I walked home with a girlfriend at 10.30 p.m. on a Friday night. It’s a one kilometre walk in a plush part of town and with every step we took and every little stretch we covered, we felt a sense of accomplishment. Every stare was suspicious, every man looked like a potential threat. We were prepared for an emergency. We knew who to call and where to run. And we knew where to kick, just in case.
As I scroll down my news-feed today, I see that a ‘forward-thinking’ male friend of mine has shared a jibe mocking ‘femi-nazis’. It reads ‘Femi-nazis’ be like and there are the usual set of likes and comments that read, ‘Women don’t know what they want?’
An award-winning actress is called a witch and there are people supporting the claim.
An activist fighting her way into places of worship gets molested.
A young girl gets abducted right in front of her PG accommodation in the heart of a bustling metropolis at peak hours and passers-by don’t react.
And I can go on.
These are situations that can snub and awaken feminism at the same time. And for all the times, you feel weak and want to give up, here are quotes from people the world looks up to for various reasons that will reaffirm your faith in the power to fight for your rights.
“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b***h, okay.” – Madonna
“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a b***h.” – Bette Davis
“So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants. a) Do you have a vagina? and b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said “yes” to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.” – Caitlin Moran
“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfil my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” – Hilary Clinton
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
“I am a feminist because I believe in women. It’s a heavy word, feminism, but it’s not one I think we should run from. I am proud to be a feminist.” – Sheryl Sandberg
“Figure out who you are separate from your family, and the man or woman you’re in a relationship with. Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. I think that’s the most important thing in life. Find a sense of self because with that, you can do anything else.” – Angelina Jolie
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Roddick
“Never dull your shine for somebody else.” – Tyra Banks
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie
“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.”
“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.” – Michelle Obama
“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society.” – John Legend
“When you work with the sort of really strong women that I work with, the idea that anyone would want to make decisions for them is hard to wrap your head around.” – Seth Meyers
“My mom brought me up to be a feminist. She would always point out to my brother and me that our culture does often portray women like objects. For example, we would always watch Lakers games as a family, but my mom would always point out every time the cheerleaders come on, ‘OK, so look, here’s the story that gets told: The men get to be the heroic skilled athletes and the women just get to be pretty.’ She didn’t mean any offense to any individual woman who was working as a cheerleader, but she wanted me and my brother to be aware of it because we see these images on TV, in the movies, and on magazines all the time. And if you don’t stop and think about it, it just sort of seeps into your brain and that becomes the way you perceive reality. I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely! It’s worth paying attention to the roles that are sort of dictated to us and that we don’t have to fit into those roles. We can be anybody we wanna be.” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
“I feel that all revolutionary causes should start with addressing misogyny.” – Ezra Miller
“[My mother] really was an extraordinary, inspirational, tough, cool, sexy, funny woman. And that’s the kind of woman I’ve always surrounded myself with, my friends and particularly my wife, who is not only smarter than and stronger than I am, but occasionally taller too. I think it also goes back to my father and my stepfather, because they prized wit and resolve in the women they were with above all things and they were among the rare men who understood that recognizing someone else’s power doesn’t diminish your own.” – Joss Whedon
“I have a little sister, and I’m constantly annoyed [by] how terribly written most females are in most everything – and especially in comedy. Their anatomy seems to be the only defining aspect of their character, and I just find that untruthful and it straight-up offends me.” – Jay Baruchel
“I think there’s so much that’s not said about sex in our country, even from an educational level… the one thing they teach about is how to get pregnant or how to not get pregnant, but they don’t really talk about sex as a point of pleasure for women. That creates a place where women aren’t empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves.” – Ashton Kutcher
“[My wife and I] let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like, how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair, but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.” – Will Smith
“I’m attracted to films that have strong female characters because there are strong female characters in my life.” – Ryan Gosling
“Have you ever heard a girl say she’s in the friend zone? It’s a thing I think men need to be really careful about using… Do I think men and women can be friends? Yes, absolutely. Do I think men and women who are sexually attracted to each other can just be friends? Eh, it will probably become an issue at some point whether you deal with it, and talk about it and just move on, but it will always sort of get dealt with eventually… I definitely think the idea of friend zone is just men going, ‘This woman won’t have sex with me.’” – Daniel Radcliffe
“I am someone who believes feminism is just a conversation about equality. It is not about hating or berating men. For eons, women have been treated as second class citizens and it’s high time we are given the due credit.” – Priyanka Chopra
“As women we don’t have to hope to get our due, we need to get up and get it ourselves.” – Kangana Ranauat.
“Weight used to be an issue. I was always fat as a child and everyone used to tell me, you have got such a pretty face why don’t you lose some weight? Over the years, I’ve realised that my body is of a certain type, and I have learned to accept it.” – Vidya Balan.
“Honestly I believed, empowerment should be given to women who actually need it, and who are kind of far away from where we are right now.” – Sonakshi Sinha.
Keep at it, sisters!
- Priyanka Chopra
- Sheryl Sandberg
- Marie Curie
- Vidya Balan
- Anita Roddick
- Human Interest
- John Legend
- Michelle Obama
- Angelina Jolie
- Daniel Radcliffe
- Hilary Clinton
- Margaret Thatcher
- Ashton Kutcher
- Bette Davis
- Caitlin Moran
- Ezra Miller
- Jay Baruchel
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- Ryan Gosling
- Seth Meyers
- Will Smith