Feminism has been around a long, long time, and it is constantly evolving, rising to meet new challenges, taking into account new ideas, and adapting to meet the needs of a changing world. Nevertheless, there are lots of feminist quotes that still ring true decades or even centuries later — because there really is still something timeless about the search for gender equality. And feminist quotes from the 1970s might be some of the most impactful. After all, the '70s were nothing if not a hotbed of feminist thinking.
The '70s were the heart of what activists at the time dubbed "second wave feminism," which began in the 1960s and carried over into the following decade. And it was one hell of a decade: The 1970s saw the Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to abortion access; the launch of Ms. magazine to provide an empowering alternative to traditional women's media; efforts to enact the Equal Rights Amendment; and a new focus on topics ranging from women's sexuality to domestic violence to workplace inequality. And naturally, it would not have happened without a lot of feminist writers and thinkers whose words still ring true today.
Here are nine quotes from the 1970s that are still relevant to modern feminism. May we never forget where we came from while always looking ahead to the future.
1. "I don't want to prove the superiority of one sex to another; that would only be repeating a male mistake."
— Gloria Steinem, American activist and author
2. “We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.”
― Shirley Chisholm, first Black woman elected to Congress
3. “There is nothing revolutionary whatsoever about the control of women's bodies by men. The woman's body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.”
― Adrienne Rich, American poet and intellectual
4. “To be worshiped is not freedom.”
― Shulamith Firestone, Dialectic of Sex
5. “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
― Alice Walker, American author
6. “It takes a great deal of courage and independence to decide to design your own image instead of the one that society rewards, but it gets easier as you go along.”
― Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch
7. "Both the victimization and the anger experienced by women are real, and have real sources, everywhere in the environment, built into society. They must go on being tapped and explored by poets, among others. We can neither deny them, nor can we rest there. They are our birth-pains, and we are bearing ourselves."
— Adrienne Rich, American poet and intellectual
8. “Courage to be is the key to revelatory power of the feminist revolution.”
― Mary Daly, American theologian and feminist writer
9. “You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
Images: Wikimedia Commons (2)