoted in P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton, Bring on the Girls: The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy (1953).
Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
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I could name all day, those women I deem great in Greece alone and the records would scarcely be complete. And what of Joan of Arc and Emma Goldman? Kate Richards O’Hare and Sarah Bernhardt? Katherine the Great and Elizabeth Barrett Browning? H.D. and Sara Teasdale? Isibella of Spain who pawned her gems that Columbus might sail, and Edna St. Vincent Millay? And that queen, Marie, I think her name was, of some small province — Hungary I believe — who fought Prussia and Russia so long and so bitterly. And Rome — oh, the list is endless there, also — most of them were glorified harlots but better be a glorified harlot than a drab and moral drone, such as the text books teach us woman should be. Woman have always been the inspiration of men, and just as there are thousands of unknown great ones among men, there have been countless women whose names have never been blazoned across the stars, but who have inspired men on to glory.

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
Letter to Harold Preece (c. Dec 1928)
Added on 31-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) American writer, feminist, civil rights activist
“An Open Letter to Mary Daly” (6 May 1979)
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Added on 29-Feb-16 | Last updated 29-Feb-16
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If we cannot trust woman with the knowledge of her own body, then I claim that two thousand years of Christian teaching has proved to be a failure.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) American birth control activist, sex educator, nurse
“The Morality of Birth Control,” speech, Park Theatre, New York (18 Nov 1921)
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Added on 2-Sep-15 | Last updated 2-Sep-15
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Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honors and from offices, we cannot attach ourselves to the State or Government from having held a place of eminence. Even in the freest countries our property is subject to the control and disposal of our partners, to whom the laws have given a sovereign authority. Deprived of a voice in legislation, obliged to submit to those laws which are imposed upon us, is it not sufficient to make us indifferent to the public welfare? Yet all history and every age exhibit instances of patriotic virtue in the female sex; which considering our situation equals the most heroic of yours.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (17 June 1782)
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 17-Jul-15
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No, I have never wanted to be a man. I have often wanted to be more effective as a woman, but I have never felt that trousers would do the trick!

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
If You Ask Me (1946)
Added on 24-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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It is really mortifying, sir, when a woman possessed of a common share of understanding considers the difference of education between the male and female sex, even in those families where education is attended to …. Nay, why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me, sir, if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealousy of rivals near the throne.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Thaxter (15 Feb 1778)
Added on 19-Jun-15 | Last updated 19-Jun-15
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If you complain of neglect of Education in sons, what shall I say with regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it?

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (14 Aug 1776)
Added on 12-Jun-15 | Last updated 12-Jun-15
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That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity? Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex; regard us then as Beings placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (31 Mar 1776)
Added on 5-Jun-15 | Last updated 5-Jun-15
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No woman can call herself free who cannot choose the time to be a mother or not as she sees fit.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) American birth control activist, sex educator, nurse
“The Case for Birth Control” Physical Culture (Apr 1917)
Added on 1-Jun-15 | Last updated 1-Jun-15
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Probably no man has ever troubled to imagine how strange his life would appear to himself if it were unrelentingly assessed in terms of his maleness; if everything he wore, said, or did had to be justified by reference to female approval; if he were compelled to regard himself, day in and day out, not as a member of society, but merely (salvâ reverentiâ) as a virile member of society.

Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) English author, translator, apologist
“The Human-Not-Quite-Human,” Unpopular Opinions (1947)
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Reprinted in her Are Women Human? (1971).
Added on 29-Sep-14 | Last updated 29-Sep-14
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A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 1 (1929)
Added on 23-Jun-14 | Last updated 23-Jun-14
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Maybe my values are outdated, but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts. Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so. I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers — all that sort of thing.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
Added on 3-Jun-14 | Last updated 3-Jun-14
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