7 Feminist Quotes About Family That Prove How Multifaceted The Word Really Is
When you Google the phrase "feminist quotes about family," brace yourself for article after article proclaiming feminism as the end of motherhood and family and pretty much everything nice and good in the world. The premise of these articles is flawed, however, because feminism makes family stronger, not weaker. So here — have some feminist quotes about family to buoy you the next time someone tries to convince you that feminism is the death of the family. You can argue your point eloquently with the help of some of the best and strongest minds out there.
The consistency with which critics of feminism accuse its supporters of dismantling families is remarkable, considering that a major point of feminism is to improve the world for future generations — our children, our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and so on. It's also even more mind blowing when you consider that intersectional feminism stresses the importance of inclusion, support, solidarity, and love. Where is this idea of feminism totally destroying families coming from? I have no idea. It's truly, truly baffling.
Now, what feminism also stresses when it comes to ~The Family~ is free will and the ability to define "family" however you want. Family can mean "the nuclear family" (husband, wife, and 2.5 kids); it can mean two mothers, or two fathers, or just one parent, or multiple parents; it can mean no kids at all; it can be comprised of blood ties or ties of love (or both, of course). Feminism is about moving past the gender binary and its cookie-cutter roles. Does that mean some people (including women) will choose not to have children? Yep. Does that mean some people (also including women) will choose not to marry? Yep. The world won't end because of these things — if anything, it will only improve.
Here are seven quotes about family from a few of my favorite activists and writers. Some of the quotes are directly about motherhood. Some of the quotes are about community. Some of the quotes are more abstract, addressing the necessity of caring for yourself when existing within a network of relationships. All of the quotes are about love, in one way or another.
1. "The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself. And the best way I can do this is to be who I am and hope that he will learn from this not how to be me, which is not possible, but how to be himself. And this means how to move to that voice from within himself, rather than to those raucous, persuasive, or threatening voices from outside, pressuring him to be what the world wants him to be."
- Audre Lorde, Caribbean-American writer, womanist and civil rights activist
2. "Someone once said that not everyone with vocal chords is an opera singer. And not everyone with a womb needs to be a mother... When The Pill came along we were able to give birth — to ourselves."
- Gloria Steinem, American writer and feminist activist
3. "give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of the tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn't allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right."
- Warsan Shire, Somali-British writer, poet and teacher
4. "The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian novelist
5. "what i want most / is to look into my child's eyes / and / see / that i have given birth / to / a / heart."
- Nayyirah Waheed, United-States-based poet
6. "But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape."
- bell hooks, American writer, feminist and social activist
7. "Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother."
- Oprah Winfrey, American actress, producer and philanthropist