13 Favorite Feminist Quotes of 2013

Here are quotes from celebrated women in 2013 that made us glow with feminist pride! It’s been a year of both triumphs and defeats for women worldwide, but one thing for certain is that there are lots of inspiring women who will never give up the fight.

10731129725_22ce77cd9cI have a daughter and I have granddaughters and I will never vote to let a group of backward-looking ideologues cut women’s access to birth control. We have lived in that world, and we are not going back, not ever.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a Senate speech on the eve of the government shutdown

3912884901_6bc082b9dcWhy do we have to take a backseat [to men]? … Let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.

Beyoncé, in the HBO documentary Life is but a Dream

9316251223_42df8b2132I’m rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who have been ignored.

– Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, beginning her 13-hour filibuster against Gov. Rick Perry’s draconian anti-abortion bill


_MG_2890.CR2At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?

– Texas State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte to the Texas State Senate president pro tem during the Wendy Davis filibuster, igniting the gallery into such rousing cheers that it was impossible for a vote to be taken before the midnight deadline.


When I was at Baylor, I wasn’t fully happy because I couldn’t be all the way out. It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, black lesbian woman.

– WNBA star Brittney Griner, upon becoming the first openly LGBT athlete to be endorsed by Nike

10329594623_7146e4a142In Pakistan, when we were stopped from going to school, at that time I realized that education … is the power for women, and that’s why the terrorists are afraid of education.

Malala Yousafzai, in an interview with John Stewart on The Daily Show

5560750714_971ebcfe95I wanted to focus on creating a … new 21st century woman, someone who is not defined by her skin color or hair texture but by what she does for the community.

– Singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe on the TODAY show

4076573786_890c753fa8The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist; that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.

Natalie Portman in an interview with Elle U.K.

2340620605_9c0cce0f47Of course [I’m a feminist]. And everyone I know is a feminist.

Chelsea Clinton to ABC News reporter Lynn Sherr

 7141042547_6682f53244It is really funny how even cool chicks are sort of like, ‘Our moms covered that feminism thing and now we’re living in a post-that world,’ when that just isn’t true.

Lena Dunham, creator and star of Girls, to Claire Danes in Interview

3610932135_5766f6deb9It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers … When the covers change, that’s when culture changes.

Lady Gaga At Glamour‘s 2013 Women of the Year Awards where she gave a sharp critique of her own recent Glamour photos, which were photoshopped


I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?

-Mindy Kaling in Parade magazine

8254956931_488230bd0dWe see this airbrushed perfect model … but you just have to look past it. … We [need to] stop treating each other like that, stop calling each other fat and stop with these unrealistic expectations for women. It’s disappointing that the media keeps it alive and fuels that fire.

Jennifer Lawrence in a Q&A with Yahoo


Photo of Elizabeth Warren courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Beyoncé photo courtesy of flickrphotouser2009, Wendy Davis photo courtesy of Denise Flores, photo of Brittney Griner courtesy of Sportiqe, Malala Yousafzai photo courtesy of Wheelock College, Photo of Janelle Monáe courtesy of Kayley Luftig, Photo of Natalie Portman courtesy of moviegoodsposters, Chelsea Clinton photo courtesy of William Patrick Butler, photo of Lena Dunham courtesy of David Shankbone, photo of Lady Gaga courtesy of Amalia Adina, photo of Mindy Kaling courtesty of  Wikimedia Commons photo of Jennifer Lawrence courtesy of Trent Wolf,  all Flickr users via Creative Commons



Melissa McGlensey recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in English and Spanish with a minor in creative writing; she is currently interning at Ms. Read more from her at OhHeyMeliss.com.



  1. Melissa. Thank you so much for this article most of these women are heroes of mine and the others are people I admire. It’s nice to see them recogized.

    • Avi Marranazo says:

      You mean they’re your “heroines”, of course.

      • At Ms., we have a policy not to use diminuitives like heroines, actresses, etc.!!

        • Marilyn Hazelton says:

          Why are the terms “heroine” or “actress” considered diminutives? I don’t understand why it is thought necessary to change those terms to male definitions. Aren’t we women good enough for our own definitions?

          • I totally agree with this. Yes, those words were diminutive when they were first used…their meaning has changed, just like “woman” being a subset of “man”. Now that language is what it is, I prefer to be referred to by feminine words when there are feminine/masculine options, because I don’t need to be subsumed into what is now male in meaning in order to be considered just as good.

  2. All very good

  3. Michelle Hackler says:

    May every woman in the world, including us transgender woman, be able to live as free and independent ladies and be respected as ladies in what ever endeavour we undertake. May our feminineness be defined by the nature of our inner being and not an oppressive male culture and our choices of lifestyle be as varied as each feminine heart can imagine.

  4. Encouraging words are always welcome. It’s good to know you are not alone.

  5. Rubaya Binte Siraj says:

    Now I really respect Lady Gaga.

  6. Jenny Goodnough says:

    A great way to start Christmas morning.

  7. Doaa Passyalia says:

    Beyoncé should practice what she preaches. She gives stupid men exactly what they expect from women, cheap sexual fantasies. She shouldn’t have been on that list.

    • It’s always so fascinating when people critique Beyonce and not Lady Gaga who does the same stuff and way way more, like being transphobic. Jennifer Lawrence has said some transphobic stuff too, though I do like her. And how many people have crtiqued Girls for being a racist show. But sure, it is just Beyonce, who sampled a feminist TED talk and introduced so many young women who would never have thought of feminism before, SHE is the one that doesn’t belong on the list.

    • So because she doesn’t cover herself up or hide or feel ashamed of her sexuality she can’t be feminist? Redefine what you think a feminist is.

  8. Emily Louise says:

    Interesting that lady gaga is included in this when herself mentioned once she’s not a feminist because ‘she loves men’ (I can’t roll my eyes enough at that quote ahah)

  9. Some inspiring quotes.

    I’m glad we don’t have to be perfect (whatever that is) to say something inspiring.

  10. Holy Hell, Beyoncé gets on my nerves. Everyone else here has a very rational, very educated opinion, but all Beyoncé talks about is how men, or “they”, are disgusting and corrupt perverts.

    Beyoncé Knowles: No. 1 misandrist.

  11. Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new

  12. Not Jane says:

    I’m sorry, but I find it ludicrous that these “icons” speak about feminism as if they are feminists and “the media” as if they are not participants in that industry, then turn around and pose for pictures that are hyper-sexualized for the benefit of selling products. If that isn’t hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.

    If these women actually are feminists, they should be speaking about equal pay, they should be supporting media education and feminist education in schools, they should be finding ways to support women who want to have children AND careers. And God forbid any of them refuse to pose in pictures where they are using their bodies as objects to sell products.

  13. Not Jane says:

    To clarify my previous comment, I meant performers such as: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman. These powerful performers can and should band together with the other activists in this quote list. If they are not part of the solution, then they are part of the problem.

  14. What the says:

    Are you sure all of those females are feminists ? lol

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