Wednesday 17 January 2018

Quotes from female icons to inspire you on International Women’s Day

Campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi
Campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi

Jenn Selby

It is astounding how many females in the public eye reject the term ‘feminism’ today.

Just this week, Lily Allen threw the very notion of the word under a metaphorical bus when she questioned why ‘there was still a conversation about feminism’ in the year 2014.

“Feminism. I hate that word because it shouldn’t even be a thing anymore,” she told Shortlist in an interview to run alongside her guest edited ‘How To Be A Man’ issue of the magazine.

“We’re all equal, everyone is equal. Why is there even a conversation about feminism? What’s the man version of feminism? There isn’t even a word for it. Menanism. Male-ism. It doesn’t exist.”

“Fast-forward 100 years: ‘Yes, I do believe men should be treated equally,’” she added.

Similarly, Katy Perry famously rejected being labelled “a feminist”, but admitted she does believe in “strong women”.

Beyoncé, she of “Independent Women”, “Who Run The World [Girls]”fame is another who stopped short of being associated with the word feminism because she believes the word is “quite extreme”.

“We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad,” writer Caitlin Moran rightly exclaims in her counter-Allen guide, How To Be A Woman.

“When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, ‘What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue' by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good sh*t GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?’”

Well, we still think this. And we still think that International Women’s Day is as important now as it ever has been.

To celebrate, we’ve eschewed the misunderstood musings of the modern-day mainstream in favour of empowering quotes by feminist icons, past and present, from around the world. Yes, like Katherine Hepburn. Like Anais Nin. Like Malala and Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Still don't think you want to be a feminist? Read the quotes below and be inspired.

Katharine Hepburn

“I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I've just done what I damn well wanted to, and I've made enough money to support myself, and ain't afraid of being alone”

Emmeline Pankhurst

“I want to say to you who think women cannot succeed, we have brought the government of England to this position, that it has to face this alternative: either women are to be killed or women are to have the vote”

Rebecca West

"I myself have never able to find out precisely what a feminist is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat"

Aung San Suu Kyi

“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued"

Burma's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, (AP)

Aung San Suu Kyi

Germaine Greer

“All societies on the verge of death are masculine. A society can survive with only one man; no society will survive a shortage of women”

Betty Friedan

“No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor”

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”

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

Naomi Wolf

“A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but an obsession about female obedience”

Nawal El Saadawi

“They said, “You are a savage and dangerous woman. I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous”

Sylvia Plath

"Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both"
TRAGEDY: Sylvia Plath killed herself when Ted Hughes abandoned her and her children

Sylvia Plath


Read more: Keep going if others knock you – Miriam

Read more: 'The glass ceiling is a concrete one' for women in business and politics - TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor

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