In a world full of pervasive gender inequalities, being a feminist can be pretty discouraging at times. Women's rights have been attacked on multiple fronts during the past few weeks — from the attack at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood last Friday that killed three people and injured nine others, to Emma Watson revealing she was encouraged not to use the term "feminism," to the Senate passing a bill Thursday that would strip the reproductive health organization of federal funding for a year and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act if it becomes law.
However, it's important to remember the positive change happening amidst all the negative incidents, because there are countless feminists fighting for gender equality around the globe. When celebrities, victims of sexual assault, or anyone who believes men and women are equal publicly speak out about their personal experiences or critique gender-based inequalities, it furthers the broader feminist discussion that's continuously growing. Talking about these issues is vital to raising awareness about feminism because women's issues were ignored for too long. This week's six best feminist quotes shed light on how people are standing up for women's rights and will remind you that you aren't alone in this battle.
Cecile Richards On Hateful Rhetoric
In the aftermath of the Nov. 27 Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards spoke to NPR about the organization's response. While Richards didn't say that hateful rhetoric directly motivated the attack, she explained that it's creating a dangerous atmosphere around women's health. She said Tuesday in an interview with NPR:
Well, I think it's important to recognize that words matter. And when you use this kind of hateful rhetoric, whether you're a politician or whether you're in elected office or whether you're an opposition group, this kind of rhetoric towards doctors and women seeking health care has real impact. And I think folks should think carefully about what they say and how they treat women and women's ability to access care in America. I just — it's alarming to see this kind of rhetoric and these kinds of smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients continue.
Emma Watson On The Word "Feminism"
Emma Watson's HeForShe speech in front of the United Nations in September went viral, and she was praised for asking both men and women to stand up for gender equality. In the winter issue of PORTER magazine released Friday, Watson said that she was encouraged not to use the word "feminism" in the speech, and her explanation of why she chose to say the F- word was brilliant. She told PORTER:
People felt that it was alienating and separating and the whole idea of the speech was to include as many people as possible... I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do. If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?
Clara Berglund On We Should All Be Feminists
The Swedish Women's Lobby announced Wednesday that every 16-year-old in Sweden will receive a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists. The organization hopes the book will start more discussions about gender equality in the country, and chairperson Clara Berglund explained that educating teens is essential for creating a more equitable world in the future. Berglund said in a statement Wednesday:
This is the book that I wish all of my male class mates would have read when I was 16. It feels so important to contribute to this project. It is a gift to all second grade high school students, but it is also a gift to ourselves and future generations.
Tori Lux On James Deen
On Saturday, adult performer and writer Stoya accused her former boyfriend, porn star James Deen, of raping her. James Deen has denied all allegations, labeling them “false and defamatory” in a statement. After her accusation, others publicly accused Deen of sexual assault, including former adult performer Tori Lux. In an op-ed on the Daily Beast, Lux described her allegations against Deen, while also pointing out that many sex workers who are assaulted don't go to the police because of society's tendency to blame the victim in such cases.
Lux wrote Monday:
Being involved in sex work does not equate to being harmed. Despite porn being a legal form of sex work, and it occurring in a controlled environment such as a porn set, this blame-the-victim mentality is still inherent in much of society. In turn, sex workers are silenced and our negative experiences are swept under the rug as we try to protect ourselves from the judgment of others — or worse, a variety of problems ranging from further physical attacks to professional issues such as slander and/or blacklisting.
Hillary Clinton On Male Presidents
Hillary Clinton released a new campaign ad this week in her bid to become the first female president of the United States. The new ad has a very feminist message: "44 boys is too many." Of course, she's referring to the fact that all 44 presidents have been men, and the short statement gets the point across perfectly.
Amber Rose On Sticking Together
Speaking to Paper magazine this week, Amber Rose explained that her divorce from Wiz Khalifa was the reason she started calling herself a feminist, and her message was inspiring for all women. She told Paper:
I would look on [Wiz's] Instagram and he would have pictures of all these women all over him... and then I would post a picture of me and my son. And people would be like, "Does your son know that his mother’s a whore?"... So yeah, I guess months of seeing s–t like that, I was just like, "I can’t live like this. There’s something wrong."
I guess what I want with our generation is to have it not be that way. Like, all of us as women, let's just stick together and look out for each other.
How these women think about and advocate for feminism is both enlightening and encouraging for the gender-equality movement.